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January 15, 2013

Usability, Readability: Applying Christina Wodtke to Steve Krug

A usable website is a readable website too.

Here, I'm going to apply some principles of information architecture to a chapter of a book on usability.

The usability book is Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug, second edition. It's wonderful, near perfect. It'll change your website or web application design. I have  some issue only with Chapter 6: Navigation.

Even then, that Chapter is extremely good, and full of great, directly usable insights. Just the last section of the chapter covers more than the cost of the book. Because the chapter is important and extremely good, I want it to be more organized. Remember: a readable website is a rememberable website too.

Retention Problem with Chapter 6

After every chapter, I try to summarize my understanding with an A4. A good habit developed before reading McKinsey Mind, McKinsey Way.

With this chapter, I had difficulty organizing the notes into a coherent whole. For help,  I rushed to the Content, and found the cause of the problem here:

If you compare this with another content below, you see right away that Steve Krug used outline for the whole book but not for each or at least for this chapter.

The second book( Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web ) is about information architecture, the blueprint, the visible underpinning of your content so that reader/users won't feel lost easily.

The Solution I'd Suggest

Here, I'm not re-writing Steve Krug's chapter.  He also writes so well that even Ginny Redish may think twice to rewrite it wholesale. I'm just suggesting the likely hidden, invisible outline.

Chapter 6 : Navigation

  Search or Browse
  Search : Designing search boxes
  Global Navigation: Home page link, "You're Here",  Breadcrumbs, Tabs
  Local navigation : lower-level navigation tools, page name etc.
  Trunk Test:
         1. Site Id
         2.  Global Navigation ( top head bar )
         3. Page Name
         4.  Search
         5.  Local Navigation
         6.  Breadcrumbs

Thank you, Steve Krug, Wodtke, and Redish. I learn a lot from you.
Maybe this is no more than a mischievous schoolboy tactic: using one teacher's lesson in another's subject.

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