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When I wrote Don't Make Me Think , I told readers that I wasn't going to give them a checklist of Web design do's and don'ts because I thought it was more important that they really understood just a few key principles. The truth is, I knew that a checklist ”the right kind of checklist ”would be very useful. But I also knew just how much work it would be to compile the right kind (like the book you have in your hands), and I knew I'd never be able to muster the energy to do it justice .
Fortunately, all authors, like all Web users, are different people. Jeff Johnson has the three things it takes to write a book like this: He's a very smart fellow, he's been at this usability game for a long time, and he's determined and methodical by nature. (He also happens to be a very nice fellow, but that's just a bonus ”I imagine you can probably write a useful book even if you're a louse.)
Oh, and a fourth thing: He knows how to write ”which in this case means he knows how to make a complicated point without putting you to sleep. (While I was writing my own book, one of the happiest moments occurred when I opened Jeff's newly published GUI Bloopers and discovered that he only had one short chapter on Web bloopers. Whew!)
In this book, Jeff has compiled more than a checklist: It's a catalog of design lessons, each small enough to absorb , each telling a compelling little story that everyone working on a website should hear. Some are big ("Home Page Identity Crisis"), some small ("Compulsory Clicking: No Default Text Input Focus"), but they're all important and all very digestible ”perfect train or bedtime reading. They're lessons every usability expert knows from experience, but I enjoyed reading them anyway because, as usual, the genius is in the details, and Jeff's details are consistently instructive and engaging.
Gathering all of these examples, thinking them through, and spelling them out is a huge job. I'm glad somebody else wanted to do it.
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
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