Don’t Make Me Think!

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I thought I knew how to run my blog. I was totally wrong.

I recently read this book called Don’t Make Me Think! by Steve Krug (pictured above) and the takeaway I got from this short, 200-page book is incredible. I’m going to be doing a virtual renovation of my site slowly but surely over the next few days. Here’s why.

I thought the most important things about a website, including this blog, were content and style. The content… Well, let’s be honest. I’m writing all this stuff. The content is perfect. Or better. But as for the latter, it wasn’t as important as I thought.

I was so concerned about the color scheme. The header. The widgets. The font. Where my Twitter feed should go.

I planned this all out. I slept on it and thought about it for hours, even as I went through my regular daily routine.

I was going about it all wrong.

I was thinking too much.

Krug said it right off at the beginning: in order for a website to be most effective, you have to eliminate as much thinking for your site’s users as possible. Looking at it now, my website is utterly confusing. My header, where I was trying to be cute, makes no sense without any prior knowledge. If you don’t read my very first post–which you very well might not, since you might decide not to scroll that far–you would have no idea that my blog is about my journey as a (hopefully!) up-and-coming sportscaster. And for that, I apologize. It was wrong of me to assume that you would figure that out on your own based off of a short, cheesy slogan incorporating a wildly popular, intensely annoying bubblegum pop song. I’ll be adding a more detailed header soon.

But Krug also said to be careful about that. If I put too much information in the header, you may very well be put off, and stop reading. Besides, you don’t have to read this. Or that. Or anything on this page. Why continue reading if I just annoy you with a selfish display of how “great” I am?

I’ve also learned from Krug’s book that I must be more aware of how my users navigate the site. He made a wonderful analogy: a website is like a department store. The sections and subsections are like the signs that denote the aisles in a store. It made me think about when I go shopping for a new pair of jeans. The search box is like a clerk you can ask to point you in the right direction. Therefore, just as a JCPenney employee is required to wear a uniform, so must your search box. It should be pretty “uniformed” as you might find on any other website: use the word “search” for best results, not “keyword search,” “quick search,” or any other close alternates. I’ll make sure to keep it that way.

Not everything I’ve done on this site was wrong, though. As per Krug’s direction, I have kept the same format from page to page, so that it’s clear you’re still using the same website. My tabs are also pretty on point, and just as Krug said that a successful website needs a visual cue of a physical mark, my blog’s tabs are reminiscent of a file drawer.

Look for these changes in the coming days/weeks. I think they’re really important… Oh wait. I mean, I know they’re really important.

Don’t make me think!

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