Steve Krug Applies Common Sense to UX

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Show time: 31 minutes 22 seconds

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Today on Radio Johnny, Jeff Parks talks with Steve Krug about his experiences and insights doing usability testing for over 20 years for a variety of clients such as Apple, Lexus, NPR, Bloomberg and many others.

Steve shares how people are using websites today, the largest issues facing most organizations when trying to design great experiences, encouraging all website owners to do some form of usability testing once a month – and no, this shouldn’t break the bank!


The people who are creating the site say… ‘Well everyone knows what we do’… because it’s obvious to them…As a result they still think like back in the beginning of the web – there’s no point in using a lot of space to explain that to people – not realizing that a lot of people who are coming [to their site] are either in the dark about what they do, or worse, form an incorrect conclusion based on assumptions about what they do.

When we’re building the sites we tend to think people are going to be much more careful and measured in using them than they actually are. That’s one of the nice things about usability testing… the whole team gets to watch people use the site and it dawns on them that people are actually kind of sloppy in the use of what we’re building so we better make sure that it is robust so they don’t fall through the cracks.

I try to keep people very far away from the word ‘opinions’ because it’s the difference between focus groups, where you’re showing people and asking their opinions about it, and usability testing where you’re actually having them use it and seeing where they are having problems.


Steve discusses how usability testing on a regular basis can illustrate where users have to “muddle” through in areas that should flow, and the necessity to omit needless words from every page of your site. In addition Steve believes that even to this day one of the largest issues preventing clarity and a great experience is an organization’s inability to clearly explain what it is they do, to first time visitors.

Steve also discusses the need to remain neutral when running usability tests. He believes that moderators should communicate more like a counselor not providing cues or hints but asking them to talk out loud and provide feedback in their own words, and not that of the moderator.

Show Notes

Steve’s Blog
Forum for discussing do-it-yourself testing
Book page for Rocket Surgery Made Easy
Free downloadable scripts, forms, and checklists from Rocket Surgery Made Easy
Video of a demo usability test
Steve’s upcoming usability testing workshops in Seattle and London

Jeff Parks

Jeff is the co-founder of DIGIA UX Inc. and actively collaborates with industry professionals from around the world through his involvement with Boxes and Arrows and Johnny Holland. Jeff is also leading workshops on Information Architecture and User Experience Design over at Follow the UX Leader, in addition to volunteering his time as a Mentor and Member of the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute.

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