What is it about?
Steve Krug writes about Web Usability, i.e. how can you make it easier for your audience to use your website/web application. He shows how to conduct simple usability tests, how to fix major problems and how people actually use websites.
Create self-explanatory websites: Most people don’t read, they scan and try to muddle through your site. Your first goal should be to design your site so that most people can use it intuitively and safely.
Use visual hierarchy: A simple example is a blog post. There is a headline, which is big, some sub headlines, which stands out of the normal text and of course the normal text. This allows your readers to recognize which information is more important.
Conduct simple usability tests: You don’t have to invest $50k to do usability testing. Steve Krug recommends to start with about three people every month. It’s important to record every session, you can use tools like Camtasia for this. But what should you test? Give people assignments to do something, e.g. add a new customer and let them muddle through. You could also ask them what they want to do and why.
Don’t Make Me Think uses his own recommendations which is pretty great. Steve Krug uses lots of examples and shows how real websites could be improved. The book is pretty basic. However, you will receive the most insights from testing your product. Nice book!
Read: How to create advertising that sells
What can I learn?
Make your product great and beautiful: A great product allows you to promise great benefits which the product can actually deliver. In addition, your product should look beautiful. Man is a visual animal. If you product looks awful, they conclude that you product is awful.
Sell in the headline and caption: The most people scan pages. They see the headlines and captions. Don’t miss these opportunities to sell your product.
Use news: Often marketers neglect this opportunity (however bloggers often get it). How can you react to topical news? Imagine that there is big news on digital data theft. Depending on what you are selling, you could write an article about preventing data theft, release an ad that your servers are more secure or, if you have deeper knowledge, giving interviews to journalist.
This is a pretty remarkable ad. Firstly, Ogilvy & Mather understood in den 70ies that you can increase your sales if you give away valuable information. Secondly, the last paragraph is brilliant. They show you their 38 principles of successful advertising but say:
Ogilvy & Mather has developed a separate and specialized body of knowledge on what makes for success in advertising food products, tourist destinations, proprietary medicines, children’s product – and other classifications.
That is, you can tackle the problem on your own or hire experts who are specialized into these sectors and who can afford to give away valuable information for free.
(via 1,900 word ad “How to create advertising that sells” written by David Ogilvy)