Steve Krug is delivering our opening keynote at this year’s edUi conference. Krug is an author and icon in the field of usability and user research. If you have just one book on usability, it’s probably Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. If you want two, pickup Rocket Surgery Made Easy!
We wanted to get to know him a bit better, so we asked him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
If your professional life had a soundtrack, what would it be?
When I was in college, I loved Fellini. I bought a vinyl of the Juliet of the Spirits soundtrack and put it on cassette tape and played it as my personal soundtrack. It worked amazingly well and always fit in with the situation. It was composed by Nino Rota, who’s best known for the theme from The Godfather. My professional life wasn’t planned, it all just sort of happened… I followed what was available, lucked into writing a book, and from that was able to start teaching workshops. I guess I would still go with the same soundtrack from college! One of the songs is my wake-up alarm, it still speaks to me.
What would you tell your 10th grade self if you could chat right now?
Most of it would be social advice. “Don’t worry, be happy. It’s alright, it really is. I know it doesn’t seem great, but it will work out.” It took me until I was 30 to be comfortable in my own skin.
In only three words or phrases, what is your worst UX/UI story?
“Didn’t Get Paid.” It’s in the nature of being a consultant, which I’ve been forever. But, it’s only happened twice in 25 years and I’ve never had any written agreements, just virtual agreements.
What are you going to talk about at edUi ?
The same thing we do every night, Pinkie.
It’s what I always talk about: why everyone should be doing usability testing themselves! I’m the Johnny Appleseed of Usability Testing. I believe in it, and it’s great to spend your time doing something that you actually believe is of benefit. People are more satisfied with their work and their work is better when they spend even a little bit of time watching someone try to use it. It’s not that hard to do!
What’s the biggest misconception about usability testing?
That you don’t have time to do this one more thing. Anyone working on this stuff is overworked and behind, so the notion of it being one more thing to do is an easy way to argue yourself out of doing it. Until you’ve tried it, you don’t get that it’s actually a way to save time. People who have tried it know the value of it, and it’s spreading as more people have been exposed to it.
About Steve Krug
Steve Krug (pronounced “kroog”) is best known as the author of Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. First published in 2000 and now in its third edition with over 450,000 copies in print, this book has served as almost everyone’s introduction to usability and user experience design.