Archive

Archive for the ‘Shameless self-promotion’ Category

Almost here

December 27th, 2013 7 comments

The new edition of Don’t Make Me Think (Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited) is finally about to escape the containment.

DMMTR cover 389x500In fact, the eBook version should be available today, and Amazon currently says they’ll be shipping the papyrus version next Friday (January 3rd). I tend to believe them, because in my experience they’re almost always smart enough to underpromise and overdeliver.  [UPDATE: It’s shipping from Amazon now—12/30. Kindle and eBook are available, too.]

I’m looking forward to seeing a copy myself.

If you’ve ever published a book, you know how much work goes into designing a cover. And if you haven’t, take my word for it: Coming up with a book cover can involve as many stakeholders, constraints, requirements, tradeoffs, and religious debates as designing an entire Web site, and sometimes takes almost as long.

In this case, for instance, it had to be similar enough to the original cover so people would understand that it’s the same book. But at the same time it had to be different enough that they’d also understand it wasn’t the same book—if you see what I mean.

Like most design projects, the whole thing was pretty interesting, and maybe one of these days I’ll write something about it.

Cover prototypingFor now, though, I just wanted to share a few photos of part of my personal [some might say compulsive] approach to the process.

Each time we came up with a new design, I’d print it out on photo paper, trim it to size, and attach it to the marked-up copy of the previous edition that I carried with me everywhere for six months while I was writing. I’d use removable glue-stick so I could peel it off later and replace it with the next iteration.

I found that carrying the new design around on a real book was the best way to get a feel for what worked about it and what still needed improvement.

The inspiration for this was clearly the story I’ve always loved about how Jeff Hawkins cut out a block of wood the size and shape of the Palm Pilot, then carried it around for months in his shirt pocket pretending to use it to take notes, look up phone numbers, etc. If you’ve never heard the story—or even if you have—check out this post by Alberto Savoia on the idea of pretotyping (as opposed to prototyping): My favorite pretotype story.

Innocents Abroad

September 13th, 2012 4 comments

People have been asking me for years when I’m going to be speaking near [insert name of country in Europe here].

I’m basically a stay-at-home kind of guy, so my answer has always been some variant of  “One of these days. Hopefully. Maybe.”

Next week, it’s actually going to happen.

On Thursday (20 Sept.) thanks to the good folks running the From The Front 2012 conference, I’ll be teaching my day-long “learn how to do your own usability testing” workshop in Bologna, Italy. Details and registration are at http://fromthefront.it and the first five people using the discount code “rocketsurgery” can save 20% on workshop registration.

I’m also giving the opening keynote at the conference on Friday (21 Sept.), and the code “skrug” will give the first five users 20% off on conference registration. It’s a full day of really good speakers in a fabulous XVII Century theater.

Both events will be conducted in English, with opt-in simultaneous translation available for the conference.

(BTW, I’m as puzzled by the pirate motif of the conference site as you are. Don’t worry about it. The producers are really nice, smart people. I just figure it’s a cultural thing.)

Make your boss an offer he can’t refuse

February 8th, 2012 1 comment

Your boss, really a nice guyOK. We know your boss. We all know your boss.

He’s a very nice guy, really. But he just hasn’t got any, you know, *money* lying around these days. So he can’t send you to conferences and seminars and workshops anymore. He feels bad about it. (Not quite as bad as you do, but he really does feel bad about it.)

Maybe a few years ago he could send you to things, and maybe next year he’ll be able to again, but not right now. (As Clint Eastwood explained to us during the Super Bowl, it’s halftime in America.)

Here’s your chance to make him feel better about himself, by enabling him to treat you right:

Register for my do-it-yourself usability testing workshop in Mountain View, CA, (March 7th) by Midnight (PST) this Friday, February 10th on Monday, February 13th.

[NOTE: We had a glitch that resulted in early registration going offline at midday Friday. And yes, it was confusion about whether midnight is 12 am vs. 12 pm. So we thought it was only fair to extend it a day.]

Three things will happen:

  • You’ll save $100 by getting the early registration rate of $495. (Even $595 is a bargain when you realize that next year we’ll probably be going back to our pre-recession pricing of $795/$895. But your boss can’t think of anything as a bargain these days.)
  • You’ll come back to work on March 8th all ready to start running your own usability tests. Your (and his) products will be better, your (and his) users will be happier, customer support calls will go down, your boss’s bosses will be happier, and home, as Dickens said, will be more like heaven.

And finally,

  • Our sponsor, UserTesting.com, will perform a free mini-usability study of your website.

After you register, we’ll ask for the URL you want tested, and the folks at UserTesting.com will get to work:

    • Watching users search Google for what you offer
    • Watching users perform common tasks—such as placing an order—on your website
    • Watching users naturally search the Internet to research your company’s credibility

What they’ll provide you:

    • They’ll set up and run a 3-user test of your site.
    • They’ll give you the complete videos of the three sessions.
    • They’ll annotate the videos, make clips of the highlights, and write a summary of the key findings.
    • And it’s free! (The three user sessions alone ordinarily cost $39 each.)

To take advantage, simply register for my Mountain View workshop by February 10th. Or register for one of the great UX workshops taught by Lou Rosenfeld (Adaptable Information Architecture: How to Say No to Your Next Redesign) and Luke Wroblewski (Web Form Design).

Or take them all for just $995—all three for the price of two!

So, an incredible deal just got better—three best-selling UX authors all teaching highly practical workshops geared toward UX practitioners in an intimate setting (capped at 50). Low prices per workshop. And now this great offer from UserTesting.com.

What are you waiting for?

Would a big league glove give you confidence?

September 8th, 2011 17 comments

One of my all-time favorite advertisements was for baseball gloves.

I remember seeing it in the back of comic books, alongside ads for things like sea monkeys, X-ray glassesant farms, and Charles Atlas. (Yes, I’m really that old.)

Would a big league glove give you confidence?It asked you six questions about yourself, and if you answered four or more of them “YES” then you needed to get a Wilson pro model major league glove.

I started searching for the ad on the Internet in 1999 when I wanted to use it to make a point in Don’t Make Me Think, but I couldn’t find a copy until just a few months ago.

The problem turned out to be defective memory. It actually wasn’t in comic books at all, but in Boys’ Life, the Boy Scout magazine. (I was never a scout, but my brother was, and I loved reading Boys’ Life.)

The ad has stuck in my mind all these years because of the last question: Would a big league glove give you confidence? Somehow, this always struck me as advertising at its very best. I don’t think a month ever goes by without me thinking of that phrase in one context or another. (Seriously.)

But now that I look at it as an adult who’s been subjected to a lifetime of advertising, I can see that the whole thing was brilliant.

If you read it, you’ll see that they hook you right away by feeding you two softball (no pun intended) questions that you can answer without a moment’s thought: Do you play ball at least three times a week? and Are you a member of an organized team? It reminds me of one of BJ Fogg’s brilliant points about what it really takes to change a behavior: start with small, dead-easy steps (to paraphrase badly).

Then they appeal to the dreamer in you (what I suppose we’d call aspirational now): Would you like a major league career? Again, who has to think about it? Who wouldn’t like a career in major league baseball–even then, when it paid a tiny fraction of what it does now?

Then the questioners establish their own credibility by acknowledging that this isn’t just going to happen magically: Are you willing to devote long hours of practice to baseball? These are clearly smart, knowledgeable, worldly-wise people. And in return for a career in the majors, even long hours sound like a small price to pay. After all, how long can “long hours” be? I already practice a lot.

Then they turn to practical considerations: Is your old glove worn out or too small? “How do they know these things about me,” you wonder? Of course you need a new glove. How could you possibly hope to get to the majors with that hand-me-down you’re using now? What a ridiculous idea. Buying a new glove clearly isn’t just some frivolous expenditure; it’s an investment in your now-almost-certain future in professional baseball.

And finally, the killer: Would a big league glove give you confidence? In your heart of hearts, it’s suddenly crystal-clear to you: like the Tin Man, all you really need, all that’s actually been standing between you and the seventh game of a World Series, is some confidence.

This is followed by the incredibly understated, casual, there’s-nothing-to-it call to action. Not “Tell your father that you really, really need a new glove,” but Ask your Dad to help you select a Wilson pro model glove [when he takes you on your next heartwarming father-son trip to] your sporting goods store. Of course Dad will help you pick one out. What father wouldn’t?

Notice, not a word anywhere about competitive brands, price, features, or even why a Wilson pro glove is so good.

Sheer genius, in my book.

So, in the same spirit (only without the genius part), here’s my “Should you attend one of Steve Krug’s usability testing workshops?” quiz:

Cartoon of would-be testers
CHECK YOUR

STANDING HERE
  Yes No
Do you currently run usability tests three or more times a year?    
Would you (and your boss) be happy if you could learn how to do testing faster and cheaper and still get the results you need?    
Do your tests often uncover serious problems that don’t get fixed anyway?    
Are you willing to devote one day to learning how to do testing, or improving your existing skills?    
If you don’t do any testing, would you like to?    
Are you hoping to someday have the words “user experience” or “usability” in your job title?    
Would you win more usability-related arguments around the office if you could say things like, “Well, that’s the way Steve Krug told me we should do it”?    
Can you manage to get to Washington DC on Sept. 7,
Seattle on Sept. 27, or London on Oct. 6?
   
Would spending a day with Steve Krug learning
how to do testing give you confidence?
   
If you checked “YES” to three or more questions, then you’re ready for a Steve Krug workshop. Print out the workshop page and leave it on your boss’s desk with a cheerful  note that says something like “I could do this in Seattle on the 27th. Only $495.”

P.S. Early registration for Seattle and London ends tomorrow (Sept. 9th).

Tweet to win! (A signed book)

September 2nd, 2011 1 comment

Lou Rosenfeld (well, his publishing arm, Rosenfeld Media) is having a Twitter contest to promote our Fall workshops (DC, Seattle, and London).

Pretty simple:

  • You tweet (or retweet) a few words about our workshops.
  • Include the hashtag #UXworkshops and the URL  http://bit.ly/oMJM57.
  • You’ll automagically get a chance to win one of my books, signed (inscribed, even, if you tell me what to write; nothing too obscene, though, please).

He’ll be giving away one book each Friday in September (starting next Friday).

There’s a sample Tweet and a much better explanation (including the fact that you could choose a signed copy of Lou’s book, or Indi Young’s, instead) on Lou’s site at http://www.rosenfeldmedia.com/announcements/2011/09/the_tweet_that_could_win_you_a.php

Good luck, and thanks for the help.