Entrevista a Steve Krug

Steve Krug es uno de los gurús de la usabilidad, pero se diferencia de Jakob Nielsen en que tiene los pies en la tierra. En Interview with UX Expert Steve Krug podemos leer la siguiente entrevista que le hicieron hace poco:

Rosenfeld Media: You’ve always been a big proponent of DIY Usability, i.e. the fact that it’s not rocket science so anyone should be able to do it. We understand anyone can do it, but does that mean they can do it well? 

Steve Krug: Actually, my trademarked slogan is “It’s not rocket surgery,”™ but why quibble? You’re right: it does mean I believe that most people—with a little instruction—can do much of what I do as a usability consultant. They can’t do it as well as I can—hopefully—because I’ve been doing it for 25 years, but a lot of it is just applying common sense.

And that’s particularly true for running some basic usability tests. Someone with experience–especially a professional–can probably do a better job than an amateur. But can an amateur do it well? In my experience, almost anyone can do at least a halfway decent job right away. After all, it mostly consists of just giving someone a task (or tasks) to do using whatever you’re building, and then watching them while keeping them thinking aloud. In fact, the hardest part for beginners is biting their tongue and resisting the impulse to help, to comment, and to ask leading questions.

RM: But does this mean they can do it well enough to make it worthwhile? 

SK: I think so, for a few reasons.

First, someone beginning to do DIY testing probably hasn’t been doing any testing before, and some testing is infinitely better than none.

Second, if they haven’t been doing any testing, then there are probably huge usability problems just waiting to be found. So even if the facilitation is less than perfect, the participant is still going to run into the worst problems and the observers are going to see them.

And finally, I’ve been asking people for years to send me examples of cases where testing by amateurs made a product worse. And after all this time, I haven’t had anyone send me a convincing example. In fact, most of the examples I’ve received have been where supposed professionals did a shoddy job. It makes sense that these are the ones I get, because professionals are—correctly—held to a higher standard. So I guess my answer is that amateurs may not do a perfect job, but they almost always do it more than well enough.

RM: If anyone can do it themselves, when would you need an expert or consultant to come in and help?

SK: I’ve always said that if you can afford to hire a professional, by all means do it. It’s just that the vast majority of the people out there developing “stuff”—sites, apps, etc.—can’t afford to hire someone. That’s why I’m always trying to teach people how to do it themselves.

But if you have any money for it, I’d highly recommend at least hiring a professional to do two things:

1. An expert review. Having a pro look at your stuff and apply their years of experience is enormously valuable. In particular, they’re likely to have a lot of knowledge about what’s worth fixing, and what kinds o fixes will actually work. It’s a great investment.

2. Coaching. Even if you’re doing DIY testing, it’s great to have someone with experience looking over your shoulder and mentoring while you get started. They can help you formulate task scenarios, show you ways to recruit participants, observe your sessions and critique your facilitation skills, and decide what to fix and how to fix it.

Like I said, professionals are going to be better at it than you are. But if you can’t afford to have one around all the time, get them to teach you.

RM: Thanks, Steve!

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Rocket Surgery Made Easy, de Steve Krug, es la continuación del famoso libro Don’t Make Me Think. Este libro está dedicado principalmente a la realización de tests de usuarios “do’it-yourself” o “hazlo tú mismo”. En la página web del libro podemos encontrar recursos interesantes para plantear un test de usuario:

  • Usability test script: instrucciones para iniciar un test de usuario.
  • Recording consent form: consentimiento para realizar una grabación durante un test de usuario.
  • Checklists: listas de verificación de cosas que se deben hacer tres (dos, una) semana antes del test, durante el test y después del test.
  • Instructions for Observers: instrucciones para los observadores de un test de usabilidad.

NO existe el usuario medio

The only problem is, there is no Average User.

In fact, all of the time I’ve spent watching people use the Web has led me to the opposite conclusion: all web users are unique, and all Web use is basically idiosyncratic.


El único problema es que, no existe el Usuario Medio.

De hecho, todo el tiempo que he dedicado a ver cómo la gente usa la Web me ha llevado a la conclusión opuesta: todos los usuarios de la web son únicos, y todo uso de la Web es básicamente idiosincrásico.

Don’t Make Me Think! Second edition. Steve Krug. New Riders, 2006.

A veces un sueño puede acabar en la página principal de un sitio web

I once saw a particularly puzzling feature on the Home page of a prominent -and otherwise sensibly designed- site. When I asked about it, I was told “Oh, that. It came to our CEO in a dream, so we had to add it”. True story.


Una vez vi una característica particularmente enigmática en la página de inicio de un importante -y por lo demás sensiblemente diseñado- sitio web. Cuando pregunté por ella, me dijeron “Ah, eso. Le vino a nuestro Director General en un sueño, así que tuvimos que añadirlo”. Una historia verdadera.

Don’t Make Me Think! Second edition. Steve Krug. New Riders, 2006.

Sobre la navegación web

Navigation isn’t just a feature of a web site; it is the web site, in the same way that the building, the shelves, and the cash registers are Sears. Without it, there’s no there there.


La navegación no es sólo una característica de un sitio web, es el sitio web, de la misma manera que el edificio, los estantes, y las cajeras son Sears [Carrefour]. Sin ella, no hay allí allí.

Don’t Make Me Think! Second edition. Steve Krug. New Riders, 2006.