Simplifying user testing: Steve Krug’s approach to usability

Daniela de Leon
Thursday 1 February 2024

Steve Krug’s Rocket Surgery Made Easy shows a simple and efficient approach to usability testing that can provide deep insights on the University’s web pages.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug is a highly accessible and practical guide to usability testing. The book emphasises the importance of simple, do-it-yourself usability testing, which can be invaluable for improving websites, software, and other products. Krug’s approach is all about simplicity – making usability testing approachable at any stage of a project.

Post it note that says run a usability test
Krug advocates for simple and frequent testing. His argument is that by testing a small number of users regularly, he suggests once a sprint cycle, your team will be able to address more issues more quickly and collect a wider pool of user feedback over time. This approach works well for us as we are regularly working on different projects which need their own approach to user feedback. 

In the context of applying these ideas to University website testing, the book’s principles are particularly relevant. Our University website is complex and serves a diverse range of users, including students, academic and professional services staff, prospective students, and alumni. Regular usability testing, as advocated by Krug, can help identify and fix problems, ensuring the website meets the needs of all its users effectively.

Key takeaways from the book that can be applied to University website testing include:

  1. Start testing early and often: early testing helps catch problems before they become too entrenched or expensive to fix.
  2. Test with real users: engaging with actual users of the University website can provide insights that internal teams might overlook.
  3. Keep testing simple: Krug advocates for simple tests that don’t require extensive setup or resources, making them more practical and less intimidating.
  4. Focus on fixing problems: the primary goal of testing is to identify and fix usability problems, not just to document them.
  5. Involve stakeholders: encouraging a diverse group of stakeholders to observe and participate in testing can provide a range of perspectives and foster a broader understanding of user needs.

Implementing these principles in testing the University’s website can lead to a more user-friendly, accessible, and effective online presence.

It helps in creating a better experience for all users, aligning the website more closely with the University’s mission and goals.

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