Rocket Surgery Made Easy

rocketsurgery_largeExpectations are high when one of the iconic names in UX puts out a book expectations are high. Don’t Make Me Think is rightfully considered essential reading among UX designers. But his work Rocket Surgery Made Easy tackles a topic more apt for a screed than a highly engaging manual; however, whereas it might have been essential in 2009, a lot of Krug’s advice is now commonplace enough to be mundane among practicing professionals. Shall we review anyway?


We’ve already talked about Gothelf’s Lean UX, but the premise of Krug’s 2009 work is essentially the same. Test at regular intervals, and test narrowly. Test to identify the biggest problems. Surely a wide-ranging test of hundreds will identify as closely as one can all the problems. In all truth, rarely does a budget exist to support that sort of test. Similarly, that sort of “all eggs in one basket” sort of text jives more-so with the waterfall method of software development, which is hopelessly out of style [and for good reasons, truth be told] in software shops.

Ever budget sensitive, Krug even suggests testing arrangements for any price. Find some free software? 3 users? Boom. The point is clear: budget shouldn’t preclude you from doing user testing. Important advice [and well told] for those who work in UX at non-profits and the like.

As I said, not revolutionary today, but the advice is still sound.

“We’re doing it Live”

Krug’s books have been around for my entire career. And having done a large number of usability tests, much of his advice and scripting seems redundant. Almost tedious; however, I think there’s an important reminder/lesson in there for those of us that aren’t new to this. He reminds us of the impact of words; the interpretations of our statements. I found myself considering that perhaps there is some merit to sticking more closely to parts of his script. Though honestly, I find they suffer from a made to read rather than be read aloud. When you’re on the listening side, they can be over-long and tedious. Again, I found myself taking aspects and refining my language; not wholesale lifting his test introduction

Brain Science Made Easy…

If you’re new to the profession, Krug offers a hard-to-fail-at checklist to ensure you make a good test happen. It’s entirely lean and a natural fit for the agile processes. For experienced professionals, its a helpful set of reminders that comes with a familiar feel-good-name attached to it.