“The Least You Can Do” Concept by Steve Krug

Rocket Surgery Made Easy is basically a follow-up book to Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. Where Don’t Make Me Think focused on users’ behaviors and how we make decisions, Rocket Surgery Made Easy is more focused on how to implement user testing in the simplest way possible.

Chapter 11 is titled, “The least you can do” and relates to the idea of finding the smallest change that makes the biggest impact. My favorite part of the chapter is where Krug refutes the most common reasons why we postpone changes:

  • “If we’re going to fix it, we want to do it right.” – He instead suggests, “Make it better for our users right now.”
  • “It’s a core problem. There’s no easy way to fix it.” – Instead, try to at least mitigate the impact on the users.
  • “That’s all going to change soon anyway. We can live with it until then.” – What if that redesign is delayed? What about if the next project is postponed or canceled?
  • Duct tape over a hole is still better than a hole.
  • “We can’t fix that right now. We don’t have time.” – You have to do something about serious usability problems.

The remainder of the chapter discusses the two main principles for doing the least you can do. Then details how to “tweak” something and complete the smallest amount of work for the biggest payoff.

The book is a great reference on how to implement user testing, especially at a small company. It has checklists, scripts, and refers to videos on Krug’s site. His way of writing is really amusing as well. If you work on websites, make sure you have a copy of both of these books!

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