Key Learnings for Product Managers💡 from 📚 book: “Don’t Make Me Think”.

Rohit Verma
3 min readMay 12, 2023

“Don’t Make Me Think” is a popular book on web usability written by Steve Krug. While the book primarily focuses on web design and user experience, many of its key principles and learnings are applicable to product management as well. Here are some key learnings from “Don’t Make Me Think” for product managers, along with examples:

  1. Importance of simplicity:
    One of the core principles of the book is to make things simple and easy to understand for users. Product managers should aim to create intuitive and straightforward user experiences. This involves minimizing cognitive load, reducing the number of options, and making information easily accessible. For example, when designing a product dashboard, prioritize the most important metrics and provide clear visualizations rather than overwhelming users with excessive data.
  2. Clear and concise communication:
    Effective communication is crucial in product management. The book emphasizes the importance of clear and concise messaging to guide users through the product. Product managers should focus on crafting simple and understandable product descriptions, instructions, and error messages. For instance, when introducing a new feature, provide a concise description and explain its benefits in a straightforward manner, avoiding technical jargon.
  3. User-centric design:
    “Don’t Make Me Think” stresses the significance of designing for users’ needs and expectations. Product managers should conduct user research, gather feedback, and incorporate user insights into the product development process. By understanding user goals, behaviors, and pain points, product managers can create solutions that align with user expectations. For example, a project management tool should prioritize features based on user feedback and commonly encountered pain points, such as task assignment and collaboration.
  4. Emphasis on usability testing:
    Usability testing is a valuable tool for product managers to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of their products. The book emphasizes the importance of conducting regular usability tests with real users to identify usability issues and gather feedback for improvements. Product managers can arrange usability tests to observe users interacting with the product, identify areas of confusion, and make informed design decisions based on the findings.
  5. Utilizing visual hierarchy:
    Visual hierarchy is critical in guiding users’ attention and helping them navigate the product effortlessly. Product managers should use visual cues such as size, color, and placement to establish a clear hierarchy of information and actions. For instance, a product manager can use a prominent and contrasting color for primary call-to-action buttons, making them easily noticeable and encouraging users to take desired actions.
  6. Iterative design and continuous improvement:
    “Don’t Make Me Think” emphasizes the iterative nature of design and the need for continuous improvement. Product managers should adopt an agile mindset and be open to iterating on their product based on user feedback, data analysis, and market changes. By regularly evaluating and refining the product, product managers can ensure it remains aligned with user needs and delivers a seamless user experience.

In summary, “Don’t Make Me Think” provides several valuable lessons for product managers. By focusing on simplicity, clear communication, user-centric design, usability testing, visual hierarchy, and iterative improvement, product managers can create products that are intuitive, user-friendly, and successful in meeting user needs.

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Rohit Verma

Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip @IIM Bangalore. https://topmate.io/rohit_verma_pm