This book contains 40 usability guidelines for websites, ranging from Eliminate the Reset button and disable the Submit button after it’s clicked to Give an error message that’s noticeable at a glance to Be upfront about item unavailabiity. The topics include error messages, clear instructions, friendly forms, overcoming missing pages, helpful help, obstacles to conversion, and search.
When I state them that baldly, they sound obvious. But they’re not. The 37 Signals guys have amply illustrated each guideline with examples of sites that violated the guideline, and sites that exemplify the guideline. The examples are well chosen and bolster their points.
The book feels padded, however. They could easily have reduced the page count by two-thirds. Indeed, an earlier version of this book is available as a 17-page whitepaper. It was certainly worth the $6 that I paid for it at Half-Price Books, but I think I’d feel cheated if I had spent $25 on it.
The book refers to a companion website, DesignNotFound.com. This site is no longer available, which I find unforgivable. It’s such a complete contradiction of the principles they advocate. The Wayback Machine reveals the original site.