I found Shirley's work to be inspiring, insightful and invigorating! I particularly like the way that she presents information. She has a way of connecting with you that very few authors do well in the non-fiction realm.
I'll be frank, there are like 900 (or perhaps 9000?) checkboxes of "things to do" included in this book. Some are clearly "common sense," like:
"Provide obvious, clear error messages that explain how the user can resolve the error."
...but in practice are so rarely implemented! A couple of weeks ago, I was on the web site of one of the banks that I use. When I tried to access one of my accounts, it presented an error message telling me that I had to log back in due to inactivity. Of course, I had simply clicked on the account and there was no inactivity, but the site had some kind of a problem. The error message was totally irrelevant AND it suggested that the problem was MY fault because I was "inactive."
These kinds of things make a "web experience" either pleasant or terribly annoying. There is nothing worse than a web site that tells you that you're doing something wrong and doesn't explain how or even if there is a way to correct it. Shirley's book should DEFINITELY be read by those in the banking industry! ...and probably anyone else who wants their web site(s) to be encountered without the pain and frustration that comes from poorly considered content.
Shirley provides numerous examples of how to better "align" your site with the needs of users. And, that's what it is really about, isn't it? We don't make web sites for ourselves, we make them for those who visit them. If you're expecting people to visit your web site, you need to read this book. More importantly, you NEED to do what this book recommends. If you're not, you're treating your web users poorly.
One thing that I can definitely say about Shirley's work and that is she recommends that web masters check their server logs for web browsers. I use Linux and Opera and I am very tired of web sites that cater only to IE and Windoze. Her recommendations are useful and relevant, in that one should check their logs to see what kinds of client browsers are visiting their sites. This implies developing content suited to the various browers and testing the web site for compatibility with those kinds of clients. With the ever-growing expansion of web-centric devices and different platforms, it is wholly unacceptable to have floating content sitting over the top of other content particularly in forms where the data fields are REQUIRED for submission.
I was recently on a web site for insurance where a required field (zipcode) was errorneously displayed due to a floating border. Granted, it is difficult to test for the 20% in the "80/20" rule, but I don't do business with those who refuse to consider me, too. If you can't afford to lose the 20%, this book is definitely for you. If you just want to address the 80%, this book is an absolute requirement. If you follow even 10% of the recommendations presented in this book, you'll be a world ahead of where you are now with your web site(s)!