October 14, 2014

Early hominids could look at a stick and intuitively infer different uses for it. A stick is good for scratching your back, beating stuff, propping things up, etc. They didn’t have to be told how to use it. That’s how intuitive products work.

Old phones that came with an owner’s manual containing complex menu trees were described as “intuitive,” but the necessity of an owner’s manual is contrary to the very definition of the word. The word intuitive insinuates that users can interact with a product using nothing more than their own intuition. If a product requires a manual or gives users instructions as they interact with it, it’s not intuitive.

The False Promise of ‘Intuitive’

“Intuitive” has become such a trendy word—especially in the realm of experience design—that we’re tempted to use it for everything. Unfortunately, overuse reduces its significance and renders it meaningless. When you claim a product...read more
By James Monsees

James Monsees

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