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Intuitiveness in BASIC UX

Dan Smith
Dan Smith
Jan 4, 2017 · 2 min read

Here is an update to The “I” in BASIC UX based on feedback given by Don Norman (yeah, ‘The’ Don Norman. Very grateful for his time).

The update is adding an emphasis on leaning, because most things are not truly intuitive apart from breathing. Even walking is learned at some point, and definitely using eating utensils is learned but becomes ‘intuitive’ after time.

Here is the updated principle of Intuitiveness in BASIC UX…

Intuitiveness: Is it easy to learn?

The Gulf of Evaluation and Execution (Norman 1986) helps one understand the gaps that users face when using a product. Evaluation happens when the user is trying to understand the feedback a product is giving to determine the current state of the product. A clear course of execution is needed for a user to perform their desired goal. If the path to execution is unclear then the user wont know what to do and will get frustrated. Same is true for evaluation. If the current state is not clear, the user might unnecessarily repeat an action, or feel a sense of anxiety that their task wasn’t completed.

Intuitiveness in BASIC UX is focused on how “learnable” a product and its features are. Very few things are innately intuitive like breathing. Thus, most everything needs to be learned at some point. Using a pencil seems intuitive but is actually a learned mechanic. The critical point here is that a product can be learned and does the user does not need to relearn the product and its functionality over and over again. Also, this learning should be as simple as possible so that learning the product is not a large obstacle to using the product itself. Affordance is another key aspect of intuitive design. Like the color of links or the shape of buttons; these designs give cues to the user about what the elements do. It’s import to realize that most people spend most of their time with other products. So building upon established design patters is key.

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