December 5, 2011

What is an Intuitive Design?

We have heard a lot about designs being 'intuitive', but is here is a good way to explain what exactly it is, and how can we build it.

Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge - Luke Wroblewski

"When you are at the bottom, you have no knowledge of how something works and when you are at the top, you know everything about how it works .
There are two points on this continuum to care about. 
- Current knowledge (what the users already know)
- Target knowledge (what they need to know) 

The knowledge gap is the space in between (what we  need to design for).
A design is intuitive when current knowledge is equal to target knowledge. A design is unintuitive when there is a gap between current & target knowledge.
We can reduce target knowledge until it meets current knowledge by simplifying the design. We can move current knowledge to target knowledge through training. These are our two options for design.
The “gap” between current knowledge and target knowledge is where design happens.
A design is intuitive when the knowledge gap is really small. In other words, it’s easy for people to bridge from current knowledge to target knowledge. In these cases, people don’t realize they are being trained."