Reflections on "Intuitive"

The discussion around intuitiveness here supports what I already learned when discussing this with other people. People tend to think what they have already learned about some program to be intuitive because it’s familiar to them. They always forget what it took to learn those things. When they start to use another similar program they are frustrated because they have to learn workflows again. Forgetting the effort they put into learning the previous program they might think the new one is unintuitive because what they learned no longer applies.

This why there are so many opinions about what intuitive means.

True intuitiveness for me means: “can I figure out how a thing works by visual clues in the user interface”. This is a completely separate discussion from the above. The developer can put in visual clues in the GUI about how to get things done (icons, buttons, wizards and such) and make things easy for newcomers.

I used to teach Pro Tools for users and have seen the troubles users have learning a new tool. The absolutely single best measure I have found about how easy / hard a thing is to do for the user is to measure how many mouse clicks it takes. If some workflow takes 2 - 3 mouse clicks then it’s easy to remember and people find it easy to do. If it takes more than 5 mouse clicks it’s probably too hard for the user because there are too many steps to remember correctly and too many possibilities for clicking a wrong option.

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