intuition vs. background

Subject: intuition vs. background
From: Tracey Showalter <tshowalt -at- SCTCORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 1994 12:19:18 -0500

Reply to: intuition vs. background
Fred Werson spoke of what "intuitivity" really means.

being nitpicking
"intuitivity"? I had to look that one up. How about "intuitiveness"?
end nitpicking

>It seems that when discussed in the interface context, intuitivity
>really means that given familiarity with similar products and with the
>assistance of menus, icons, or other signals, a person can figure out how
>things work and do something useful without needing to take a training >course
or read a manual. This is very much a process of reasoning, and >arguably the
opposite of intuition.

Fred, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Earlier in this thread I was wondering if many people -- especially a few
product marketing and upper management people I can think of -- translate
intuitive as how well the interface meets the background of the user: things
such as culture and job and industry experience. If you'd never seen a garbage
can, how much sense would Mac's trash can make? Ditto for folders and files.

I've recently been teaching some people who have 20+ years experience on
typewriters, from the basic Smith Corona portable to state-of-the-art
electronic models, how to use WordPerfect for DOS. Explaining "directories",
"hard disk", "ROM" -- heck, even "files" can be interestingly complicated. Not
because they can't grasp the concepts, just because they have nothing in their
backgrounds to which they can correlate the concepts. No matter how "intuitive"
anything is, if you've never seen anything like it before, it's going to need

Does this lead to the possibility of levels of intuition, which is definitely
counter to the definition of intuition?

Tracey Showalter
tshowalt -at- sctcorp -dot- com

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