Re: Minimalism

Subject: Re: Minimalism
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 06:42:06 PST

>Good point Nicholas. I consider the fact that (nearly) everyone would know
>what to do with the red flag more a reflection of cultural knowledge, rather
>than a reflection of intuitive design.

There is not difference between the two. "Intuitive" design doesn't
mean the same thing to an Inuit as it does to me. I would be completely
hopeless at perfectly obvious tasks involving harpoons and skin boats,
and little children would laugh at me for my stupidity. But there is
a perfectly valid set of things that, for them, is "Inuitive."

A car has an intuitive interface because it's standardized across all
models, barring the difference betwen an automatic and manual transmission.
If you watch people at a rental agency, they only spend enough time
to adjust the mirrors before zooming off. They don't read the manual,
even though they've may never have been in that model before. They
don't need to.

"Intuitive" is not the process of tapping into some kind of process shared
by all of humanity. Its the use of cues that take advantage of the
users' existing knowledge and training.

In short, intuitive interfaces take advantage of cultural knowledge as
their basic operating mechanism.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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