Re: Intuitive vs Familiar (was minimalism)

Subject: Re: Intuitive vs Familiar (was minimalism)
From: John Ahlstrom <jahlstro -at- CISCO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 12:48:10 -0800

Apparently I did a terrible job of expressing what I wanted.
My point was that "intuitive" is not used to describe "intuitive"
things but to describe "familiar"(to some) things and that we
would all be better off if we used "familiar" instead of "intuitive"
because we would recognize that what is familiar to one group
is not necessarily familiar to another. "Intuitive" seems
to denote some universal, human knowledge or process.

The other issue is my own schizophrenia:
I am the first to recognize general language change and even to think
it is a "good thing".
I am the first to rail against many specific language changes.

"I love language change, it is language changes that I hate."

Robert Plamondon wrote:

>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.

--snip snip

>A car has an intuitive interface because it's standardized across all
>models, barring the difference betwen an automatic and manual transmission.
That describes a "familiar" interface, not an "intuitive" one.

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

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: Intuitive (was Minimalism)
Next by Author: Re: The user guide prescribes the program
Previous by Thread: wordperfect question (forms)
Next by Thread: Re[2]: Intuitive vs Familiar (was minimalism)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads