I was reading this article, that at the end states there are two conditions that make one design intuitive:

Condition #1: Both the current knowledge point and the target knowledge point are identical. When the user walks up to the design, they know everything they need to operate it and complete their objective.

Condition #2: The current knowledge point and the target knowledge point are separate, but the user is completely unaware the design is helping them bridge the gap. The user is being trained, but in a way that seems natural.

So, my question is about the second condition, what are the techniques that allow design to teach user to use an interface in a way that seems natural?

1 Answer 1


Don Norman devotes a fair bit of attention to this in his book design of everyday things.

He splits knowledge between knowledge in the head and knowledge in the world.

How to make something appear intuitive (if such a thing really exists) depends on a fine balance between the two. You really need to understand how your users think to achieve this.

The techniques you use depend on your users and product. It could be very simply telling them what to do, or providing coherent signals (signifiers that signal an affordance - what something can do) that are meaningful to your audience through to use of real life metaphors (e.g if it is a game - show a catapult and a bird and see what a users does!)

In general it is usually a balance of getting the right simple. Make sure a user can meet their goals with the minimum of conscious thought.

You could also try making it fun if possible but this can easily translate into patronising.

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