I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

Intuitive Innovation Means Marketing

Want to create a product that’s “intuitive”? Want it to be innovative in interaction — buck the trend for a significantly better user experience? You might have to do what Apple does and spend millions of dollars to make that happen.


Apple UI marketing

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Ok, that’s really what i always thought – the first time my father saw the iphone, he didn’t knew what to do.

I’m trying to put that on Ubiquity and trying to see what i can do about it…



maureenhanratty

thank you. In addition to marketing things to be familiar, Apple has been successful at building a lifestyle and culture around their products, so much so that I think there is social pressure to talk about their products as being intuitive. Is the word “intuitive” so tied to Apple that a product must be Apple like to be thought of as intuitive? I wonder…


I get good and cranky about the way people use the term “intuitive.”

When people say they want a system to be “intuitive,” they typically THINK they mean that users should immediately understand how the system works when they first encounter it. But mostly, the things people call “intuitive” don’t answer to that description, instead their behavior is easy to explain, powerful in its implications, and impossible to forget.

Giving the system a clear, coherent internal logic that feels “natural and obvious” is neither natural nor obvious much of the time.

http://www.cooper.com/journal/2007/10/intuition_pleasure_and_gesture.html


Interesting…I will try to try this specific gesture with my 5-year old and see what she thinks. My experience is that small kinds are very good at spotting what it intuitive and what it not.


I’m missing the point here, should an interface always be intuitive? And is it bad if it is not intuitive at the get go? What about brand New interface but Learnability curve is very low of a product.


I do think the “pin”action is intuitive, but it is a new pattern introduced to mobile world, and any new thing has the same fate. Intuitive UI is not expensive, new UI is. We call it luxurious UI development process.

I need a definition of intuitive UI. People misuse this term, they actually believe: intuitive UI = minimal and novel interface + convenient interaction, not “figure out how to use in the first time”…


Intuitive means familiar.



ChrisJF

As well, you might want to include ‘discoverable’ in the same marketing category as ‘intuitive.’ lol


“Intuitive means familiar.”

Thanks for putting into words what I have often tried and failed to explain to others.

A good UI should be simple, quick and familiar: in other words, as invisible as possible. Unfortunately, these 3 things don’t always sit well together.



anonymous

What is this homing pigeon stuff?


Dictionary says:

Intuitive \In*tu”i*tive\, a. [Cf. F. intuitif.]

1. Seeing clearly; as, an intuitive view; intuitive vision.

2. Knowing, or perceiving, by intuition; capable of knowing without deduction or reasoning.

(http://www.dictionary.net/intuitive)

So, given that definition, I agree that the map pinch isn’t intuitive in the strictest sense of the word. My experience in handing my iPhone to people confirms that they they’re highly unlikely to figure it out on their own.

I’m not sure, by that definition, I agree that intuitive means familiar. I would agree that the familiar is quite often the basis for intuition (e.g.: I intuitively know that round knobs are for turning because I turned them every time I’ve encountered them before), but I would maybe extend it to say that intuition is the ability to understand the slightly unfamiliar based on past experience. We’ve all seen paper maps (or photos), so we intuitively understand what they are. Pinching (or anti-pinching) on them doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot :)

To add to the list of ways people confuse the word: it often gets used as a synonym for “natural”. I’ve heard lots of comments that all kinds of UIs feel “natural” and “intuitive”, almost like B is a $5 version of A. The funny thing about the pinch: once you’ve shown it to people they’re all up in your iPhone pinchin’ on stuff. It’s like they were born to pinch but no one had ever shown them how. So I would say it’s a very natural interaction, even if it’s not one that it’s necessarily intuitive.

One more thought before I’m forced to turn this into my own blog post: there are a bunch of iPhone interaction that are quite intuitive. I observed a number of first time iPhone, users early after the first release before they had been subjected to the millions in marketing. Most of them turned the phone to landscape or figured out the swipe back/next without any prompting. Maybe pinch is a more advanced gesture that becomes discoverable as a result of mastery of the simpler ones? In that case, does it become intuitive after a frame of reference has been established?


I agree, but you’ve not gone far enough. UI design would be a lot better off if the word “intuitive” was banned, and then anyone who used it was mocked mercilessly.

As a word and concept it simply misleads and causes pointless arguments since people should be saying “it is familiar and logical to our intended audience” but instead assume if it is “intuitive” to them, then that applies universally, as if it were a feature of the device or interface itself, rather than a facet of a particular users interaction with the UI.

This article goes into even greater depth on what makes a design feel “intuitive”:
http://www.uie.com/articles/design_intuitive/



Funtomas

I dare to differ Aza as I don’t think Apple spent a lot of money on advertising that feature. Nope. Not a dime. Apple took a lecture perhaps from Mozilla and announced that feature via viral marketing.
Back to the topic, yeah really good UI should be *intuitive*, in other words, its features should be discoverable.



Kevin Warden

You are completely correct when you say the iPhone interface is not intuitive. I never saw those commercials and when I first played with the iPhone, I couldn’t figure out how to zoom. My wife actually had to show me (how embarrassing!).
I’m not sure what would be intuitive, but maybe re-using something that everyone already uses in another application?


It’s kind of a leap to call the iPhone’s interface to be non-intuitive based on the way you can gesture in a particular way to zoom in and out of content. This is, at best, a secondary function of the device. Not to mention that there’s alternative ways to zoom at all times, like double-tapping, which is familiar from the world of PC interaction, as well as something you are _intuitively_ inclined to do (how do I zoom? should I tap? etc.).

I don’t want to do a pitch for the iPhone, but the commercials weren’t intended to give a frame of reference when using the device; they were used to illustrate how straightforward the UI worked, and as a good secondary byproduct, it explained the more high level gestures. iPhone’s UI is intuitive by any definition; from sliding to unlock, to using the phone or listening to music. I’ve never had to explain anything to my mom apart from some seriously deep configuration that’s an edge usage case.


An Interface is described as Intuitive when the person using it has familiarity with its operations based on prior knowledge of other Interfaces.

In a way he is right saying that zooming a picture is unintuitive because there has been nothing like it before. Other controls like moving the image around is completely intuitive with the physical equivalent.


Ok, that’s really what i always thought – the first time my father saw the iphone, he didn’t knew what to do.


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    Your ealxpme of Apple having a single “dictator” making all user interface decisions is incorrect. According to Jef Raskin (the creator of Apple’s Macintosh project), Steve Job’s has not designed a single product.


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Want to create a product that’s “intuitive”? Want it to be innovative in interaction — buck the trend for a significantly better user experience? You might have to do what Apple does and spend millions of dollars to make that happen.


Thanks for putting into words what I have often tried and failed to explain to others.


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One of the strengths of the iPhone as a platform for user experience innovation is the wealth of physical inputs: a microphone, a camera, an accelerometer, a GPS, and a touch screen. That gives the freedom to make our interfaces more human, by allowing us to interact in physical, personal ways.


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Want to create a product that’s “intuitive”? Want it to be innovative in interaction — buck the trend for a significantly better user experience? You might have to do what Apple does and spend millions of dollars to make that happen.


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