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Glossary » intuitive


a term used loosely to refer to user interfaces that are easy to understand without training. An interface may sometimes be intuitive due to some inborn perceptual skill (e.g. loud noises make us pay attention) or at least some common physical characteristics of the world which anyone would be familiar with (e.g. raised surfaces facilitate, or “afford”, pushing, while lowered surfaces do not). However, much of the time, an interface is only “intuitive” to the extent that it is familiar, or similar to some previous experience of the user, and this perspective is often the most useful for understanding what makes a design most successful — imitate familiar activities, objects in the world, or software that people already have experience with.