Designing for Intuitive Use of Products: An Investigation
Blackler, Alethea L., Popovic, Vesna, & Mahar, Douglas P. (2003) Designing for Intuitive Use of Products: An Investigation. In Yamanaka, Toshimasa, Kubo, Mitsunori, & Sato, Kiminobu (Eds.) Asian Design International Conference, October 14-17 2003, Tsukuba, Japan.
This paper will explore the application of "intuitive use" to design. A literature review has revealed that intuition is based on experiential knowledge. Therefore, people can only use intuitive processing if they have had previous experience to draw on, and so the things that humans use intuitively are those that employ features which they have encountered before. In a previous study, these authors found through experimentation that prior knowledge of features or functions of a digital camera allowed participants to use those features intuitively, whereas unfamiliar features or functions had to be worked out, which was more time consuming and effortful.
A new set of experiments was conducted using a largely software-based universal remote control. Users were observed and video recorded doing set tasks with the remote. After completing the tasks, users were interviewed. They were asked to show the experimenter which of the features of the remote were already familiar to them from other products. The video data were later analysed using Noldus Observer VideoPro and compared with answers to the interview questions. These results are being used to re-design the universal remote control in order to make it more intuitive.
The implications of these new results will be discussed, as will the question of how it may be possible to use design to help users transfer the intuitive knowledge gained from familiar products onto new products. Including familiar features and controls in a product, in a way that is consistent with the user’s past experience, should increase the intuitive usability of that product.
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