Intuitive interaction with complex artefacts

Blackler, Alethea Liane (2006) Intuitive interaction with complex artefacts. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis examines the role of intuition in the way that people operate unfamiliar devices, and the importance of this for designers. Intuition is a type of cognitive processing that is often non-conscious and utilises stored experiential knowledge. Intuitive interaction involves the use of knowledge gained from other products and/or experiences. Therefore, products that people use intuitively are those with features they have encountered before.

This position has been supported by two initial experimental studies, which revealed that prior exposure to products employing similar features helped participants to complete set tasks more quickly and intuitively, and that familiar features were intuitively used more often than unfamiliar ones. Participants who had a higher level of familiarity with similar technologies were able to use significantly more of the features intuitively the first time they encountered them, and were significantly quicker at doing the tasks. Those who were less familiar with relevant technologies required more assistance.

A third experiment was designed to test four different interface designs on a remote control in order to establish which of two variables - a feature's appearance or its location - was more important in making a design intuitive to use. As with the previous experiments, the findings of Experiment 3 suggested that performance is affected by a person's level of familiarity with similar technologies. Appearance (shape, size and labelling of buttons) seems to be the variable that most affects time spent on a task and intuitive uses. This suggests that the cues that people store in memory about a product's features depend on how the features look, rather than where on the product they are placed.

Three principles of intuitive interaction have been developed. A conceptual tool has also been devised to guide designers in their planning for intuitive interaction. Designers can work with these in order to make interfaces intuitive to use, and thus help users to adapt more easily to new products and product types.

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ID Code: 16219
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Popovic, Vesna & Mahar, Douglas
Keywords: design methods, ergonomics, human centred design, human factors, industrial design, interaction design, interface design, intuitive interaction, intuitive use, observational analysis, product design, usability, Talk Aloud Protocol
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Department: Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Alethea Liane Blackler
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:58
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 14:32

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