Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is Intuitive?

More and more I am learning that the term "intuitive" is very loose.
What is intuitive to one person may be completely strange and unfamiliar
to another. This is especially true when instructional design and
software meet.

Something is "intuitive" if we have experience with something else that
is similar. If something is not "intuitive" then there is a real need
to have additional material to help it become "intuitive" to people.
The English language is very non-intuitive, but yet, native speakers
consider it completely intuitive. (For example, "gooder" would be the
natural extension of "good", but we use "better".)

Context-sensitive help is what I call a "Reference Manual" - you look up
details on a specific task. A tutorial is more of a "User's Manual" in
that it should offer procedural descriptions of the software's overall
functionality and approach. The "searchability" requirement can quickly
turn a well structured User's Manual into both a "User's Manual" and a
"Reference Manual". I find highly linear content like Video and Audio
distracting and uninformative, but then that is my learning style.

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