Intuitive design is when customers understand how to use a product without much effort. In product management, a push for easy-to-use UIs is expected especially by users.
The best products have intuitive design — meaning you can figure out how they work easily. Customers don’t need complicated tutorials or onboarding since the product works the way they expect just by looking at it.
Intuitive design is a major challenge for a product designer, but it’s also up to the manager, owner, and developer. It’s a shared responsibility since it directly affects the user experience. This design comes from a good product strategy and product development process.
In this article, we’ll be discussing how intuitive design works and why it matters, plus how to ensure it in your products.
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What Makes a Design Intuitive
A design is intuitive when a user can figure out how it works without external help. The product communicates how it works through its visual aspect. When users look at it, they don’t have to think about how to use it or go through a lengthy and tedious training process.
In terms of software, users can instinctively use the program with minimal tutorials, if at all. A user should be able to go from installation to introduction to first use without help, then figure out features with little confusion.
Websites also require intuitive design. If a website feature causes a hiccup in your customer’s journey map, that means the UI isn’t as intuitive as intended.
Of course, intuitiveness is not universal—not all products will be intuitive to everyone. The vital factor is that your product is intuitive to your target audience, based on your buyer personas.
Why Intuitive Design Matters
When building a product or service, you cannot allow your users to have a frustrating or confusing first experience. This applies to physical products, digital apps, and software. If they have a poor experience trying to use your software, they won’t want to continue using it or recommend it to others.
This will also leave a negative impression of your product and company. Meanwhile, poor user experiences will prevent potential customers from trying out your products.
Conversely, if your product design is intuitive, users will be more interested in using your products and checking out what else you have. It will give you an advantage over competitors because you show that you prioritize easy-to-use designs.
Intuitive design is invisible to the user. People don’t notice when they have an easy time navigating and using a product. However, they will notice if a design is clunky and confusing—and they will voice their concerns both publicly and privately.
How to Ensure Intuitive Design
It’s crucial to remember that design itself isn’t intuitive—it’s the user who feels that a design is intuitive. The user’s perspective matters, not the product owner’s. This means you need to consider how the end-user will perceive and use your product instead of how you intend them to use it.
To ensure intuitive design, you need to:
- Center the product experience
Don’t decide on a product design after finalizing features. The user experience should be a significant factor in product design to ensure the end product is intuitive. Form may follow function, but form should also communicate the function without confusion.
Involve product and UX designers from the get-go to streamline the process. This ensures the design isn’t a postscript to product creation.
- Test the product
Both A/B testing and usability testing are crucial elements of the design process. If you don’t test your products on actual people, you won’t know if they work. You can provide the software to someone outside the design and management team or even a test group of users.
Ask the right questions when testing like:
- Whether the user had an easy time using the product
- Whether they felt they needed outside help
- How you can improve the product
Testing your product is an ongoing process, so make sure you do this even when adding new features for your users.
- Ask for user feedback.
Only one group can tell you whether your product design is intuitive or not, and that’s your end-users. They’re the ones who purchase and use your products and get the whole user experience. They’re in the best position to evaluate how they work.
Find out what users expect of your product, then ask if their customer experience met those expectations. You can figure out what to keep and what to improve from there.
Always Use Intuitive Design
Whether it’s a website or an app, you want your users to find it easy to use from the start. In product management, this is essential, and overlooking this simple element by creating clunky or confusing UIs will seriously damage your reputation in the long run.