A non-intuitive design steals the focus from the user.
Current knowledge vs Target knowledge
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Remember me on this computer. Getting intuitive design right starts with understanding your users. People come to your website pre-loaded with existing knowledge from previous experiences and so on. What makes this difficult is that you might have all sorts of users. Some are tech savvy computer nerds and some are computer illiterate grannys plus everything in between. The narrower your target group is, the better for you.
The wider your audience, the bigger the design challenge. They have probably used other, similar websites or product before.
So I sit you down in front of a computer and show you Amazon. People will now use the conceptual model of offline shopping and will aim to replicate the same experience. Now their conceptual model will be different, as their expectation to shopping on Amazon. If the majority of your users have never used the kind of website or online service that you have, you need to deal with the conceptual model.
This is why you have to figure out their closest experience to using your site. In order to design websites that our users find intuitive, you need to learn where the current and target knowledge points are.
What do users already know and what do they need to know? In both cases you observe and take notes without interfering. You will quickly identify the main issues. The best example for the 1st condition is Google search. You can not use it wrong. A good example for the 2nd condition would be Wufoo. When you log in and start building your first form, the instructions make it easy and the learning process seems natural. So you have two options for an intuitive design.
You can either reduce the target knowledge requirement until it meets current knowledge by simplifying the design. Or move current knowledge to target knowledge through instruction.
Or a bit of both. So how do they go about finding the stuff they want? A great method for figuring out which content goes under which menu item is card sorting. Card sorting is a great, reliable, inexpensive method for finding patterns in how users would expect to find content or functionality.
It will also help you with choosing the wording for menu items. This is why search is super important. You need to have search on your site, and it has to be easily found. Can you imagine it any other way? A good thing to bear in mind at all times is that people spent most of their time online on OTHER websites. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule — but innovation is difficult and risky.
Have the stuff work like people expect it to work. They know how things work, and when you redesign the website, you change it up on them. They just hate change that takes away their current knowledge. A law firm had to shut down. You need to focus on your most important users buyers.
The design needs to be most intuitive for them. Little changes to a site over time are often a better approach than major redesigns. This enables you to measure and thus learn quickly whether a change brings positive or negative results. Aim to make your website intuitive for your core users, and you will be rewarded with higher conversions and user loyalty.
In today's review I'm assessing whether websites in question could do anything to better get…. Peep Laja is the founder of CXL. He's a renowned conversion optimization champion and was nominated as the most influential CRO expert in the world. Peep, you do such an awesome job in writing. Thanks for the great guide and tips on website design and make it more intuitive. I especially like the last point. The last agency I worked with constantly tried to get their clients to redesign their site for better conversion numbers.