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  • Midhun Krishnakumar

Decoding Intuitiveness



Series of study on decoding basic human behaviours


Everyday, we come across creative and exciting ways to handle User Experience and we have heard how important is pattern recognition in a user interface. We say it reduces cognitive strain and a user can direct oneself to complete a task by following a pattern. But ever imagined why pattern recognition works? Similarly many user experience philosophies point towards effective utilisation of cognitive biases which basically “makes a user take string of choices in a sequential progression in order to complete a workflow” But if we ask the user on why did they make these choices we might get a replies as “I felt like it” , “I don’t know” This part of human behaviour is termed as intuitiveness. Let’s try understand how intuitiveness works.



“I Have A Gut Feeling!”


Familiar with this phrase? We describe them as intuitions.


Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning.

The ability to take decision is based on understanding and experience.


When a user acts upon something, the action is a combination of their past experience with expectation which we term as intuition. This can be experienced every time we try something new. If it turns out to be what we expect, It’s a good user experience.


Intuitions could be termed as a building block of human behaviour. We talked about users with experience, what about a new born? Does a baby perform intuitive actions? if so..how?



The Newborn Traits


We say newborns are in-experienced. Well I differ this notion as some examples of newborn behaviour are from no experience at all!. This tells us something about how humans learn.

Some of the experiences that their forefathers have been practicing since dawn of time gets carried forward through genes as genetic memory. In understanding intuitions, We can observe what the first actions of a new born are.


Newborns start understanding the world before they are born. The ability to learn starts even while they are in their mother’s womb.Considering new-borns,Breastfeeding could be one of the first action one faces.


Now if we understand the whole process in terms of interaction design, Breasts are interfaces and the newborns are naive users. The user has no prior understanding of the interface yet it turns out to be intuitive enough for the user to use it. So there is something other than learned experience that helps users to take a decision. I took the research further more into understanding genetic information.



Genetic Information


Genetic information is modified through generations, rather its perfected gradually to increase the chance of ones survivability in a changing environment.It rejects features what we haven’t used for generations, and adds new information from experiences gained.

From the 100th Monkey Effect we get more questions on how information gets transferred without any medium. For now, Going through multiple research papers on genetics and genetic memory, We could say that information crucially relevant to human survival is encrypted in genes.



Patterns and Anomalies


Pattern recognition is an understanding that helped humans to survive through difficult times. The idea of “if this is different from the rest, it means something” It could be good or bad and that’s something you learn through experience. But with each of our 5 senses, we intuitively recognise patterns.

Logical connection between individual bodies helps us understand the relative dependancy on each other and provides us with insights that helps in decision making.



How does it help in experience design?


As designers, I believe we need to understand why people make decisions they way they do. Gestalt’s Theory provides us insights on key principles if followed judiciously could create good design. But how does it work? and that is the true journey we all need to take as experience designers to understand the science of human behaviour. Because understanding the root of these principles could help us create simpler and effective designs.


I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I’m right. I don’t know that I am. — Albert Einstein

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