Intuitive Design

What Is Intuitive Design?

In product management, intuitive design refers to making products easy to use. With an intuitively designed product, customers will understand how to use it without much effort. They are also less likely to need a tutorial, onboarding, or other help.

Here is a simple way to understand intuitive design: The product works the way the user expects.

Why Is Intuitive Design Important?

According to research cited by AppVerticals, about 25% of mobile apps are abandoned after their first use. As the company points out, one of the main reasons is that the user experience is not intuitive in many apps.

People are busy. Everyone is bombarded with messages and digital distractions throughout the day. Often they have many options for most of the products they’re interested in buying. If you are building a product—whether a physical item or a digital app—you cannot afford to let a user’s first experience with the product be confusing or frustrating.

If users have difficulty navigating through your product, many will walk away from it. Many will also form a negative impression of your company, which will mean you’ll have difficulty persuading them to try another product.

Additionally, building a product that users find intuitive can lead to customer delight. And customer delight is a must-have on your product roadmap. Because many products do not function intuitively, users often appreciate the experience of finding a product that operates exactly the way they think it should.

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Who Is Responsible for Intuitive Design?

Designing intuitive products is a shared responsibility across a company’s product team. UX designers, product designers, product managers, product owners, and developers all play a role in making their products intuitive.

A major part of a product designer’s job, for example, is to make sure the product is intuitive and easy to use.

UX teams spend much of their time thinking through the easiest and most straightforward ways to lay the product out. Their goals are to ensure users have an easy time finding the functionality they need and that they can complete tasks in as few steps as possible.

Product managers spend a lot of time talking with their user personas, monitoring their products’ usage data, and seeking customer feedback. One common goal in all of these endeavors is to find out what their personas want to do with the product and how they expect to accomplish those tasks.

In a well-run organization, product and UX teams collaborate to design intuitive products.

How Can You Create an Intuitive Design?

Here are a few tips to help make sure your team is building a product with intuitive design.

1. Seek user feedback.

The people in the best position to tell you how to design intuitively are the ones who are using your products—present users with a prototype, wireframe, or minimum viable product. Then ask if the product and experience meet expectations. Finally, find out what to streamline and improve.

2. Make design central to the product.

In many companies, the design discussion begins only after the product managers have developed a plan for features and functionality. Design becomes little more than an afterthought. The better practice involves the design team—product designers, UX designers—from the beginning. You want to make the product experience a key element of the product.

3. Test the product’s intuitiveness with coworkers.

Another great way to improve your product’s chances will be intuitive is to ask non-product people in the company to test it out. Get as far away from the product team as you can—people in accounting or shipping, for example. Ask them to complete a task in the product, and ask if they have trouble finding the tools needed. This is a great way to uncover complications or other design flaws that your team is too close to the product to discover.

Read the Customer Interview Guide ➜

Related Terms

usability testing, user experience, the user is drunk, product designer, UX designer