Intuitive equals familiar

Steeling is wrong but I can guarantee that all I took was an heading from Jef Raskin article. As he is discussing on meaning of “intuitive”, he finally suggests that:

… we (should) replace the word “intuitive” with the word “familiar” (or sometimes “old hat”) in informal HCI discourse…

Why? Because

… it is clear that a user interface feature is “intuitive” insofar as it resembles or is identical to something the user has already learned. In short, “intuitive” in this context is an almost exact synonym of “familiar.”

I received my new toy this morning, latest Kindle e-book reader. Ordered directly from Amazon, shipped via UPS and did cost me around 140 EUR (including all taxes and shipping).

Very first thoughts while unpacking were positive – minimal package, light user guide or more like quick start guide, USB cable and device itself. Battery was already almost charged, after first boot it did demonstrate that it was already connected to my Amazon account. And it’s light. Really, I mean without cover (sold separately) it doesn’t weight much more than 200 gr. But all other technical details are remaining to some further blog post.

Kindle & iPad

Few words on user experience after few hours of using.

As I’m familiar with iOS platform and devices that are using it my first impression was – this thing is naked and I’m loving it! I’ve felt similar feeling after long working day filled with meetings and chatting and people. And same moment I open front door of my home all those distractions will be behind and for couple of hours I’ll be able to manage my time and doings. Although my personal iPhone is the best phone I’ve ever had, iPad is reminding me my most horrible and busiest days at work*. Even if it’s on bookself or on the table and stand-by, it’s constantly shouting “use me, do something with me, I can play, I can anything you like!”. Really.

Kindle is quiet. It’s screen is still clean thanks to physical controls on top of the device. Black & white screen is really eye-friendly. Page turning, opening menus and confirming settings is fast. It even can handle web pages thanks to “experimental” web browser. And what’s really nice, you are actually able to read one column PDF files on its screen.

Finally I figured out why I already love it – it is intuitive / familiar. It is the most closest digital device which reading experience could compete with physical books. As soon we are realising that e-books are similar pieces of digital media as music and video that we are consuming from day to day. Though books in their nature are thousands of years old and it’s very hard to think of them as something not very physical.

* I love my work!