Daily UX Crash Course — User Psychology: 18 of 31

One word you will hear fairly often in UX Design is “intuitive”. That means the user will just understand, without any explanation or training. So today we will learn:

What is Intuition?


(Just starting the User Psych Crash Course? Start here.)


Intuition is often called common sense. Or your gut feeling. And some people believe women have a special talent for it (nope). But, for everyone, your intuition always feels true.

However, The Kardashians are proof that common sense isn’t as common as you might think.

Intuition is not something you are born with. It is constructed from your experiences — you expect certain things based on what you have experienced before.

Two people from North America might be confused when they go to a public toilet in Asia and only see a hole in the floor. Whereas two people from Asia might be equally confused about squatting over those crazy water chairs in North America.

Intuitive, schmintuitive. Normal is relative.

The tricky part for many people is that our beloved intuition can also be wrong when there is a right answer. Really, really often.


As a UX Designer, gut feelings can be your worst enemy.

You will often hear people say “trust your gut.” That is stupid advice, because everybody trusts their gut. You’re born that way. It’s like saying “eat what tastes good.”

I may not be a doctor, but that isn’t the best advice if you want to be healthy.

(We will learn why it still feels like good advice, tomorrow.)

Trusting your gut guarantees you will be wrong eventually. Many times. Not trusting your gut is the only way to avoid those mistakes.


A UX Designer’s job is to design for other people’s gut feelings.

Not your own.

When it comes to thousands or millions of users, “intuitive” means that most people understand it, regardless of whether you are included in “most people”.

You know too much

Saying your own design is intuitive is like saying you are the sexiest person in the mirror. You need data and user feedback to know for sure.

That’s how I know that I am the sexiest person in my mirror.


Tomorrow we will learn about the predictable ways information can seem very right, even though it is very wrong: What is a Cognitive Bias?