"There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions." – Ivy Estabrooke, program manager at the Office of Naval Research
Our brains are the most complicated machines. Stop for a second and try to quickly catalog all the things your brain is thinking right now. All of the pieces and bits of data it's collecting, dismissing, or getting rid of.
Your brain is doing this while making your heart beat, your lungs breathe, your adrenal glands function. Along with a variety of other organic tasks. And, in essence, it does all of this intuitively.
So, it's not hard to believe that our brains know more than we think.
But where does intuition come from? Why do humans seem to have uncanny knowledge? And how can you tailor your website for human intuition?
We call it different names. A hunch. A gut feeling. Psychic Magnetism. Women's intuition. Sixth sense. Belief. Faith. Uncanny knowledge. But we often feel one way about something and it turns out we were right.
Of course, by all the names we call it, intuition is obviously not a conscious act. It's something happening deep in the brain somewhere.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. This definition seems more geared toward belief.
This type of intuition is useful to the marketer. And since before the dawn of photos and symbols, we used words to propose ideas and advertise goods and services.
Today, a proposition can come from a series of photos or images. And we are more inclined to make decisions based on emotions rather than logic.
Another kind of intuition might be your survival instinct.
The U.S. Office of Naval Research looked into this "sixth sense" soldiers seemed to display during combat.
They realized that humans learn from their surroundings and experiences.
So where does intuition come from? Perhaps it's merely our brain using all previous and current knowledge and combining that data with what it senses in the moment. It possibly comes from our environment both past and present.
We are wired to reproduce. The science of attraction is fully rooted in this assumption. And when you are attracted to someone, there are no real conscious thoughts running through your brain. You're merely reacting to visual stimuli.
And as you get to know the person, you have a "feeling" about them. It's either good, bad, or meh. This is sexual intuition.
When we see young people fall in love with the "wrong" person, we call them young and naive. What we're really saying is that they haven't experienced human interaction long enough to develop a good sexual intuition.
So, where does intuition come from in this case? From previous experiences coupled with current stimuli? What are we doing when we intuit sexually? Is our brain trying to figure out if this person will be a good mate for our offspring?
Certainly, many young professionals would balk at this idea. And this negative reaction a type of intuition as well?
The millennial generation especially is less interested in having children. Perhaps generational reactions and attitudes are a type of intuition as well.
But what about technological intuition?
If you're in the tech industry, you hear it all the time. "We've got to make this more intuitive." "Intuitive software." "Intuitive Technology." But this kind of intuition is different than the aforementioned types of intuition.
It's quite obvious that intuition, in this case, has more to do with expectations than gut feelings. When you sit down at a computer, you expect to operate it a certain way whether you realize it or not.
There once was a time where when you got a computer, you had to read the manual. Plug-and-play wasn't a thing yet.
It wasn't until the debut of the Apple Macintosh that the idea of intuitive computing became a real thing. But we didn't achieve the dream of intuitive technology for a long time after the first Apple Macintosh.
The lack of intuition in computing ironically spawned a whole line of "Missing Manual" books.
Are We at a Stage Now Where Computers Are Intuitive?
The answer is: Sort of? The invention of the tablet computer and other mobile technology drove the intuitive computing industry. Now, when you buy an iPad, the manual is one index card.
Better user interfaces allow you to plug your device in and begin using it in a few minutes. But if you gave an Extraterrestrial this device, would they be able to use it?
Again, it's most likely a culmination of experience. Why do you expect technology to work a certain way? Because you've experienced technology working this way before.
Many of us make decisions based on gut feel. Many times we dismiss gut feelings and proceeded to do things that result in bad outcomes. How do we learn to listen to our inner voice?
Intuition and how to trust your gut
The best advice I’ve ever received in life is to trust my intuition. I think of it like a guiding compass inside of me, that always knows which direction to go. An inner voice that knows what’s right. I just need to tune into it and trust my gut.
When you're driving down the road, the most important signs have blocks of text telling you what to do, right?
Not exactly. The most important signs are icons. A crosswalk is a picture of people holding hands ready to cross.
"Warning Moose Crossing" is a simple moose silhouette.
Similarly, the most important navigational signs on a website are icons. Three lines indicating a hidden menu. A gear icon meaning "settings."
Icons are the most intuitive form of communication. The Egyptians used them as language thousands of years ago and we still do today.
To make a website and a user interface more intuitive, you have to use icons.
Where does intuition come from when it comes to web design? Our previous experience with other websites. Learn to listen to your inner voice and trust your gut.
So, be sure to cater to the user's expectations by using a set of our icons on your website.
Comments will be approved before showing up.