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I think you are using the term intuitive differently to how most people use it in relation to user interfaces.

In your helicopter example, the interface is (your) intuitive because it can't be done by thinking, you have to just "intuit" what to do.

However, people would say the helicopter is highly counter-intuitive, since there are four main controls and four degrees of freedom, with obvious linkages between them to anyone who has a passing knowledge of 'copters or 'planes. Despite this, every control affects two or more degrees of freedom, which is highly counter-intuitive, since everyone is used to vehicles where the controls affect only one degree of freedom.

TL;DR: You are using intuition to mean "unconscious competence", but generally, intuitive is used as a synonym of "obvious."




Before the term "intuitive" was bent a little by common usage in the tech fields, it had a basis in "unconscious competence." Unconscious competencies based on in-built the physical modeling tools of our nervous system are very powerful. Leveraging these in-built capabilities to build our UIs is also very powerful.

Awareness of all of these different sorts of "intuitiveness" probably distinguishes the excellent UI designers from the average ones.

EDIT: Not only are the unconscious competencies very powerful, they also tend to be highly optimized.

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