The Girl Geek

{December 10, 2007}   Word of the Year: Intuitive

I was watching one of those “I’m a Mac” commercials recently, and I heard Mister Mac himself say the word “intuitive.” When the Wii came out last year,’s Matt Casamassina described the controls in the E3 video review of Super Mario Galaxy as “intuitive.”

It seems that this past year (and a half), if a company wanted to produce a hit product, they would have to make it “intuitive.” Intuition, the core of intuitive, means: direct or immediate insight. But, in all honesty, how intuitive are the things people have been calling “intuitive?” Let’s start with the Nintendo Wii.

The Wii can honestly be called the more intuitive product out of the two due to its controls. How many people know how to work a remote? Almost all. Although punching buttons on a remote has not been a part of human intuition from the start of our existence, it has become a part of the collective knowledge of the 20th century and beyond. (Think phones, stoves, toilets.. anything technological that you knew how to use even as a child that a cave man wouldn’t…) A Wii controller is an aesthetically pleasing television remote with a D-pad. Nothing more than that. When it comes to the games, some are definitely intuitive. Wii Sports is a collection of said intuitiveness. You may have to press a button or two, but you really throw the bowling ball and baseball, swing the bat and tennis racket, and punch your brother in the face.

However, an Apple computer, is not intuitive. If someone who had never seen a Mac before came up to it, and tried to play with it, they’d end up hurting either themselves or the computer (have you seen Zoolander?). Yes, it may be easier to take a picture with it’s built in camera, but to be truly intuitive, there’d have to be a camera peripheral that points and shoots like a real camera. Or, if you consider what Mac actually says during the commercial, “simple and intuitive, that works the way they do,” you’d have to have a crapping baby doll that will sync your favorite music to your iPod. Or iPoop. It doesn’t make a difference.

I don’t hate Mac. In fact, my first computers at school were Macs until I hit 5th grade. Apparently after that, crappy Dells were cheaper to come by than the cool looking Macs. In 11th grade, however, I had to relearn Mac OS because that’s what we wrote our high school newspaper on. All the problems stemmed from having to use Adobe Pagemaker on Macs, while using MS Word to type up our stories. I’ve never got the Beach Ball of Death so much in my life. (More than the BSOD on the Dells, so go figure). Macs just aren’t as intuitive as they want to be, and with so many people used to the Windows format, the Mac OS will not catch on.

But, regardless of my opinion on the intuitiveness of different things (and why I still have Windows XP on my computer), the real question is: why does everything now have to be “intuitive?” Are people’s IQ’s going down the drain so fast that they can’t comprehend tasks that require reading, practice, or trial and error? Actually, don’t answer that, it’s true. Intuitiveness = made for the impatient/lazy/stupid people of this world.

et cetera