User expectations

User expectations are the hidden force that determines our web design decisions. To consider a website intuitive, it must satisfy them. Users tend to benchmark unconsciously unknown against known sites. They adjust their expectations about the former, after they have learned the patterns of the latter. As new trends emerge, their past projects itself into the future, so they suddenly expect new things to behave in an old way. Such paradigm shifts make it hard for designers to introduce universally meaningful solutions. While half of their audience may be happy, the other half may feel unheard or even betrayed.

To design without user expectations in mind is mindless. Elegant solutions demand conformance to them in two dimensions—form and function. If we take a mobile phone, we expect its form to fit perfectly in our hand. If we use its camera, we expect it to work properly. An intuitive design makes ergonomy and technology inseparable and transparent.