Intuitive Design: How To Build Products That Are Easy To Use

Learn the secrets of how to design intuitive products by creating a conceptual model before you start design.
22 reviews
  • I have a Ph.D. in Psychology and decades of experience as a behavioral scientist, applying psychology to the design of digital products. I'm a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, and educational and government organizations.

    A client once referred to me as "The Brain Lady", and it stuck. Probably because I like to teach and consult about brain science.

    I'm currently the Founder and Principal of The Team W. I consult, coach, teach, and speak about behavioral science, brain science, psychology, design, innovation, and user experience. I've been lucky enough to travel around the world as a keynote speaker.

    I am also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

    My clients include Disney, Amazon, The Mayo Clinic, Zappos, the Federal Trade Commission (USA), and the European Commission.

    I like to write books, including: 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, How To Get People To Do Stuff, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People, and Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? I blog at my own website and I blog for Psychology Today.

    My work over the years has included the design of websites, software, medical devices, TV ads, physical devices, experiences, and physical spaces to make them persuasive, usable and motivating.

    I live in Wisconsin, USA, with my husband. My two children are grown and “launched”. When not teaching, speaking, writing, or blogging, I perform in community theatre, sing jazz, read books, and I'm an avid movie watcher.

  • Lifetime access to 25 lectures and 4 quizzes
  • A community of 500+ students learning together!

Intuitive Design: How To Build Products That Are Easy To Use

Learn the secrets of how to design intuitive products by creating a conceptual model before you start design.
22 reviews


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Why are some websites, software, apps, and devices easy to use and others are not? Why do users like some products and reject others? Designers of products that are easy to use know the secret -- They design a conceptual model of the product that matches the target audience's mental model of how it should work. In this course you will learn the secret of how to create a conceptual model.

About This Course:

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Some examples of what's in the course:

  1. How to create a conceptual model
  2. How to connect a conceptual model to the users' mental models
  3. How to decide on major user objects and their "views"
  4. How to make critical conceptual model decisions before you wireframe or prototype a single screen
  5. How to make sure that the conceptual model of what you design fits the users' mental models
  6. How to use the data you have from user research to create your conceptual model
  7. The critical components of navigation and action bar design
  8. How to use card sorting techniques to organize information in a way that makes sense to your audience
  9. Quizzes throughout the course to test your knowledge
  10. Exercises throughout the course to practice what you are learning

and much, much more!

Click the "Take This Course" button at the top right of this page now and get started right away. You don't want to delay learning the secret of using a conceptual model to create products that are a delight and easy to use.

    • Some experience in the design of technology, such as websites, software, apps, web apps, mobile apps is assumed.
    • Over 25 lectures and 1.5 hours of content!
    • How to create a conceptual model
    • How to connect a conceptual model to the users' mental models
    • How to decide on major user objects
    • How to describe the attributes, actions, and views of major user objects
    • How to create a navigation model diagram
    • User Experience Designers, Web Designers, Business Analysts, Usability Professionals


30 day money back guarantee
Lifetime access
Available on Desktop, iOs and Android
Certificate of completion


  • SECTION 1:
    Introduction to the Conceptual Models Course
  • 1
    Secrets of Intuitive & Usable Design: How to design a conceptual model.

    An introduction to the course, what it is about, and why you should take it

  • 2
    About the instructor

    Dr. Susan Weinschenk gives you some info on her background that is relevant to this course.

  • 3
    What the course will cover

    Here's the course structure and outline info about what the course will cover.

  • SECTION 2:
    About Mental Models & Conceptual Models
  • 4
    What is a mental model?

    An explanation of the key concept of a mental model.

  • 5
    What is a conceptual model?

    An explanation of what a conceptual model is.

  • 6
    The Relationship Between Mental and Conceptual Models

    An explanation of how mental models are related to conceptual models, and decisions you need to make about how they should be connected.

  • 7
    Overview: Conceptual models "gone awry"

    An overview of the examples that we are going to cover in this section of conceptual models "gone awry" and the types of problems that they represent.

  • 8
    Conceptual Models Gone Awry: Organization & Naming

    A walkthrough of some sample websites that have organization & naming conceptual model problems.

  • 9
    Conceptual Models Gone Awry: User Objects

    Examples of conceptual models "gone awry": problems with user objects

  • 10
    Conceptual Models Gone Awry: Navigation & Action Bars

    Examples of problems with conceptual model navigation and action bars

  • 11
    Mental & Conceptual Models
    5 questions
  • SECTION 3:
    How To Organize Information
  • 12
    An introduction to organizing information and card sorting

    An introduction to using card sorting to organize and name your information.

  • 13
    Using an open card sort study

    What an open card sort study is, and how to use it to gather data about how to organize your information.

  • 14
    Using a closed card sort study

    How a closed card sort is different from an open card sort study, and when to use it.

  • 15
    Using a reverse card sort and a tree test

    How to use a reverse card sort test and a tree test to validate your decisions about how to organize information.

  • 16
    Online Tools For Cardsorting

    A look at some of the online tools that are available for card sorting.

  • 17
    Card Sorting
    5 questions
  • SECTION 4:
    Making User Objects Clear
  • 18
    An introduction to user objects

    An introduction to major user objects, and the Object Map.

  • 19
    How to choose user objects

    How to decide on the major user objects for a task in your application, and starting to fill in the Object Map.

  • 20
    Filling out the Object Map

    How to use the Count, Attributes, and Actions columns in the Object Map to clarify your user object decisions

  • 21
    Deciding on the views of the objects

    You learn how to decide on what the different views should be for each object -- a critical part of conceptual model design.

  • 22
    How to create a screenflow diagram

    The magic step between an Object Map and design, this lesson shows you how to merge your user research and your user object decisions to create a screenflow diagram.

  • 23
    Ordering information within & between screens

    Make sure that the order of tasks from screen to screen as well as within a screen matches what people want and expenct.

  • 24
    User Objects
    5 questions
  • SECTION 5:
    How To Design Navigation & Action Bars
  • 25
    Deciding where actions should appear

    How to use an Action Map to help you make decisions about which actions should appear where.

  • 26
    How to make your navigation & action bars cognitively distinct

    Learn what it means to make sure your navigation and action bars are cognitively distinct so that users will know where to go for certain tasks, information, or actions.

  • 27
    How to make your navigation & action bars visually distinct

    Why it is important to make your navigation and action bars visually distinct.

  • 28
    Navigation & Action Bars
    5 questions
  • SECTION 6:
    Summary & Next Steps
  • 29
    Summary & Next Steps


Hours of video content
Course Enrollments


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  • Jérôme Lacroix
    Great course!

    Suzan, once again, you nailed this topic just perfectly. Can't stop learning from you :-)

  • Sumi Saini
    A good introduction to prototyping

    While the instructor does tend to use terminology she herself created (which can be confusing when trying to relate to what you may or may not already know, or have heard about), it's still valuable the methods she teaches. This course is basically about the detailed steps one should take in order to build a sound protoype (or, "conceptual model"). I enjoyed this course because the instructor used great examples to explain her theory well - so it was easy to understand. A course worth taking!

  • Dhanesh tk
    Gives an birds eye view of the user research process

    Gives an birds eye view of the user research process. The cardsorting process, task anakyses etc. But I think Task analysis needs an in-depth review as its just touched the overview. Also the navigation systems also requires some insight into information design/architecture.

  • Haydyn
    Good, but not enough on the mental model

    A slightly misleading title, as there is not much on the way of detailed explanation on the mental model side of this coin. The conceptual model explanation is thorough and while it is nothing new will help you to think more closely about the gap that plagues designers in their design endeavors. Cognition is a massive subject and the psychology behind the way we think is out of scope on this course. However a little more explanation even on things like working memory and sensory perception may have given some context. All in all The Good Dr. is amiable and presents complex information in easy digestible chunks.

    Enjoyed the course!

    Gives a good clear methodology of steps you can take to make more informed design decisions.