We all want our interfaces to be intuitive, don't we? Sounds good to me. I know I've used this word in the past when passing judgment on a user interface: "I'm confused by the interface... it's just not intuitive."
To intuitively understand something means it is understood without prior exposure to the subject, without requiring a learning process, and without using rational thought. Running away from a bear in the woods: intuition, fight or flight. Drinking water from a lake: not intuition, prior experience with lakes teaches you to expect water. Shaking a coconut, realizing there is milk inside, smashing it and drinking it: not intuition, you inferred liquid from rationally thinking about the sound it made. Operating any user interface that requires a keyboard or mouse: not intuitive by any stretch of the definition. Somewhere, someone taught you how these things worked. So sorry, your cool new interface that passed usability testing with flying colors is not intuitive.
Your user interface might be familiar, and this is good because it reduces the learning curve of users who have already been trained in something similar.
Or your user interface might be easily habituated, and this is good because repeated use will increase the user's productivity and operation time.
But ease of use and speed of learning are certainly not the same thing as intuitiveness. As Jef Raskin points out in "The Humane Interface", "The mouse is very easy to learn... [It's] fast and easy, but it is neither intuitive or natural. No artifact is."
What you can do is make an interface self-teaching, meaning the user can always find proper explanations and instructions when they are needed.
So from here on, I pledge to stop saying "intuitive" when it comes to interfaces. Instead I'll stick with "familiar", "self-teaching", and "easily habituated".
AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE TOPIC... I often hear people say their co-workers are idiots. The word idiot traditionally, specifically describes people with an IQ of 0-25. It is one step below imbecile (26-50), and two below moron (51-70). Here is a handy table for comparison:
True idiots are as rare as the true genius. While it might be possible, however unlikely, that you work with a bunch of morons, it is almost unthinkably improbable that you work with a bunch of idiots. So from here on, I pledge to stop calling my co-workers of years past idiots, and instead will upgrade them to mere morons (I would never call any present co-workers either of course!).
Sadly, the work of Henry Goddard, who created this colorful scale of feeble-mindedness, is now politically incorrect, and since the turn of the century state governments have been moving to replace these terms with "mentally incompetent". This is discouraging for lovers of language, but at least we can take heart in the knowledge that at least 5 states do not allow idiots to vote. Surprisingly, none of those states voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election. Funny, I'd of thought it'd be the other way around.