Some theory first:
Mental models are a persons thought process of understanding the world. It allows people to make assumption about how things work and unconsciously influence our behaviour and decision making. Our mind constructs “small-scale-models” of reality that it uses to anticipate events, to reason, and to underlie explanation.
I’m not going to bore you with the history of mental models and modeling in general.
There’s more value in using models and discovering the advantages of those models.
Here’s why I personally believe in using and developing mental models,
when you need a structure to lean on or to comprehend ideas, concepts and visions:
Users develop an understanding of a system through learning & using it.
This type of using is often described as a mental model:
- How to use the system (What to do next)
- What to do with unfamiliar systems or unexpected situations (How the system works)
People make inferences using mental models of how to carry out tasks.
Advantages: easy learning & better performance
- Increase motivation to use the system
- Better understanding the complexity of the system and task
- Better problem solving skills
Note: Don’t overthink models. They’re assets to help you, not to live by them.
Common sense & execution with the support of data should be come first!