metaphoric interfaces

7 Oct 2005 - 10:47am
8 years ago
3 replies
442 reads
Vishal Subraman...
2005

My boss wants me to create a metaphoric interface for a website
(really!). He's from Natural Resources though. Our clients have already
created a prototype based on a metaphor and he wants me to improve it.

(Its a Natural Resource website and the Interface has the image of a
scenary that they created, with icons of camping, lakes, hiking etc near
corresponding items.)

I'm planning to convince my boss/ clients that metaphors were disposed
ages back for informational websites. But it did get me thinking that if
are there any instances at all where metaphors work well for websites
other than entertainment purposes?

Vishal

Comments

7 Oct 2005 - 10:58am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Oct 7, 2005, at 8:47 AM, Vishal iyer wrote:

> I'm planning to convince my boss/ clients that metaphors were
> disposed ages back for informational websites. But it did get me
> thinking that if are there any instances at all where metaphors
> work well for websites other than entertainment purposes?

I wrote my Master's thesis on this very topic: The Role of Metaphor
in Interaction Design. Our digital devices and interfaces are riddled
with metaphors, subtle and obvious. There's no getting away from
them, really. Metaphors are how we map the abstract (like say,
software and the internet) to the more concrete and thus understand
them.

My thesis is here:

http://www.odannyboy.com/portfolio/thesis/saffer_thesis_paper.pdf

(340k pdf)

I'm told that for an academic paper, it's easy to read. :)

Dan

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

7 Oct 2005 - 11:00am
kjnarey
2004

Vishal,

Whilst I can't give you any specific examples, I can say that in terms of
well reasoned arguments for not using metaphors for interfaces I found this
book useful.

http://tinyurl.com/bah26

Kevin

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com]On Behalf Of Vishal iyer
Sent: 07 October 2005 16:47
To: 'ixd-discussion'
Subject: [ID Discuss] metaphoric interfaces

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

My boss wants me to create a metaphoric interface for a website
(really!). He's from Natural Resources though. Our clients have already
created a prototype based on a metaphor and he wants me to improve it.

(Its a Natural Resource website and the Interface has the image of a
scenary that they created, with icons of camping, lakes, hiking etc near
corresponding items.)

I'm planning to convince my boss/ clients that metaphors were disposed
ages back for informational websites. But it did get me thinking that if
are there any instances at all where metaphors work well for websites
other than entertainment purposes?

Vishal
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7 Oct 2005 - 1:25pm
Todd Roberts
2005

As I think Dan's thesis will attest to (after skimming it; correct me if
I'm wrong), there is nothing inherently wrong with the metaphor as a
solution to a design problem. The problem is that there are many
instances where they are grossly misused and off-target. Throwing away
the potential use of metaphors a priori is a mistake in my opinion,
because if you can come up with one that matches the information AND the
needs of the users it can be a powerful tool. Also, I would argue that
the "standard" website that I imagine you are envisioning is itself a
metaphor that has been culturally created to represent hypertext-powered
information. There is nothing inherent in the information's structure
that requires it to be broken into pages, have navigation on the left,
breadcrumbs, etc. It just so happens that the hypertext book metaphor
can effectively be used to present information in many cases.

Todd

Dan Saffer wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> On Oct 7, 2005, at 8:47 AM, Vishal iyer wrote:
>
>> I'm planning to convince my boss/ clients that metaphors were
>> disposed ages back for informational websites. But it did get me
>> thinking that if are there any instances at all where metaphors work
>> well for websites other than entertainment purposes?
>
>
> I wrote my Master's thesis on this very topic: The Role of Metaphor
> in Interaction Design. Our digital devices and interfaces are riddled
> with metaphors, subtle and obvious. There's no getting away from
> them, really. Metaphors are how we map the abstract (like say,
> software and the internet) to the more concrete and thus understand
> them.
>
> My thesis is here:
>
> http://www.odannyboy.com/portfolio/thesis/saffer_thesis_paper.pdf
>
> (340k pdf)
>
> I'm told that for an academic paper, it's easy to read. :)
>
> Dan
>
>
>
>
> Dan Saffer
> Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
> http://www.adaptivepath.com
> http://www.odannyboy.com
>
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixdg.org
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixdg.org
> Home ....................... http://ixdg.org/
>
>

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