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CSCI224 Tutorial 2- Metaphors

The idea of using metaphors to help leverage existing user knowledge in user-interfaces has been around
for as long as graphical user-interfaces have existed. Additionally, metaphor use is recommended by most
interface design handbooks. Recently, discussion has become more circumspect and taken new directions.
In particular, there has been concern over the places where a metaphor does not apply and also whether
metaphor really achieves the benefits usually claimed, such as increased learning rate and so forth. Despite
criticism, metaphor is still used frequently by user interface developers. What is more, metaphor seems to
be used with little understanding of its underlying structure, and is often used unknowingly.

Question 1: More is More Metaphor


Give two examples of where More is More metaphor does not work in User Interfaces?
1. When you scroll to the end of a web page and keep on scrolling down but it
doesnt go anymore as its the end of the page
2. When the volume of your device reaches maximum, it doesn't go any further no
matter how many times do you press the volume up button.

Question 2: Up is Good, Down is Bad Metaphor


Give one example of Up is Good metaphor in a user interface.
1. Microsoft word has all the important menus at the top of the interface whereas
the unimportant information such as messages are at the bottom of the window.
Question 3: Integral Metaphors

Consider table 1 as list of tasks that could be performed in an application, answer the
following questions.
Which one of the following interfaces follows a metaphor and what is the metaphor?
Which one do you think is easier to use? In another word is the metaphor helpful?
Metaphors are helpful because users can navigate easily and use the interface as
they are familiar with the metaphors.
Mosaic Terminology

Library Terminology

World Wide Web

Library

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Window History

Stack of viewed books

Hotlist

Bookmark

Annotate

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Book

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First

Forward

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Find in current

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Internet Resources Metalist Reference section

Table 1. Function labels used in No-metaphor and Metaphor conditions.

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Reference: http://www.baddesigns.com/mswebcnf.htm

Question 4: Composite Metaphors


This question investigates the characteristics that contribute to the effectiveness of a UI
metaphor -- specifically the integrality of the metaphor. Composite metaphors are
common in user interfaces and frequently advocated by user interface designers. A
composite metaphor is a combination of metaphors that are not necessarily related to
each other but together represent the structure of the system.
First interface is integral metaphor

Library

Travel

Composite

Library

World

Library and World

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Travel to a place

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Stack of viewed books Travel Log

Stack of viewed books

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Message Pad

Message Pad

Current Book

Current Place

Current Screen

First

Go to Start

First

Next

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Counter-balanced

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Photograph

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Photo Album

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Find in Current Place Find in Current Place

Reference Section

TourBook

TourBook

Which one of the following is an example of integral metaphor and which one is an
example of a composite metaphor?
first interface is integral metaphor
second interface is composite metaphor
Which one is better in your opinion for users and why?

Integral metaphors are better

Question 5Study the four sessions below. These sessions demonstrates two ATM interfaces in
Japanese and two interfaces in Hebrew.
Compare these pairs and answer the following questions
5-A- which one of (a) or (c) is designed better and why?
A is better as the screen is at the top but in C its down. The user looks at the top of
the interface first
5-B- which one of (b) or (d) is designed better and why?

5-C- Does metaphors play a role in your decision on your choice of ATM? How?
Yes, if metaphors are used properly then its makes it easier for the users to use the
interface compared. Some users prefer a particular metaphors over another.

Question 6- Open the file Bad-Metaphors.ppt and for each one answer the following
question. What is wrong with these metaphors if any?