Fun with User Interface Metaphors:

Beyond the desktop UI? Sarah Allen does some thinking on desktop UI’s and web UI’s. The web interface is metaphorically similar to travel. We go from place to place. We wait while traveling. Multiple webpages are consistent in design and create the illusion of a place.
More fun with metaphors? Another metaphor for the desktop apps is, the desktop apps are similar to a workshop. We have tools in the workshop. We work with them to produce an object. The object on the desktop is the file we save. It takes time to learn the skill of using the tools in the workshop. Similarly we learn desktop apps and put them on our resume.

New metaphors: Searching for a new metaphor for the new interfaces? Playing a game, Shopping, Learning, etc. Lots of different types of metaphors can be listed.


Learning to shop: Amazon uses the learning UI to make people shop. Learning involves asking questions and finding out answers. Amazon asks simple questions about their products and gives people a dime for answering it.


Playing to learn: The classic typing tutor game uses the game metaphor to teach typing. Letters fall from the top and the player tries to type as fast as possible to win.


Shopping to play: I don’t know of any game which uses the shopping metaphor, but maybe the next sims game will be to shop for the best product by sifiting through lots of properties. Enough fun for today 🙂

Fun with User Interface Metaphors: …

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