Monday, October 20, 2008

The Magic of Metaphor

The varied uses of the metaphor ...

"Metaphor teaches. Metaphor influences. Are you drawing on its power? Perhaps not, because many major works on writing for interactive products make little mention of it. To help encourage better use of metaphor, this column describes both the usefulness of shallow metaphors and the potential of deep metaphors, while offering tips and examples.
What Is a Metaphor?

As Merriam-Webster notes, a metaphor is a rhetorical device “in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.” You may be familiar with metaphor from literature, cinema, or even advertising. You might have pondered interaction metaphors such as the desktop metaphor. Or perhaps you’ve given up on using metaphor in the wake of the book Killer Web Sites, which touted creative navigation metaphors with little regard to their usability. While I consider usable navigation and interaction metaphors important, I think other people have covered those topics well. This column focuses on text and visual metaphors in content and explores how deep metaphor can be useful in mental models as well as content, user experience, and product strategy."    (Continued via UXmatters, Colleen Jones)    [Usability Resources]

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