Designing an inclusive user Interface.

An interface metaphor is a set of user interface visuals, actions and procedures that exploit specific knowledge that users have previously gained from other websites. The purpose of the interface metaphor is to give the user knowledge in a simplistic format about how to interact with the user interface. They are designed to be similar to our own physical entities but also contain their own properties, for example, desktop metaphors and web portals. They can be based on an activity and object or a combination of both work with user’s knowledge to help them understand the unfamiliar. Examples of interface metaphors are the magnifying glasses that represent the “zoom in” function or folder icons to show where files are contained. These are used in most current operating systems; however, this technology is susceptible to change as computers become more advanced.

Changing interface metaphors.

UI

The down side to changing interface metaphors on a constant basis is that the owners of software with many users are reluctant to make big changes and their interfaces evolve permanently to keep their familiar look and familiarity. Software designers attempt to make applications easier to use for both novice and adept users by creating concrete metaphors that resemble the user’s real-world experiences. Continual technological improvement has made metaphors depict these real-world experiences more realistically to ultimately enhance interface performance.

Changing metaphors.

Metaphors are a pivotal part of language and thought. It appears not only in poetry and novels, but also in everyday speech about common matters. The characteristics of metaphor in language are the same that govern how metaphor works in an interface. Just as metaphors invisibly permeate everyday speech, they also occur throughout the interfaces that humans use and design.

metaphors

Metaphors and interface..

In some systems, the user can partition the screen in separate windows where different nodes are displayed. Links can be unidirectional or bidirectional. A bidirectional link allows you to traverse the link from either end. Links are usually given names that may or may not be shown to the user.

Conclusion

User-interface metaphors are a widely used, but poorly understood, technique employed in almost all graphical user-interfaces. Although considerable research has gone into the applications of the technique, little work has been performed on the analysis of the concept itself.

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