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7144RE: [agile-usability] Product Metaphor

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  • Larry Constantine
    Jul 26, 2010

      Jared wrote:


      > So, it's a hard line to tow: make it like existing real-world elements (the metaphor approach) or innovate?


      Wonderful play on metaphors. Intentional? The old expression is “to toe the line” (to position one’s toes on the line) but your innovation (to pull the rope, another possible nautical nod) also works. Either very clever or lucky slip, which can also be a route to design success. :-)


      As to real-world metaphors, I thought this had been largely settled a decade ago, except at Apple. Any presentation technique should be used only in so far as it enhances usability and the user experience. When it is mere decoration it begins to cross the line, and when it gets in the way, it should be discarded. Interaction design at its best creates new metaphors that work so well that they seem to users as if they were already familiar, always there. We call this the “Of course, I knew it!” experience. The user didn’t know it until they encountered it, but it seems so right that it feels like they have always known.

      --Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
        Professor |  University of Madeira | Funchal , Portugal
        Institute Fellow | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute | www.M-ITI.org


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