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ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)


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"ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" <[log in to unmask]>
Gerhard Ortner <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 25 Nov 1998 11:36:57 +0100
text/plain (45 lines)

this is actually Andreas Dieberger ([log in to unmask]) - using a
friend's account while in Europe on vacation...

I would not say that metaphors are dead. They are everywhere you look
on the computer. The idea of a file and an application is a
metaphor to start with :)

Spatial metaphors on the Web ARE used, but differently than most
people think. If you look at how people talk about Web navigation
you'll see that spatial terms are used all the time: I went to yahoo,
then I looked into altavista, then the link brought me to ...

It's pretty obvious that a travel or path metaphor is in use here.
There is a paper about this by Matlock and Maglio but I don't have
the reference at hand now.

Explicit spatial metaphors on the Web are a different story,
especially if you think of images of rooms with objects in them etc.
From what I have seen almost all of these systems were designed so
poorly that they were useless. They often just had the metaphor for
the top 1-2 levels, with a lot of graphics etc. Just what a user
wants: to wait for ages till she can finally click a link, right?

There were / are a couple of systems that tried to use a spatial
metaphor consistently for navigation in large information spaces. And
example was the Web World (doesn't exist any more),or the mellanta
system in the UK. I don't have that url at hand either but try a
search. It's a city metaphor where every building acts as container
for URLs. Interesting idea, but also doesn't work really because the
metaphor is not really used but to produce a flashy effect.

That's the problem with spatial metaphors on the Web: most system
used them only to be *cool* and not to help the user...

I would write more if I had my materials here with me and if I had
more time to use this machine here...

Send me email if you are interested - I'll be back in the states
sometime next week...

Andreas ([log in to unmask])