Oh what a tangled web we weave: metaphor and mapping in graphical interfaces

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The relations among graphical representations, computer functionality, and everyday objects are more complex than terms like “the desktop metaphor” may suggest. While metaphors in the everyday world highlight similarities between preexisting entities, interface metaphors create new ones. New computer entities can also be created without metaphor, when existing elements are combined by conceptual structuring. Naming such constructs, however, may involve yet another metaphor, between the functionality suggested graphically and that implied by the name. In sum, interface representations – which can only be called “metaphors” metaphorically – are complex and confusing, but this leads to a flexibility and power that maybe lost if simpler mappings are used.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - May 1995

Research Group keywords

  • Interaction Research Studio

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