The application of metaphor has important function in human computer interaction (HCI).It can be used as a device to aid users appreciate new or strange technologies and as a tool to direct the design process. The creators of fresh computer based instruments face the same issues of design just like those in human computer interaction. It is widely used in various type of interface designs ranging from computer interfaces, gesture controlled instruments, mobile phone interfaces, smart phones and tablets, other structures of mental model, autonomous systems, assistive devices and any other interface design that is based on users’ mental model. Metaphors are therefore used generally to ease human interaction with various device interfaces. The computer hardware, for instance, affords a good number of numerous input capabilities such as keyboards, mouse, touch screens and many others. The computer software permits designers to map all these capabilities into to sound generating processes (Qian,Yang & Gong, 2011; Dahl & Wang, 2010).
A metaphor is a form of speech or a fictional device in which one object is depicted or illustrated as if it were another. The application of metaphor in human computer interaction has long history. Over and over again, an entity on the computer such as file directory is visually represented as physical objects. Folders that are visible on the desktop metaphor and the operations that are carried out on this object are illustrated as the physical events characteristically carried out on the object, like opening, adding and removing documents (Dahl & Wang, 2010).
Metaphors permit users to appreciate abstract or complex computer functions in terms of physical objects or interactions with which they are already well-known. It may refer to physical realism or to a general cultural understanding (literature).The work of Lackoff and Johnson (1980) cited in Dahl & Wang (2010) proposes that every abstract understanding takes place via metaphors that reference our personified spatial knowledge or know-how.
The desktop metaphor is perhaps the most popular application of metaphors in the field of human computer interaction. Nevertheless, additional examples include navigation metaphors used in file and web browsing, cockpit metaphors which is part of navigation metaphors in games and also in discussions of technologically augmented power. This also extends to cave metaphors in virtual reality (Dahl & Wang, 2010).
Metaphors can be applied not only to structure experienced by a user but also to direct the design process of various kinds of interfaces. Fels, Gadd, and Mulde (2002) cited in Dahl & Wang (2010) illustrates the application of metaphors in designing fresh musical instruments. In the framework of Verplank for interaction design at Stanford, metaphors are employed during brainstorming and design to generate meanings for both users and designers. As far as performance history is concerned, SoundBounce, for example, was initially shaped as apiece for the Stanford Laptop Orchestra in the spring of the year 2009. The performers sat at Laptop stations and made gestures using iPod touches. iPhoneOS application TouchOSC was used to send accelerometer data coming from the iPods to the Laptop computers through OSC. Gesture detection was also carried out on the laptop by means of max/MSP patch that was used to send OSC messages. The premiere performance on early 2009 was composed and coordinated by Luke Dahl, Diana Siwiat, Leah Reid and the others (Dahl & Wang, 2010).
When it reached autumn of 2009, SoundBounce was modified for performance by the Stanford mobile Phone Orchestra. In addition, soundBounce iPhone application developed. SoundBounce for MophO was premiered on early December 2009 at the Center for Computer Research in Musics and Acoustics at Stanford University. The five performers stood in a circle as they face one another in the center of performance space, with audience members surrounding within this circle. Sound was then projected from the powered speakers mounted on gloves worn by performers. The structure of the piece was based on the three principle interactions namely bouncing, throwing and game play (Dahl & Wang, 2010).
The situations surrounding the initial development of the desktop metaphor have attracted significant historical attention. This historical attention is prompted by its succeeding commercial and cultural influence. The famous history sources include Smith and Alexander i(1998), Levy (1994) and Rheingold(2000) among many others. The extra specialized treatments include Myers’ (1998) review of the internet technologies, Kay’s (2002) and Muller prove’s (2002) reflections on the graphical user interface and the accounts of particular laboratories and projects (Alan, 2006).
It is apparent from the early human computer interaction research carried out in 1960’s and 70’s built on a legacy of leadership from policy makers who were influential researchers. Both the contrast and interaction models were challenged, around the time that the desktop graphical user interface was created, by a fresh theory of metaphor. This image representation replica of metaphor has primarily been the work of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, 1999; Johnson 1987; Lakoff 1993).assertion is that all meaning is grounded in bodily experience, that any abstract idea can be revealed to rely on mental images, and that this is revealed by the pervasiveness of spatial in addition to physical metaphors. ATANGLE, as in “you may need to unravel this argument.” Other philosophers had already renowned that ordinary language is permeated by dead metaphors such as Nietzsche in 1873, “illusions of which we have forgotten that they are illusions”. Philosophical abstractions are themselves metaphorical such as word abstract itself is from the Latin expression meaning to pull away from (Alan, 2006).
In spite of the acquaintance of metaphorical language, the tough assertion by Lakoff and Johnson that every abstract meaning is gotten from images was striking to researchers of human computer interaction. These researchers were themselves at the time scheming pictorial images to communicate computer abstractions. Even though the jargon of computer science such as open, save, paste already relies entirely on metaphorical language to convey fresh abstracts off and Johnson’s works appear to have encouraged consciousness of metaphor as helpful to nontechnical users. Before this, application of the word “metaphor” in human computer interaction had been random and disorganized in away. Howe and O’Shea (1979) cited in Alan (2006) explained the computer as a metaphor for mathematics brought in as a metaphor for designers. For the moment, Smith’s work on Pygmalion (1977) and the Xerox Star (Smith et.al.1982) cited in Alan92006) had employed the word metaphor in many ways. This includes using the computer as a metaphor for the office and visual images as a metaphor for human thought (Alan, 2006).
Commercial achievement of the desktop interface rested on a large scale on the persistence that it ought to be planned for, and assessed with, genuine users. Tesler established proof to support his intuitive obligation to modeless interaction after observing a secretary at Xerox PARC under pressure with a command editor. He consequently planned a considerable program of user testing throughout the Lisa expansion at Apple. At IBM, Carroll spent hours watching users who appeared intimidated by word processors. Nevertheless, this general concern by way of studying users was not in line with the general understanding of who the user population for these trial computers might be. At the time when the word processor market was growing fast, typists represented a significant commercial chance. While also suitably accessible for use as trial subjects at any research laboratory wishing to contrast novel computer interfaces to typewriters (Alan, 2006).
However the Xerox Star as well as IBM Picture world projects were intended not at poor typists, but expert bureaucrats. According to children (Kay’s “interim Dynabook” (Kay 1972) cited in Alan92006), the Xerox Alto personal computer was conceived for computer scientists intending to contend with NLS. Xerox, moreover, announced its intention to contend in the word processor market made by smaller companies like Wang. Consequently, the System Development Division that hosted the Star project must have suffered substantially in pursuing these various markets Alan, 2006).
Several features of the model human processor offered universal descriptions of human performance that were sensibly consistent in a variety of optional user populations such as movement, perception, and short term memory. However, it was also essential to complement these behavioral limitations with a model of the users’ internal illustration that would give details of how they learn to use fresh interface. For both cognitive psychologists and engineers, this viewpoint framed the theoretical work that resulted to the desktop metaphor ( Alan, 2006).
The key advancement resulting to the desktop metaphor was not merely an explanation of user knowledge in terms of a computational model. The proposals that system designers could enlarge their programming work to design such a replica in the mind of users. The design of a user model or theoretical model in afterward writing was a major element of the Xerox design approach. It was developed at first as a constituent of Card and Moran’s work, and made open in the methodology for user interface design. It was made available first in the Xerox document, then rapidly popularized in a chapter of one of the first literature text on user interaction design (Alan, 2006).
If we compare philosophical theories of metaphor to the aim of user model construction, a number of issues are apparent. One is that Johnson’s description of metaphorical understanding as bodily, subjective, and imaginative cannot probably be contained in a computational depiction. In addition, even though the mappings of a well-known metaphor might be considered as predictable, “dead”, the employment of metaphor preserves potential creativity. It might result wildness and unruliness of users, interpretations, evading the control of the designer’s goal. This issue arose frequently at the 2003 workshop as an ongoing concern for metaphor designers (Alan, 2006).
Several presenters illustrated their constant application of research results from cognitive psychology in order to forecast and advance the efficiency of the system interface to users. Nonetheless, users are found to be unpredictable in reality. Instead of being obedient objects of investigation and the recipients of the constructed mental model, metaphor users do not apply the set theories of database associations of computational information structures. In its place, they consider metaphorical meaning as fuzzy, mutable, dynamic, and social. It is exactly these characteristics of metaphor that appeal to and authorize or permit designers, as explained to follow. Unluckily, when practiced by users, these ways of appreciating metaphor threatens and nullifies the design of the mental model as a system constituent. It resulted to the post-contemporary spectre of the end to the usefulness of the designer(Alan, 2006).
The work of Engelbart straightly resulted to the growth at Xerox PARC. A number of people went to Xerox PARC in the early 1970’s from SRI. Xerox PARC then developed the Alto personal computer (PC) in the year of 1973. This personal computer had bitmapped screen. In addition, The Alto personal computer was the first computer to show the desktop metaphor as well as graphical user interfaces. The product itself was not commercial; however some of them were built and were extensively employed at PARC. They were also used at other Xerox offices and many universities for several years. The Alto personal computer largely influenced the construction of personal computers in the late 1970’s as well as early 1980’s. During this time, Apple Lisa was among the first sun workstations (Doolittle, 2010; Cohen, 2012).
The graphical user interface (GUI) was first build up at Xerox PARC by several researchers. Dan Ingalls, Larry Tesla, Alan Kay, and David Smith also participated in this development at Xerox PARC. The GUI used windows, Icons and menus to support commands like opening of files, moving files, deleting files, editing files, saving files and many other commands. In the year of 1974, work started at PARC where the first bitmap, that is, What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) cut and paste editor was developed. The Xerox Engineers then illustrated a Graphical User Interface in 1975. In addition, they also illustrated icons and the first application of pop-up menus. The star, a workstation that incorporates several innovations of PARC was introduced as a pioneering product by Xerox in 1981. Star immensely influenced future growth, for instance, Apple, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems although it was not commercially fruitful (Doolittle, 2010; Cohen, 2012).
In the early 1979, the apple Lisa and Macintosh teams at Apple computer proceeded to develop such ideas. It was commenced by Steve Jobs through the leadership of JefRaskin. The Apple computer was comprised of the former members of the Xerox PARC group. The Macintosh released in 1984 was the first commercially fruitful product to make use of a multi-panel interface of windows. In this case, the desktop metaphor was used whereby files resembled pieces of papers with file directories resembling file folders. There was also a group of desktop accessories like notepads, calculators and the alarm clocks which the user could locate around the screen as preferred. Users could then delete folders and even files by simply dragging them to an icon called trash can on a computer screen (Doolittle, 2010; Cohen, 2012).
Until now, there are still various arguments over the size of influence that the Xerox’s PARC work. The influence of Apple Lisa and Macintosh was extensive since the initial versions of Lisa graphical user interface lacked icons. They are the least mouse driven although they entirely ignored the idea of window, icon, menu, pointing device (WIMP). The screenshots of the first graphical user interface for Apple Lisa prototypes reveal the early constructions. Apple also secured the visit to the PARC facilities by compensating Xerox with a pre-IPO purchase of Apple stock. Some of the PARC employees also shifted subsequently to Apple to work on the Lisa and Macintosh graphical user interface. Nevertheless, the work of Apple extended PARC’s significantly. This extension of Apple work added controlled icons, and drags and drop control of objects within the system of files. There is thus a considerable list of improvements made by Apple that are above the interface of PARC (Doolittle, 2010; Cohen, 2012).
The mouse was developed at Stanford Research Laboratory in the year of 1965 as part of NLS project. The aim was to make it a cheap replacement for light pens that had been used since 1954. Several current applications of the mouse were illustrated by Dug Engelbart as part of NLS in a movie generated in 1968. The mouse then make popular as a practical input device shaped by Xerox PARC in 1970’s The mouse first appeared commercially as part of the Xerox star in 1981. With apple Lisa appearing commercially in 1982 (Brad, 1998).
The multiple tiled windows were illustrated in Engelbart’s NLS in 1968. Early research also demonstrated the tiled windows at Stanford like COPILOT in 1974 and MIT with the EMACS text editor in 1974. In 1969, Alan Kay proposed the concept of overlapping windows that first appeared in 1974 in his small talk system at Xerox PARC. The various first commercial applications of windows were on lisp machines Inc. In 1979. LMI and symbolic Lisp grew out o0f MIT AI lab projects. The cedar window manager from Xerox PARC was the first major tiled window manager in the year of 1981. It was followed soon by the Andrew window manager by Carnegie Mellon University’s information Technology center in 1983 and was funded by IBM. The major commercial systems accepting windows were the Xerox star in 1981, the Apple Lisa in 1982 as well as the Apple Macintosh in the year of 1984. The initial versions of the star and Microsoft windows were tiled. Nevertheless, they finally supported over lapping windows like the Lisa and Macintosh (Brad, 1998).
This paper has given some explanations that describe the meaning of the metaphor. However, depending on its wide range and extensive use, the exact meaning of the word metaphor is not clear. Nevertheless, the description given in this paper in relation to other respective sources cited is directed towards computer interface that can be categorized into hardware and software interfaces. The designers of computer systems have therefore made use of these metaphors to make various interfaces of the computer appear user-friendly to various users.
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