Metaphor engineering: a participatory approach

Matthias Rauterberg, Markus Hof
Johannes Kepler University Linz
Institute for Practical Computer Science
Altenbergerstr. 69, A-4040 Linz


A method for 'metaphor engineering' is introduced in the context of participatory multimedia design. Our hypothesis, that adults talk to children more with a metaphorical language tahn to other adults, was empirically verified. Especially male adults do not qualify for the job as metaphor engineers. Metaphors are powerful, but not sufficient to come up with a good interface. Single, over-detailed metaphors can be too restrictive and unwieldy. Effective interace metaphors often evolve over time through design, evaluation and redesign. The approach presented in this paper guarantees that the startting point of the design cycles can be optimised.

Published in Designing User Interfaces for Hypermedia, Research Reports ESPRIT, 1995, ISBN 3-540-58489-7