The Use of Metaphors in Information Systems

Feb 3rd, 2012
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Stanford University
Course: computer science
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A metaphor can be defined as “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison” (dictionary.com). We use metaphors in our everyday language more than most people realize. But metaphors are also vital in the field of Information Systems, especially in the design of user interfaces. To the “Average Joes” of the world, or those people who have difficulty understanding the complicated concepts of digital storage, information transmission, and processing, metaphors provide them with relevant concepts to which they can easily relate. Therefore, metaphors allow a significantly larger amount of the worldly population to use many of the common technologies that we take for granted today.

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