Metaphors and models: conceptual foundations of representations for interactive systems design.

Benyon, David and Imaz, Manuel (1999) Metaphors and models: conceptual foundations of representations for interactive systems design. Human-Computer Interaction, 14 (1 & 2). pp. 159-189. ISSN 0737-0024

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (3MB) | Request a copy


When system developers design a computer system (or other information artifact), they must inevitably make judgments as to how to abstract the worksystem and how to represent this abstraction in their designs. In the past, such abstractions have been based either on a traditional philosophy of cognition OF cognitive psychology or on intuitive, spontaneous philosophies. A number of recent developments in distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1995), activity theory (Nardi, 1996), and experientalism (Lakoff, 1987) have raised questions about the legitimacy of such philosophies. In this article, we discuss from where the abstractions come that designers employ and how such abstractions are related to the concepts that the users of these systems have. In particular, we use the theory of experientalism or experiental cognition as the foundation for our analysis. Experientalism (Lakoff, 1987) has previously only been applied to human-computer interaction (HCE) design in a quite limited way, yet it deals specifically with issues concerned with categorization and concept formation. We show how the concept of metaphor, derived from experientalism, can be used to understand the strengths and weaknesses of alternative representations in HCI design, how it can highlight changes in the paradigm underlying representations, and how it con be used to consider new approaches to HCI design. We also discuss the role that "mental spaces" have in forming new concepts and designs

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0737-0024
Electronic ISSN: 1532-7051
Uncontrolled Keywords: abstraction; distributed cognition; activity theory; experientalism; systems development;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 004 Data processing & computer science
Library of Congress Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Item ID: 3057
Depositing User: Computing Research
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2010 14:06
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 14:09

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Edinburgh Napier University is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC018373