Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Resemblance' keyword pg.1 of 2
02 APRIL 2014

Designing the Star User Interface: Familiar User's Conceptual Model

"A user's conceptual model is the set of concepts a person gradually acquires to explain the behavior of a system, whether it be a computer system, a physical system, or a hypothetical system. It is the model developed in the mind of the user that enables that person to understand and interact with the system. The first task for a system designer is to decide what model is preferable for users of the system. This extremely important step is often neglected or done poorly. The Star designers devoted several work–years at the outset of the project discussing and evolving what we considered an appropriate model for an office information system: the metaphor of a physical office.

The designer of a computer system can choose to pursue familiar analogies and metaphors or to introduce entirely new functions requiring new approaches. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. We decided to create electronic counterparts to the physical objects in an office: paper, folders, file cabinets, mail boxes, and so on–an electronic metaphor for the office. We hoped this would make the electronic 'world' seem more familiar, less alien, and require less training. (Our initial experiences with users have confirmed this.) We further decided to make the electronic analogues be concrete objects. Documents would be more than file names on a disk; they would also be represented by pictures on the display screen. They would be selected by pointing to them with the mouse and clicking one of the buttons. Once selected, they would be moved, copied, or deleted by pushing the appropriate key. Moving a document became the electronic equivalent of picking up a piece of paper and walking somewhere with it. To file a document, you would move it to a picture of a file drawer, just as you take a physical piece of paper to a physical file cabinet.

The reason that the user's conceptual model should be decided first when designing a system is that the approach adopted changes the functionality of the system. An example is electronic mail. Most electronic–mail systems draw a distinction between messages and files to be sent to other people. Typically, one program sends messages and a different program handles file transfers, each with its own interface. But we observed that offices make no such distinction. Everything arrives through the mail, from one–page memos to books and reports, from intraoffice mail to international mail. Therefore, this became part of Star's physical–office metaphor. Star users mail documents of any size, from one page to many pages. Messages are short documents, just as in the real world. User actions are the same whether the recipients are in the next office or in another country.

A physical metaphor can simplify and clarify a system. In addition to eliminating the artificial distinctions of traditional computers, it can eliminate commands by taking advantage of more general concepts. For example, since moving a document on the screen is the equivalent of picking up a piece of paper and walking somewhere with it, there is no 'send mail' command. You simply move it to a picture of an out–basket. Nor is there a 'receive mail' command. New mail appears in the in–basket as it is received. When new mail is waiting, an envelope appears in the picture of the in–basket (see figure 1). This is a simple, familiar, nontechnical approach to computer mail. And it's easy once the physical–office metaphor is adopted!

While we want an analogy with the physical world for familiarity, we don't want to limit ourselves to its capabilities. One of the raisons d'être for Star is that physical objects do not provide people with enough power to manage the increasing complexity of the 'information age.' For example, we can take advantage of the computer's ability to search rapidly by providing a search function for its electronic file drawers, thus helping to solve the long–standing problem of lost files."

(David Smith, Charles Irby, Ralph Kimball, Bill Verplank and Eric Harslem, 1982)

David Canfield Smith, Charles Irby, Ralph Kimball, Bill Verplank and Eric Harslem (1982). "Designing the Star User Interface: The Star user interface adheres rigorously to a small set of principles designed to make the system seem friendly by simplifying the human–machine interface." Reprinted from Byte, issue 4/1982, pp. 242–282.

1
2
3

4

TAGS

1982 • alien environment • analogy • Bill Verplank • black and white • Byte (magazine) • Charles Irby • common metaphorscomputer history • computer system • conceptual model • concrete objects • David Smith • desktop metaphor • digital analogues • display screen • electronic mail • electronic metaphor • electronic world • Eric Harslem • familiar analogies • familiarityfiles and foldersfiling cabinetfolderGUIinformation ageinterface metaphor • international mail • intraoffice mail • mailbox • memo • office environment • office metaphorold-world equivalents • operational behaviour • physical metaphor • physical world • Ralph Kimball • resemblanceskeuomorphismvisual analogyvisual metaphorWYSIWYG • Xerox Corporation • Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)Xerox PARCXerox Star PC

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 OCTOBER 2013

Skeuomorphism has fallen out of favour in recent years

"Skeuomorphism has fallen out of favour in recent years, and is almost regarded as a dirty word by many in the design community. Apple this week announced a radical revision to the approach at its annual developer conference in California and its new mobile operating system will ditch real world visual metaphors in favour of a stripped–back minimalist approach. ... The podcast app recently lost its reel–to–reel tape deck look, a reference which would have been lost on many younger smartphone users. Not everyone will be pleased with the decision though, and some regret the decline of the skeuomorph."

(Sam Judah, 3 June 2013, BBC News Magazine)

1

TAGS

Apple OS • binder • clipboard • de-facto symbol • desktop metaphor • envelope • golden compass • GUIinterface designinterface metaphor • jotting paper • leather-bound desk blotter • mimesismimicry • mobile operating system • nostalgic yearningoffice metaphorold-world equivalentsreal world objectsreal world visual metaphor • red wax seal • representational systemsresemblancescissorsskeuomorphskeuomorphic designskeuomorphismsoftware programme • sticky notes • trash canUIvisual metaphor • Windows 7

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 JUNE 2013

BioShock Infinite: How Four Women Became One

The developer of BioShock Infinite "gives us a behind–the–scenes look at the voice (Courtnee Draper), body (Heather Gordon), brain (Amanda Jeffrey), and face (Anna Moleva) behind Booker DeWeitt's in–game companion, Elizabeth."

(Chad Lakkis, 20 March 2013)

1
2

TAGS

2013 • 2K Games • 3D scanning • Amanda Jeffrey • Anna Moleva • appearancebehind-the-scenes • BioShock Infinite • breathe life intocharacter builderscharacter compositecharacter designcompositescosplay • Courtnee Draper • Elizabeth (character) • empathetic charactersfirst-person point of view • Heather Gordon • Irrational Games • Ken Levine • lifelikemimicryperformance capturerealistic representationresemblancevideo gamevisual depictionvoice actors

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 JUNE 2011

Japan Has Made The Human Pop Star Obsolete

"Meet Eguchi Aimi. She's the newest member of Japan's teen girl group, AKB48. Like the rest of her 47 band mates, she's the embodiment of the a tween pop idol. She's got a sugary voice, perfect hair, shiny skin, and an unrelenting desire to plug consumer products, namely Glico's Ice No Mi candy. She appeared in the June 13 issue of Shukan Playboy magazine, where she was described as the 'Ultimate Love Bomb.' Aimi's star was rising fast.

What makes her special is that she doesn't exist. Glico now admits that Aimi is actually a computer generated image created by mashing up the features of AKB48's other members.

The band and the candy company struggled to pass Aimi off as an actual organism, but some of the band's obsessive fans had raised suspicions when they noticed the uncanny resemblance to other members. Others noticed a somewhat eerie quality to her movements."

(Vincent Trivett, 24 June 2011, Business Insider)

1
2

TAGS

20113D visualisation • AKB48 • Akihabara • appearance • Atsuko Maeda • authenticityavatarbotCGI actorscharacter compositeco-optiondigital actors • Eguchi Aimi • girl group • Ice No Mi • J-PopJapanlifelikemanufactured band • Mariko Shinoda • mash-up • Mayu Watanabe • Minami Takahashi • pop group • pop idol • pop star • Prometheus (mythology)puppetrealistic representationresemblancesimulacrasynthespian • teenage culture • teenage girls • Tomomi Itano • tween pop idol • virtual charactervirtual girlvirtual peoplevisual depictionvisual elements combined • Yukari Sasaki • Yuko Oshima

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
31 DECEMBER 2003

Becoming: Resemblance, Relationships

"Darwin himself treats the evolutionist theme of kinship and the naturalist theme of the sum and value of differences or resemblances as very separate things: groups that are equally related can display highly variable degrees of difference with respect to the ancestor. Precisely because natural history is concerned primarily with the sum and value of differences, it can conceive of progressions and regressions, continuities and major breaks, but not an evolution in the strict sense, in other words, the possibility of a descent the degree's of modification of which depend on external conditions. Natural history can think only in terms of relationships (between A and B), not in terms of production (from A to x)."
(Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, 2004)

Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, 2004. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.

Sign-In

Sign-In to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.