Interface Metaphors

definition:  a conceptual model that has been developed to be similar in some ways to aspects of a physical entity, but that also has its own behaviors and properties

Interface metaphors combine the familiar with new concepts

Benefits:  a good orientation device
Drawbacks:  often the metaphor looks / feels like the physical entity, when they should just map the familiar with the unfamiliar so that users can learn the new (unfamiliar)

There is a growing opposition to metaphors because they can break the rules of the object they represent, they can be too constraining, can conflict with design principles, can cause misunderstanding of system functionality, can limit the designer's imagination, and can have overly literal translation of existing bad design.  See Metaphors description for more information.

2.4 p.55 – Interface metaphors (from Pat's notes):