Last modified on April 19th, 2020
Advantages of Desktop Metaphor for a good interface – (HCI – Operating Systems)
Let’s begin the tutorial with the definition of metaphor.
Metaphors are a usability technique to simplify the user interface design. A metaphor is a figure of speech or an image that can explain an action or object in such a way that is not fully true but helps to understand and explain an idea.
A good operating system always follows metaphors.
When you carefully chose the metaphor, then, of course, it can assist a new user to understand the interface of the system. One of the most famous among metaphors is the desktop metaphor, files metaphor, and folders metaphor.
In computer science, the desktop metaphor is an interface metaphor that represents the unifying ideas utilized by graphical user interfaces. These ideas (metaphor) assist the users to interact easily with personal computers.
The desktop metaphor treats the personal computers monitor as if it is the highest of the user’s desk, upon that objects like documents icons menus and folders of documents are placed.
A document may be opened into a window, that represents a paper copy of the document placed on the desktop.
In operating systems, all applications on the desktop are known as desk accessories.
Similarly, in our daily life, a table or desk in our room represents the desktop and other things like books, calculator, pencils, teacup etc are the desktop accessories.
Advantages of desktop metaphor interface
1. It improves the overall usability of the system
It is user-friendly
2. Learnability improves. It means that the chance of the individual to find out the systems and product becomes easier.
3. It helps the users to understand the interface model
Popular metaphors for computers
The Computing Machine for the rest of us [Apple, 1984]
The Computing Machine as a window with objects like menu, icons, and buttons etc. [Xerox PARC, the ‘70s]
The Computing Machine as a Notebook [portable] [Kay, Xerox PARC]
The Computing Machine as a network between different other computers [Taylor, 1968]
The Computing Machine as a human pretender [Weizenbaum, ‘60s]
The Computing Machine working in place of traditional typewriters [Engelbart, 1963]
The Computing Machine as sketchpad [Sutherland, 1962]
The Computing Machine as an intelligent assistant [Licklider, 1957]
The Computing Machine as a big library [Memex, 1945]
The Computing Machine as a big calculator [ENIAC, 40s-50s]