Re: Do we need a common visual metaphor?

Peter Kennard (
Fri, 10 Jun 1994 18:33:28 -0700 (PDT)

> ... (common visual metophors etc)
> I only question whether my conception of navigation spaces is completely
> off-base or absolutely necessary....

No doubt commonly understood elements in *any* medium are the
esscence of it's ability to be part of a human language. Whether we *need*
to *impose* one on anybody is really to get a little out of our domain.
Suggest might be the more appropriate ideal. Trash cans in *reality* have
come to look a certain way. An umbrella stand that looks like a trash can
is likely to be confusing and get filled with trash proving somewhat
unuseful or inconvenient. Most people will then likely get something that
suggests it's purpose. Even so we are dealing with a new set of industrial
design problems and there is likely to be a multiplicity of forms and
possible design solutions for just about every purpose. What is needed is a
stable lower level set of abilities that many many competing minds
can make use of. They can all design their own way to do things and trade
them with others because of the standard. The inclination of people is to
use what they understand and can discuss with others -- naturally leading to
a benevolent evolution of design forms and metaphor just as it has in
the real world.

It is up to us as early on designers to suggest some potential
starting places, and avoid imposing restrictions on what is possible.