Revisiting Graspable User Interfaces

A Design Process for Developing User Interface Metaphors
  • Mandy Keck
  • Esther Lapczyna
  • Rainer Groh
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8517)


The use of metaphors can support the understanding of novel interfaces approaches and increase the ease of use. But the design of novel holistic and adaptable metaphors is still challenging for interface designers. While most literature provides no systematic instruction for metaphor design or recommend to use a repertoire of known metaphors, we present a method that focuses on the generation of new metaphors based on the analysis and abstraction of everyday objects and the separate analysis of the given problem domain. Several methods of the field of human-computer interaction and traditional design support these analyzes. The methods presented in this paper are suitable especially for graspable user interfaces and illustrated by examples from several workshops.


Metaphor design Interface design method Rapid prototyping Operation metaphor Graspable User Interfaces 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Norman, D.A.: Introduction to This Special Section on Beauty, Goodness, and Usability. Human-Computer Interaction 19(4), 311–318 (2004)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lakoff, G., Johnson, M.: Metaphors We Live By. The University of Chicago Press (1980)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Marcus, A.: Metaphor design in user interfaces. Journal of Computer Documentation 22, 43–57 (1998)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carroll, J.M., Thomas, J.C.: Metaphor and the cognitive representations of computing systems. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics 12(2), 107–116 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Neale, D.C., Carroll, J.M.: The Role of Metaphors in User Interface Design. In: Helander, M., Landauer, T.K., Prabhu, P. (eds.) Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd revised edn. Elsevier Science, B.V., The Hague (1997)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cooper, A.: The myth of metaphor. published in Visual Basis Programmer’s Journal 5(6) (1995)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Smith, R.B.: Experiences with the alternate Reality Kit – An example of the tension between Realism and Magic. In: Proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems and Graphical Interfaces, Toronto (1987)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Barr, P., Biddle, R., Noble, J.: A taxonomy of user-interface metaphors. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI-NZ Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction (CHINZ 2002), pp. 25–30. ACM, New York (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Morville, P., Rosenfeld, L.: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites, 3rd edn. O’Reilly Media (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Groh, R., Gründer, T., Keck, M.: Production of Metaphors for Graspable User Interfaces (Metaphernproduktion für Begreifbare Benutzerschnittstellen). i-com: Zeitschrift für interaktive und kooperative Medien 11(2) (2012)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lim, Y., Stolterman, E., Jung, H., Donaldson, J.: Interaction Gestalt and the Design of Aesthetic Interactions. In: Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, pp. S. 239–S. 254. ACM, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jung, H., Stolterman, E.: Digital Form and Materiality: Propositions for a New Approach to Interaction Design Research. In: Proceedings of the 7th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Making Sense Through Design, pp. S. 645–S. 654. ACM, New York (2012)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wiberg, M., Ishii, H., Dourish, P., Vallgårda, A., Kerridge, T., Sundström, P., Rosner, D., Rolston, M.: Materiality matters—experience materials. Interactions 20(2), 54–57 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Flusser, V.: Into the universe of technical images. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Arnheim, R.: Art and visual perception: a psychology of the creative eye. University of California Press, Berkeley (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Metzger, W.: Laws of seeing. MIT Press, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dondis, D.A.: A primer of visual literacy. MIT Press, Cambridge (1973)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lupton, E., Miller, J.A.: The ABCs of triangle, square and circle - the Bauhaus and design theory. Princeton Architectural Press, Princeton (1993)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jenny, P.: Drawing techniques. Princeton Architectural Press, New York (2012)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lupton, E.: Graphic design thinking: beyond brainstorming. Princeton Architectural Press, New York (2011)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Brade, M., Kammer, D., Keck, M., Groh, R.: Immersive Data Grasping Using the eXplore Table. In: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, Embodied Interaction, Funchal, Portugal (2011)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Peschke, J., Göbel, F., Gründer, T., Keck, M., Kammer, D., Groh, R.: DepthTouch: An Elastic Surface for Tangible Computing. In: Proceedings of the International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces, New York, NY, USA, pp. S. 770–S. 771 (2012)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Eschrich, B., Knöfel, A., Gründer, T., Keck, M., Groh, R.: A Shape-Oriented Approach for Creating Novel Tangible Interfaces. In: Mensch & Computer 2013: Interaktive Vielfalt. Oldenbourg Verlag, Bremen (2013)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Leborg, C.: Visual grammar, 1st English edn. Princeton Architectural Press, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ebenreuter, N., Geerts, M.: Design Strategy: Towards an Understanding of Different Methods and Perspectives. In: Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, pp. 51:1–51:8. ACM, New York (2011)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Croy, P.: Signs and their message. Musterschmidt, Göttingen (1972)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Frutiger, A.: Signs and symbols: their design and meaning. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1989)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hofmann, A.: Graphic Design Manual. Principles and Practice. Niggli, Niederteufen (1988)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Gerstner, K.: Designing programmes. Müller, Baden (2007)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ruder, E.: Typography. Niggli, Sulgen (1996)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Zwicky, F.: Discovery, Invention, Research Through the Morphological Approach, 1st american edn. MacMillan (1969)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sears, A., Jacko, J.A.: Human-Computer Interaction: Development Process. RC Press, Boca Raton (2009)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Wiethoff, A., Schneider, H., Rohs, M., Butz, A., Greenberg, S.: Sketch-a-TUI: Low Cost Prototyping of Tangible Interactions Using Cardboard and Conductive Ink. In: Proceedings of the 6th International ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2012, Kingston, Canada, February 19-22 (2012)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kammer, D., Schmidt, D., Keck, M., Groh, R.: Developing Mobile Interface Metaphors and Gestures. In: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Human-computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Companion, MobileHCI 2013. ACM, New York (2013)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Bonanni, L., Ishii, H.: Stop-motion prototyping for tangible interfaces. In: 3rd International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction, pp. 315–316 (2009)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Knöfel, A., Koalick, G., Lapczyna, E., Groh, R.: Pimp your prototype. In: Proc. 5th International Scientific Conference on Print; Media Technology, pp. 131–136. VWB - Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, Chemnitz (2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mandy Keck
    • 1
  • Esther Lapczyna
    • 1
  • Rainer Groh
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair of Media DesignTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

Personalised recommendations