Concrete or Abstract User Interface?

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9169)


This study investigates what kind of mental image a design triggers when a user views the user interface and whether that image would be matched with the image of the real object in the user’s mind.

In this study, a standard scenario to design a remote control for lighting and temperature controls was given to 200 students completing an HCI course at graduate and undergraduate levels. The given scenario asked each student to provide a low fidelity prototype of a suggested design within a timeframe of 10 min. These prototypes were then classified and grouped into either concrete or abstract designs.

The results of these investigations show that a majority of participants perceive abstract representations for their design rather than concrete: a depiction of a real light switch to represent turning lights on and off.


UI design Paradigms UI designer Mental image 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charles W. Davidson College of EngineeringSan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA

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