The Effects of the Visual Metaphor in Determining Icon Efficacy

Authors: McDougall, S., Curry, M. and De Bruijn, O.

Conference: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 45th Annual Meeting: Visual Performance

Dates: 10 October 2001

Pages: 1590-1594

Publisher: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society


The visual metaphor lies at the heart of modern graphical user interfaces. The benefits ascribed to its use rest largely on the belief that pictorially realistic icons allow users to apply pre-existing world knowledge to the computer domain. Added visual realism, however, has also been associated with increased levels of visual complexity. This, in contrast, has been found to impair user performance. This paper discusses our recent investigations demonstrating that visually realistic icons can be designed without increasing their levels of visual complexity and attempts to provide an experimental basis for design practice.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Sine McDougall