Visual Interface Metaphors
Using interface metaphors can provide immense advantages which we have been able to see in most of the applications we use today. We are able to utilize the knowledge that has been pre-established in people, but why is that such an important factor? Interface metaphors are able to cater to a wide target audience as a form of inclusive design by utilizing generalized knowledge to bypass culture and language barriers. An example of this would be using a folder icon to access your data, alluding to the organization of information. From another perspective, interface metaphors can be used to target a niche audience by using imagery and terms that would relate to certain groups. An example would be an app using meme culture references to cater to a younger audience.
A problem that interface stereotypes induce is the generalization of universal perspectives that can have unintended sexist or racist undertones. In an app that documents menstrual cycle’s for women, an icon of a banana wrapped with a condom is used to insinuate protected sex which has received complaints because of the assumptions that it makes to heterosexual relationships and male-dominance in an app for women. Generalized interface metaphors also limit creative freedom as ambiguity decreases the effectiveness of the metaphor. This makes it difficult for an interface to stand out from a wide array of similar applications.