Bio: P.H. Westendorp is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: Figure of speech & Architecture Analysis & Design Language. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 3 publications receiving 7 citations.
TL;DR: In this special issue of Visible Language, Visual Metaphors, the role of metaphor and the authors' various understanding's of metaphor are discussed and Articles are introduced revealing their particular foundational position with regard to metaphor.
Abstract: Introducing this special issue, Visual Metaphors, the role of metaphor and our various understanding's of metaphor are discussed. Articles are introduced revealing their particular foundational position with regard to metaphor. The array of information applications covered by authors in this issue is broad, from italic type to nutrition diagrams, from computer interface to designers' abstraction processes. Examples with analyses regarding abstraction and reference are all part of the investigation. The increasing complexity of the world around us is reflected in the increasing complexity of our communication with this world. Finding our ways in complex surroundings, installing and using more and more complex technological products, software and services, traveling and interacting more and more internationally, meanwhile getting less and less direct personal help-it has all created massive quantities of instructions, from tooltips to guided tours to interactive tutorials to safety instruction cards to wayfinding signage systems. Complexity and communication only seem to increase more rapidly than ever, and there is no reason to believe that it will get less in the near future. Increasing complexity of the world around us not only implies increasing quantities of information; it also implies increasing complexity of the communication. Technical phrases, color-coded drawings, multimedia presentation, higher levels of abstraction, more symbolism, more metaphoric communication-all possibilities are applied to get the difficult messages across. Micro-electronics forced instructional graphic design to make giant leaps. Because of nternationalization, distant marketing, increase of functionalities per device, together with miniaturization of the devices and displays, verbal language can often not be applied or may not be the most efficient way to communicate. As a consequence, we see the application of visuals, instructive pictures, schemas, signs, icons, visual symbols and other visual tools, all part of a visual instructive language which is supposed to be understood internationally. Such visuals may be thought of as just direct representations of reality. But of course they are not. Every visual-however realistic-is an interpretation or abstraction of the reality it depicts. A photo may be only a selection of reality-and further be completely realistic. But technical drawings, pictograms, icons, schemas and other visualizations are always interpretations and abstractions from reality. In our view, metaphors are a specific type of abstraction and when we started conceptualizing this special issue of Visible Language, we thought of metaphors as abstractions in the ancient, traditional, literary way: a metaphor describes one thing in terms of another. That enables us to grasp abstract concepts, for instance the complex technological problems which we are confronted with when using modern electronic devices. Such metaphors are omnipresent in user interfaces of electronic devices, software, way signage systems, etc. We all know the famous examples: the wastebasket on the computer screen that indicates that we throw away a document or a program or whatever from the computer hard disk by dragging the icon into the wastebasket. Some may remember the only interesting alternative: the black hole on the NeXT computer. By far the most used-but rarely mentioned visual metaphor-is the arrow to indicate direction (see figures 1, 2 and 4). Another nice metaphor in the strict sense is the bird's feather on a gas pedal in a car to indicate: 'drive carefully' (see figure 3); the idea can be seen in various other car manuals. Metaphors in the wider, but still literary sense, figures of speech, are for example the pars pro toto (a kind of metonymy) (figure 5), a euphemism (figure 6). On the edge of being a metaphor in its widest meaning may be for instance the anacoluthon (figure 7)-if the anacoluthon can be a figure of speech at all. …
TL;DR: Analyzing common visual communications reveals consistencies that illuminate how people think as well as guide design; the process can be brought into the laboratory and accelerated.
Abstract: Depictive expressions of thought predate written language by thousands of years. They have evolved in communities through a kind of informal user testing that has refined them. Analyzing common visual communications reveals consistencies that illuminate how people think as well as guide design; the process can be brought into the laboratory and accelerated. Like language, visual communications abstract and schematize; unlike language, they use properties of the page (e.g., proximity and place: center, horizontal/up-down, vertical/left-right) and the marks on it (e.g., dots, lines, arrows, boxes, blobs, likenesses, symbols) to convey meanings. The visual expressions of these meanings (e.g., individual, category, order, relation, correspondence, continuum, hierarchy) have analogs in language, gesture, and especially in the patterns that are created when people design the world around them, arranging things into piles and rows and hierarchies and arrays, spatial-abstraction-action interconnections termed spractions. The designed world is a diagram.
••01 Jan 2005
TL;DR: The design of effective visualizations can be improved by insuring that the content and structure of the visualization corresponds to the content of the desired mental representation (Principle of Congruity).
Abstract: Visualizations are central to many tasks, including instruction, comprehension, and discovery in science. They serve to externalise thought, facilitating memory, information processing, collaboration and other human activities. They use external elements and spatial relations to convey spatial and metaphorically spatial elements and relations. The design of effective visualizations can be improved by insuring that the content and structure of the visualization corresponds to the content and structure of the desired mental representation (Principle of Congruity) and the content and structure of the visualization are readily and correctly perceived and understood (Principle of Apprehension). Visualizations easily convey structure; conveying process or function is more difficult. For conveying process, visualizations are enriched with diagrammatic elements such as lines, bars, and arrows, whose mathematical or abstract properties suggests meanings that are often understood in context. Although animated graphics are widely used to convey process, they are rarely if ever superior to informationally equivalent static graphics. Although animations use change in time to convey change in time, they frequently are too complex to be apprehended. Moreover, because people think of events over time as sequences of discrete steps, animations are not congruent with mental representations. Visualizations, animated or still, should explain, not merely show. Effective visualizations schematize scientific concepts to fit human perception and cognition.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that the three kinds of hypoicons can better be understood in the context of Peirce's sixty-six classes of signs and discuss the consequences of those descriptions to the debate about the order of determination of the 10 trichotomies that form those classes.
Abstract: In his 1903 Syllabus, Charles S. Peirce makes a distinction between icons and iconic signs, or hypoicons, and briefly introduces a division of the latter into images, diagrams, and metaphors. Peirce scholars have tried to make better sense of those concepts by understanding iconic signs in the context of the ten classes of signs described in the same Syllabus. We will argue, however, that the three kinds of hypoicons can better be understood in the context of Peirce's sixty-six classes of signs. We analyze examples of hypoicons taken from the field of information design, describing them in the framework of the sixty-six classes, and discuss the consequences of those descriptions to the debate about the order of determination of the 10 trichotomies that form those classes.
TL;DR: This work abstracts events, discrete units characterized by completion of goals and peaks of action, that express abstractions, categories, hierarchies, dimensions, and more, a circular process termed spraction.
Abstract: Life presents as a continuous multimodal barrage on all our senses. From that, we abstract events, discrete units characterized by completion of goals and peaks of action. Effective communication of sequences of events in explanations and narratives is similarly segmented, and linked globally by overall themes and locally by anaphora. Visuospatial explanations and narratives, notably diagrams, comics, and gestures, rely on congruity of mappings of elements and relations of ideas to space and marks in space. Just as we design visuospatial discourse, we design the world: Our design actions in space create diagrams in the world, patterns, piles, rows, one-to-one correspondences, and the like, that express abstractions, categories, hierarchies, dimensions, and more, a circular process termed spraction .
01 Jan 2002
TL;DR: A selection of the best photographs from around the world taken during the period of May 21-23, 1997.
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