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Web Development Team

Technical Team

Works with client to obtain client's business objectives and to determine target audiences and audience needs. Business objectives and audience needs will guide decisions about signs and metaphors.

Creative Team

Designs and develops signs and metaphors for the site based on client and user needs. Creative roles use Human-Computer Interface guidelines, design judgment, and the latest tools in the creation of signs and metaphors.

Business Team

Provides technical expertise to implement signs and metaphors on the Web site. The technology underlying a Web site plays a supporting role in the storage and delivery of signs and metaphors.

Metaphor and media

When we grow up with a medium we do not need metaphors. None of us ever needed an explanation of how face-to-face communication [1] works, we simply lived its use. None of us ever needed an explanation of how a telephone works, what we can use it for, or what how we should behave when using one. We grew up watching others use telephones, made use of telephones ourselves, first in play, then for real if somewhat incompetently, later with a growing competence, and finally with sufficient facility that we simply assume its use and characteristics. It is only when we seek to understand new media, for instance, that we need metaphors. Metaphor, under such circumstances, is to understanding what a kickboard is to swimming, a convenient support that gets us started. A good metaphor uses the essential characteristics of a metaphoric referent to inform the essential characteristics of the unfamiliar subject. It provides a set of familiar signposts that help to make an unfamiliar territory initially comprehensible; to operate somewhat effectively in unfamiliar waters. The value of such "signpost" metaphors is limited.
The same kickboard that that provides convenient support when we are learning to swim becomes an encumbrance once we have learned how. Indeed, experienced swimmers often use kickboards as a "drag" that forces them to exercise harder. If the task of this paper was to introduce emerging electronic media using metaphor, the task would be straightforward.
The use of metaphor is much more detailed than can be satisfied by simple characteristic-oriented metaphors. Finding precedent for regulating new media in the rights and responsibilities associated with established media requires analysis that goes well beyond surface characteristics. We must be able to take are metaphors deep into the fundamental operation of our metaphoric media. Hence it is likely, especially given the new combinations of media characteristics that the computer enables, that no established medium will be entirely adequate to the job of describing the rights and responsibilities that should be associated with a new medium. It may be that, for at least some electronic media, there will be no substitute for the experience of directly participating in the medium.

The range of rights and responsibilities conventionally associated with media.
  1. the media roles in which these rights and responsibilities are vested.
  2. the range of emerging electronic (computer) media.
  3. a theoretical perspective, "medium as process" that describes five spheres of invention -- mediators, characteristics, uses, effects, and practices, which interact to create and reinvent a medium.
  4. the rather indirect relationship between the realm of metaphor (characteristics) and the realm of rights and responsibilities (practice).
  5. a formal typology of media, grounded in "medium as process" that describes the relationships between media in a "media space". It will be argued from theory and example that this media space describes both competitions between media that lead typologically similar media to adopt similar practices, and unexplored areas where highly distinctive media might evolve.
  6. six clusters of established media, including interactive media, art media, correspondence media, publishing media, telephonic media, and broadcast media.
  7. a single vector of computer media that stretches through previously unoccupied areas of media space between these clusters of established media. Most of these computer media flank, but cluster with, one or another of these established clusters.
  8. for each cluster, the associated roles, the rights and responsibilities associated with each role, the computer media currently associated with the cluster, and likely new computer mediated competitors to established media in that cluster.
  9. for computer conferencing, the associated roles, the rights and responsibilities associated with each role, and the computer media that are likely to join it in being highly distinct from established media.
  10. It will be concluded that, although most current computer media should be highly similar to their established within-cluster competitors in terms of roles, rights, and responsibilities, that there are at least some computer media, including computer conferences and electronic bulletin boards, that clearly differ from established media and must be evaluated on the basis of actual experience of the medium.

[1]Face-to-face interaction: Face-to-face interaction (face-to-face communication) is a concept in sociology, linguistics, media and communication describing social interaction carried out from one person to another without any mediating technology.