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Lesson 1

Resources and Strategies for Signs and Metaphors

Signs and metaphors are still used as a strategy in the implementation of a web project. They can be a powerful tool for improving the user experience, making it easier for users to understand how to use a website and navigate its features.
Here are some examples of how signs and metaphors can be used in web design:
  1. Icons: Icons are a type of metaphor that use images to represent abstract concepts. For example, a shopping cart icon is used to represent the ability to add items to a purchase.
  2. Buttons: Buttons are another type of metaphor that use text or images to represent actions that users can take. For example, a "Submit" button represents the action of sending a form.
  3. Navigation menus: Navigation menus are used to help users find the different pages on a website. They can be structured using metaphors from the real world, such as a menu at a restaurant or a directory in a library.
  4. Error pages: Error pages can use metaphors to explain technical problems in a way that is easy for users to understand. For example, a 404 error page might use a metaphor of a lost person to explain that the requested page cannot be found.

In addition to these specific examples, signs and metaphors can also be used in more general ways to improve the overall user experience of a website. For example, a website that sells travel products might use imagery and language that evokes a sense of adventure and exploration. A website that sells financial products might use imagery and language that evokes a sense of security and trust.
When used effectively, signs and metaphors can make a website more user-friendly and engaging. They can also help to create a strong brand identity for a website. Here are some tips for using signs and metaphors effectively in web design:
  1. Choose metaphors that are relevant to your audience and the content of your website.
  2. Make sure that your metaphors are clear and easy to understand.
  3. Use metaphors consistently throughout your website.
  4. Avoid using too many metaphors, as this can be confusing for users.

Overall, signs and metaphors are a valuable tool that can be used to improve the user experience and overall design of a web project.

Resources and Strategies for Signs and Metaphors

Previously, you learned that the work on signs and metaphors begins with determining needs, and then moves through creation and evaluation.
This module discusses more about what happens during the creation process.
There are many resources and strategies that can aid you in the creation of signs and metaphors for a Web project. This section gives you an overview of the kinds of resources and strategies available to create signs and metaphors, including:
  1. Globalization of content and visuals
  2. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) standards
  3. Software
  4. Creating images for the Web
  5. Choosing type for the Web

Some clients will be more aware of these issues than others and will want to be involved in the strategizing and resource-gathering for making these types of decisions. Others may not be so aware of the variables in these issues, but will be appreciative of your professional methodology. When you complete this module, you should be able to:
  1. Describe how HCI concerns influence signs and metaphors
  2. Describe how HCI affects design of visual and editorial content
  3. Describe the challenges that inform designing for a global audience
  4. Describe constraints on creating images during design and development
  5. Describe the principles for using type effectively on the Web
  6. List and describe categories of software used for creating signs and metaphors
In the next lesson, you will build your knowledge about the roles that HCI and Usability play in the design of signs and metaphors.