Navigation is aided by the use of metaphors.
buttons are metaphors for physical buttons, perhaps of a cassette
player (fast forward, stop etc.) or a computer keyboard. Figure
7 shows four examples of website buttons that use physical metaphors.
(1) Shows a simple 3-D button array. (2) Shows a radio metaphor.
(3) Shows another radio, more stylised. (4) Shows buttons that look
like metal studs.
Websites that use tabs as a navigational device refer to the card
index as a metaphor. See Figure 8
shopping cart icon is associated with the act of placing your goods
into a trolley or bag. See Figure 9.
It should be noted that these icons are not uniform. There is a
disparity between shopping bag and shopping trolley (cart) icons.
Many e-commerce websites use either non-graphical links to the shopping
cart area, or do not use the metaphor at all.
Other associative metaphors include the house icon, which associates
the user with the home page. The magnifying glass is used as a metaphor
for the act of searching and is also an operating system metaphor.
Operating system metaphors
Metaphors borrowed from graphical user interfaces include the file
structure (perhaps used in a navigational environment), pull down
menus and icons (including the envelope for sending e-mail, and
a printer icon for printing a page). Web browsers also use some
of these metaphors.
Other metaphors include ways of denoting a list. These include
bullets, arrows or chevrons.