Generating guidelines for choosing appropriate metaphors in GUIs through the analysis of cross-cultural understanding of metaphorical icons: an explorative study with French and Turkish users on an e-learning site

Rizvanoglu K.

DIGITAL CREATIVITY, vol.21, no.3, pp.173-185, 2010 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14626268.2010.483686
  • Title of Journal : DIGITAL CREATIVITY
  • Page Numbers: pp.173-185


This paper investigates the influence of culture on understanding metaphors in GUIs and aims to generate guidelines for choosing appropriate metaphors for users from different cultures. Considering the dual-coded structure of compound metaphorical icons - composed of two major units: image and label - this study evaluates the main hypothesis that understanding of graphical and textual elements of the metaphors differs due to real world and language experiences of the users. A study on a French e-learning site - based on a spatial 'Campus' metaphor - was conducted with sixty-eight Turkish and French students. The qualitative study applied a multi-method approach including data collection instruments like background and icon recognition questionnaires and interview. Findings suggest differences in understanding across the two cultural groups and provide an in-depth analysis on the process of cross-cultural understanding of metaphors by focusing on the metaphorical inconsistencies. Through this analysis, guidelines are proposed for choosing metaphors in GUIs.