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User Interface Design for Programmers by JOEL SPOLSKY

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CHAPTER5Broken Metaphors

Remember the briefcase from Windows 95? (See Figure 5-1.) That cute little icon that occupied a square inch or so on everybody's desktop for a few years until Microsoft realized that nobody wanted one? Nobody wanted one because it was a broken metaphor. It was supposed to be a "briefcase" where you put files to take home. But when you took the files home, you still had to put them on a floppy disk. So, do you put them in the briefcase or on a floppy disk? I'm not sure. I never could get it to work.

FIGURE 5-1

image Windows' unloved briefcase

A metaphor badly chosen is worse than no metaphor at all. Unfortunately, ...

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