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The shame of buttons: “Button-less” metaphors in CBL design
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Wong, A. F. L., Chen, D. T., & Hsu, J. F. (1999). The shame of buttons: “Button-less” metaphors in CBL design. In S. P. Loo (Ed.), Proceeds of the MERA-ERA Joint conference 1999: Educational Challenges in the New Millennium (pp. 1127-1131). Malacca, Malaysia.
The mechanism for navigation and interaction in CBL programs are often facilitated
by the use of buttons. Theoretically, these buttons should be compatible with the metaphor that
is being presented in the design. However, based on our observations, these buttons are often
not consistent within a CBL package itself and often do not match the content that they are
intended to present. For example, navigational buttons, such as “next” and “previous” are
compatible with the “Book” or “Stack” metaphors, because in such metaphors, these
relationships exist. However, if a house metaphor is used to connote different topic areas
behind different rooms, “next” and “previous” becomes meaningless. It would be more
metaphorically appropriate, if they are replaced by doors leading to rooms in the scene. Hence,
it is our contention that these distinct “buttons” can easily be made “button-less” by replacing
them with objects in the scene. To illustrate these points, we use different versions of student
CBL projects to show how designs based on the button metaphor can be easily converted into
“button-less” design formats. Finally, we highlight the importance of using appropriate and
consistent metaphors in CBL design and suggest some ways to help identify discrepancies in
the choice of metaphors.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the MERA-ERA Joint Conference held at Malacca, Malaysia from 1-3 December 1999
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers

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