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>I'm arguing against *global* metaphors. No software 'desktop' that I've
>seen looks anything like the top of my desk. Computer calendars, clocks
>and files would be much better at their jobs if they weren't pretending
>to be the real thing.
The issue isn't whether the software desktop looks or acts like a desktop.
The issue is consistency and predictability. Once users grasp the "physics"
of your user interface, they can figure out a lot for themselves.
If you teach users the correspondence between elements in your user
interface and elements of their real-world situation, and if they can always
guess how the elements of your user interface behave, then task-based
documentation becomes extremely simple.
If users already know
* how to accomplish a task in the real world
* how the real world corresponds to elements of the user interface
* what happens when they manipulate elements of the user interface
there's nothing left for you to teach them about that task. ...RM