Use language to design a mental model.

Designing a mental model: Six Degrees – Why messages, files and people?.

I am in the process of designing a mental model for a metadata app I’m working on, and it is fascinating to think about the choices you have, and the way a mental model is closely related to language: the nouns and verbs you use to describe what is going on. I think I need to find some good books on linguistics. Any recommendations?

What do I call my “metadata”? “XFML map” or “metadata document”? Metaphors abound. “Connections” or “links” between topics? One of my best inventions I think so far on this is that each map has a “network”. Just saying that: …

A map has a network of connected maps around it

… explains a lot of the philosophy and the technical details of XFML. No further explanation. One word! Before I said that, you may not have known this thing, after I say it it is obvious. Questions will arise:

How is a map connected to other maps in its network? – Through connections between individual topics.”

The word “network” conjures images of connected maps, exactly how I want users to visualise this. Use language to design a mental model. Language, especially the categories and metaphors you choose, guides thinking. I’ve been reading Frank Herbert (again) – gotta be careful with that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s