Articulating a Metaphor through User-Centered Design

Hector Moll-Carrillo, Matthew Marsh, IDEO

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 28, 1995


TabWorks book metaphor enhances the standard Windows user interface, providing an alternative way to organize applications and documents in a familiar, easy to use environment. The TabWorks interface was designed collaboratively by IDEO and XSoft and was based on a concept developed at Xerox PARC. This briefing describes how a user-centered approach affected the design of the TabWorks user interface: how the metaphor's visualization evolved and how interaction mechanisms were selected and designed.


Hector J. Moll-Carrillo has been designing user interfaces for the past seven years including interactive training applications, information kiosks and games, electronic documentation and testing applications, and interactive corporate/educational presentations. He has worked on interaction design for Macintosh and Windows environments, for products like Xerox TabWorks, as well as custom user interfaces for medical products, visual languages for future operating systems and consumer products like the Smith Corona LS40/42 Personal Labeler.

Before joining IDEO, Hector designed information visuals as Senior Artist for Computer Imaging and Graphics, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and later as a Multimedia Designer and Producer for Image Associates, in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has also been a freelance computer graphics consultant and an art teacher for children from kindergarten through the ninth grade.

Matthew Marsh has worked as a human factors consultant for the last seven years, providing ergonomics expertise to multi-disciplinary teams. Recently he has contributed towards development of medical, computer and telecommunications products. He is presently working on an interactive leisure device, an insulin delivery device and a text telephone for the hearing impaired.

Before joining IDEO, Matt was a senior designer at Davis Associates, an ergonomics design company in England. While there, he had responsibility for business development and was their principle consultant dealing with new legislation on working with Visual Display Units. In He has also worked extensively in transportation; trains, light rail systems and cars. Other work included systems design and analysis, control room design, computer interface design and product design.


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