The Metaphors of Virtual Worlds

How do people make sense of a novel situation, such as engaging with a media product they’ve never used before?  If that media product is a virtual world, then it appears people may make a bridge between the virtual and the physical by using metaphors to compare their experiences in the virtual world to those in the physical world.  Drawing on their physical world experiences helped the participants of my Virtual Worlds Experiment from Roskilde University to understand the virtual entities they were engaging with and the activities they were performing in the virtual world.  Understanding people’s metaphors can help us aid designers of virtual worlds in producing spaces/places that will make people want to come back to for more.

Some of the results in how people used metaphors to make sense of the virtual worlds.
Some of the results in how people used metaphors to make sense of the virtual worlds.

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