Virtual Versions of Real-World Objects

Although many of the visual elements in a modern user interface stand for actions, tasks, or ideas, some act as representations of their real-world versions. Unlike the pencil icon that is actually an edit button, the knob in a music application doesn’t represent the idea of a knob; instead, it represents a workable knob element that behaves like a real-world knob and is used for the same tasks as a real-world knob. Similarly, some e-book applications use a realistic depiction of an open book as their user interface. The book in this application doesn’t represent the idea of, say, reading; instead, it is meant to fulfill the exact same functions as an actual physical book.

Visual realism—reproducing a physical ...

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