Probing metaphors in user narratives to inform design process

Sen Himaki E., Merzali Celikoglu Ö., Krippendorff K.

Design Studies, vol.90, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 90
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.destud.2024.101238
  • Journal Name: Design Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Periodicals Index Online, Art Abstracts, Art Index, Art Source, Compendex, Design & Applied Arts Index, INSPEC
  • Keywords: design methods, design research, idea generation, metaphor, metaphor analysis, user-centred design
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study explores how metaphors from users' worlds can be incorporated into design to facilitate user-centred design processes. Through a two-stage data generation process and following qualitative content analyses, we investigate how designers utilise user metaphors in idea generation. For data generation, we collected narratives rich in metaphors from a particular user group and asked 13 designers to make sense of these narratives through metaphor analysis. As a result, we identified useful user metaphor categories, how designers engage with them, and their correlation with particular design outcomes. Our findings reveal that employing metaphor analysis empowers designers to gain an in depth understanding of user perceptions and behaviours, and supports their idea generation processes towards enhancing user experiences in diverse ways.