An investigation on the role of multimodal metaphors in e‐feedback interfaces

Dimitrios Rigas (Faculty of Technology, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Abdulrhman Alharbi (Faculty of Technology, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 22 November 2011



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the usability (effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction) of e‐feedback interfaces. The experiment compares a traditional visual approach with a multimodal approach in order to determine the impact of multimodal metaphors upon the user's understanding, reasoning and engagement with the e‐feedback.


The empirical investigation involved visual (text with graphical illustrations) and multimodal (audio‐visual with expressive avatars and recorded speech) experimental e‐feedback platforms. Both experimental platforms provided the same e‐feedback but used different interaction metaphors to convey the information. The evaluation approach measured effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction.


The results showed that the multimodal approach increased usability in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and engagement of users with the e‐feedback. There is a very clear prima facie case that combining different communication metaphors to convey information involved in the e‐feedback simultaneously does not increase the information overload on users. This however was observed to be the case when the visual channel was used.


This paper introduces a unique approach that uses specific combinations of multimodal metaphors to communicate information about e‐feedback simultaneously. This approach increased the usability of e‐feedback and user's engagement in interfaces for e‐learning applications.



Rigas, D. and Alharbi, A. (2011), "An investigation on the role of multimodal metaphors in e‐feedback interfaces", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 263-270.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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