Crisp and clean, with no caffeine


Well-known member
I am a fan of the English language and the way people use it interests me. In describing things we often use words that don't describe the thing at all. This is especially noticeable when people are describing things that are kind of abstract, like sounds. Dirty, wet, foamy, ringing, a bag full of cats; none of those have anything to do with technically describing the sound an electric guitar can make, but I've seen them all used.

I see the same words used repeatedly here to describe the user interface for this forum. Words that have no technical association with the operations. Like, clean and light. You're describing your emotional response perhaps, but not an actual operation. When you click a thread title here the same thing happens that happens when you click a thread title in any other forum software. The page changes to display the thread. A new page doesn't load in your browser in a clean or light way, it just loads. Or people describing the experience on their vB forums in comparison to this one as klunky or painful.

The emotional description/reaction to technical things is interesting. To me, anyway.


Well-known member
This is a snappy thread Michael and I agree that we should use very descriptive words to describe vB but that tends to upset the Brisco spies that reside on this forum.


Active member
There are a lot of philosophical studies of language, and they are very interesting. I was just browsing a book at Barnes & Noble today called Metaphors We Live By, which explores how our methods of conceptualization are very much grounded in metaphor.

When we talk about software in an aesthetic manner, I find it interesting that most of the language we use is analogous to consumption: light, bloated, fresh, etc, etc...


Well-known member
That reminds me of an article on Cracked, that I can't find right now so I'll have to do it from memory: the reason that people respond to things that are glossy, shiny, sparkly, glassy and so on is due to the basic instinct of seeking clean fresh water.


XenForo developer
Staff member
A lot of user interface work is about identifying patterns of use and building your environment around that, rather than trying to educate users about how to use a system. If people find controls in places that feel natural to them, and the response of those controls is in line with or exceed their best expectations, the UI is a success and people will instantly feel at home and comfortable with it. I think it is this feeling of the UI being right and the perception that the software is in some way helping you by virtue of its straight-forwardness that elicits the emotional adjectives we have seen.


Well-known member
Agreed. And it's only natural to have an emotional response, since we are not machines.

Danny.VBT, I never made the consumption connection, but you are right on.