Can creating new metaphors help us design new kinds of interfaces?
Could they even help us understand the world differently?


Inspiro is friendly SMS bot that helps you discover, contribute to and create interesting and fun metaphors to inspire new concepts for designers and other creatives or allow users in general to understand and visualize complex concepts in different ways.

Looking for some inspiration? Text Inspiro on +1 224 6287718!

Process for the project


Inspiration and Context

New Metaphors is an ongoing research topic at the Imaginaries Lab at the School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

Metaphors are important at multiple levels within interaction design—from the specifics of interface details, to wider societal imaginaries of technology and progress. Exploring alternative metaphors can be generative within the context of designing new forms of interaction or information visualisation, and for reframing problems at a more strategic level.

Image Courtesy: Dr. Dan Lockton

Image Courtesy: Dr. Dan Lockton

In its current form, it exits in the form of creativity workshops or as a very active Twitter bot.


Inspiro builds on some of the existing work done for the new metaphors twitter bot. At the moment it just throws an unusual randomly generated metaphor every half an hour. I wanted to make this more conversational so that the users of the bot can contribute to making new metaphors 

I'm interested in how through my bot I can create serendipitous moments of inspiration and conversation between the bot and the user + the user with other people. Hence, I want to still try and create a semi-random mash-up of images and idea/concept words but make it more informed through user feedback 



Building the bot’s personality

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Functionality Matrix

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Designing for effective conversations is easy hard!

We learnt about designing the process of effective conversations based on principles from Paul Pangaro and Hugh Dubberly. We also looked into Grice’s Cooperative Principle.

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Dialog - Personality - Structure


Building it out step-by-step

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Composite Image


Generating a new metaphor

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Development Process

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Deploying + Iteration

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Ongoing work—

  • Smoothen out conversation flow: Currently, the interaction works smoothly for the first interaction but I need to set-up the session variables to clear out once the conversation is over.

  • Allow for the bot to handle different kinds of responses using Dialog Flow.

  • Connect with a database to allow to record user responses on the metaphors which can be used for further research. 

  • Users may not always intentionally engage with the bot so I may want to add scheduled tasks to keep users engaged.

  • I also want to explore what form it can take on other platforms like Alexa show and perhaps integrating with Dribbble.

API’s, not scared of taking you on now!