It sounds like old truth that power of images boosts the Net. But not only the viewing of inline images (like at some kind of window shopping) but also the possibility of interacting with them in order to move around web or get some kind of direct response is important. We must agree that the interactivity of web images is the reason why we describe them as unique phenomena in the history of visual culture. However before we scrutinize web images we must contemplate GUI.
GUI is still based on images or, more precisely, pictorial signs used for representation and interaction with the user. There are several rules of good interface design and there the concept of metaphor is among the first. It is also possible to use the means of metaphor in order to better understand and interpret web images from semiotic point of view.
Generally web images is a metaphor not only of GUI because they are based on the same rules of interaction with users but also a metaphor of possibility of interaction between images and what they stand for.
The idea of an image that could enable interaction between its viewer and the object that the image stands for, obviously, is based upon the oldest archetypes of creation and it is one of the most stable cultural paradigms that we can find among archaic societies, whose members often use images for certain magic rites, as well as among our contemporary societies. However it is only the Internet images that have turned this paradigm into reality for the first time during the known history of mankind.
The interactive images on the Internet have become a metaphor of the interaction between the world of people and the world of their ideas.
(note: this is the summary of the original text in Latvian)