Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Sep 2012 20:28 UTC
Apple Ah, skeuomorphism - my favourite punching bag. Austin Carr has spoken to former Apple designers and people within the company, and they're all confirming there's a rift within Cupertino between people who want to move away from skeuomorphism, and people who want to retain it as much as possible, and even want to expand it. Since I've long hoped for Apple to ditch this "visual masturbation", as one former Apple designer calls it, I'm happy to learn not the entire company supports skeuomorphism.
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Speaking of
by Nelson on Tue 11th Sep 2012 20:58 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Check this website out http://skeu.it/ and weap. This has got to stop.

Reply Score: 12

RE: Speaking of
by Drumhellar on Tue 11th Sep 2012 21:16 UTC in reply to "Speaking of"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

That is just awesome.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Speaking of
by Luminair on Wed 12th Sep 2012 00:16 UTC in reply to "Speaking of"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

this is a really good example of how crazy the people who talk about "skeuomorphism" are. they don't reflect the normal brain at all. truly deranged.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Speaking of
by MOS6510 on Wed 12th Sep 2012 07:27 UTC in reply to "Speaking of"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

This page convinced me, I'm all for skeuomorphism!

Reply Score: 4

RE: Speaking of
by quackalist on Wed 12th Sep 2012 18:11 UTC in reply to "Speaking of"
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

Meh, however..."The iPHONE 5 UNDERMINES western DEMOCRACY: 5 reasons why
Owning one will be the badge of an utter fool"
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/12/iphone_five_reasons/

might as well get it in early.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Speaking of
by Soulbender on Sun 16th Sep 2012 08:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Speaking of"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

2. No swappable battery


Heh. That's like having a car where you can't refuel on you own and you'll need to have it towed to the closest vendor gas station if you run out of gas. Closest being hundreds of miles away, if you're lucky.
No seriously, you can't easily change the battery?

3. No memory card slot

Awesome, welcome to 1995.

Reply Score: 2

Agreed
by Drunkula on Tue 11th Sep 2012 21:01 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

Not so much that I like Metro but when skeumorphism helps that's okay. But not to the point of visual masturbation. Best way to put it...

Reply Score: 5

skeuomorphism should be abandoned
by markus on Tue 11th Sep 2012 21:14 UTC
markus
Member since:
2006-01-14

There are concepts like flipping a page (with gestures) where skeuomorphism may work, but when I first saw calendar or address book in Lion I just thought that it is the most ugly piece of UI I ever!
Young generations will grow up without traditional (paper) calendars or address books, so there is absolutely no need to mimic these.
When I see the latest OS releases from Apple I always feel the same:
- most times easy to learn
- but not easy to use (no short cuts, wrong assumptions about how power users are working)
In the old days the UI balance from Apple was much better.

Reply Score: 1

Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

There are concepts like flipping a page (with gestures) where skeuomorphism may work

No, not even that. Flip back and the analogy falls apart (in a book, does flipping right the right-hand page brings back the left-hand page?). It also muddles the message that a digital book is not a real one, it has many digital-only features, such as the ability to resize and change fonts.

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Not to mention that all those animations and other bling bling are sucking ever more power when one is running battery. While i don't care for the metro UI I can see why they got rid of Aero, first thing I did on my netbook was kill the thing and you can tell a difference as far as how long the battery lasts.

To me the best way to look at UI design is this: Does this make it easier and quicker for the user? Does this give an actual benefit to the user and help them perform a task? if the answer to any of the above is no? Toss it.

Reply Score: 2

iCandy
by tomz on Tue 11th Sep 2012 22:02 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

Originally Mac OSX v. Windoz was easy. The animations and apparent glitz or bling on Macs indicate something - were useful while on windoz were not relevant.

Now Apple is doing irrelevant junk.

The kwe question is does a paradigm make things significantly easier or is just eye-candy that eats resources.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by gan17
by gan17 on Tue 11th Sep 2012 22:05 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

I think this whole Skeumorphist thing might have been the reason the App Store got so big so fast. Apple gave devs and designers free-reign with regards to looks (possibly to compensate for other restrictions they placed, I dunno), and this is what you got.

Not that I support the idea or anything. I hate all this inconsistency. So much so that, now that I use Android, I've limited myself to using Holo themed apps exclusively as much as possible (games and some Autodesk software being the only exception).

Forget about apps. Just do a comparo between Google Now and Siri. Disregard the voice detection and accuracy of results for a moment, and just concentrate on the way each pulls up their results. Google Now gets the consistency points with results either via cards or Google's search. On iOS, it's all over the place. Yahoo weather widgets, Google search results, Wolfram Alpha paper for calculations, some hideous clock widget with rounded edges for time, sports results in sharp-edged cards, etc. For a company that claims to be design-oriented, this lack of consistency is downright abysmal.

Whatever this rift is about, I sure hope the side that wins brings a far more consistent UI experience. I'm not asking for terminals everywhere (though that would be awesome in its own way), but at least make them stop being so damn tacky.

Edited 2012-09-11 22:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by gan17
by Radio on Wed 12th Sep 2012 07:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by gan17"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

I think this whole Skeumorphist thing might have been the reason the App Store got so big so fast.

Nope. Skeumorphism was not that much pervasive in the beginning os iOS. It sticked to metallic and plasticky textures which were:
1)cohesive all across the OS;
2)cohesive with the hardware design of the whole Apple brand, stores and accessories included.

Reply Score: 2

I don't get it...
by thavith_osn on Tue 11th Sep 2012 22:46 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

NB: My argument below is on good design where form and function are equal.

WTF does it matter!

Your app has a leather look or wooden look or notepad look or whatever.

Designers cannot win, some will opt for real world look and feel, some will want a more abstract design.

What I do like about visual masturbation is someone who has never used the system before can get an idea of what the "object" in question does (if done right).

The real world gives us cues, so why not use them.

I do agree that if the design gets in the way of function then I have an issue, but if all things are equal, who gives a #@$%

Personally, I don't care, if the app works and is easy to use and understand, then I'm happy.

iCal is very easy to use and understand, I have 0 problems with it.

Reply Score: 4

RE: I don't get it...
by _txf_ on Wed 12th Sep 2012 08:54 UTC in reply to "I don't get it..."
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

iCal is very easy to use and understand, I have 0 problems with it.


It works, Except for the fact that it doesn't even look like real leather.

It just looks like somebody took a Sh*t over the ui

Edited 2012-09-12 08:54 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I don't get it...
by MOS6510 on Wed 12th Sep 2012 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE: I don't get it..."
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I had to launch iCal to see what leather you were talking about.

Personally I don't care much for fake leather or skeuomorphism, partly because I don't even see it. My eyes and brain have adapted to only see and process what I need and ignore the rest, like skeuomorphism, ads or unimportant details.

This makes me wonder, if someone use iCal, I mean really use it and not just launch 'n' look, is this fake leather stuff really that eye catching and distracting? It's just a small bar with a few buttons, does this really sabotage your productivity?

Much more important, for me, is the menubar and it's always at the top and it's always pretty consistent in its layout. If this was molded in to some skeuomorphism that would be annoying, but it isn't.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I don't get it...
by _txf_ on Wed 12th Sep 2012 14:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I don't get it..."
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

This makes me wonder, if someone use iCal, I mean really use it and not just launch 'n' look, is this fake leather stuff really that eye catching and distracting? It's just a small bar with a few buttons, does this really sabotage your productivity?


In the grand scale it matters very little. But it is amazing that they took the time to uglify something that was perfectly usable and neutral before. It does boggle the mind that somebody at Apple compared the two and said "yes, I'll go with the turd, it looks better".

I replaced the graphical elements with fixed versions.There are colours that I like and perfectly neutral don't think anybody can claim that standard grey is ugly, but that brown probably isn't the favourite of many people. I've yet to talk to anybody prefers the faux leather to the old chrome.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: I don't get it...
by MOS6510 on Wed 12th Sep 2012 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I don't get it..."
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I can disagree with that. It is indeed amazing that, I assume, a group of people decided this was the way to go.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I don't get it...
by No it isnt on Wed 12th Sep 2012 16:22 UTC in reply to "I don't get it..."
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

It matters the moment the secondary invention (iCal) has replaced the primary invention (the physical calendar): every function is a photo-realistic imitation of something the user has never been acquainted with.

There's a reason why Apple invented the red stylised handset as the 'reject call' button instead of using a photorealistic rendering of a 1970s era phone with the handset resting on the phone itself: red is commonly used as a stop signal, whereas no one uses a 1970s era phone any more. Language is symbolic, not imitative. Imitations of things that don't exist are meaningless to a user; symbolic representations of actual functions are not.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I don't get it...
by _txf_ on Wed 12th Sep 2012 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE: I don't get it..."
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

There's a reason why Apple invented the red stylised handset as the 'reject call' button


They "invented it"....

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: I don't get it...
by smashIt on Wed 12th Sep 2012 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I don't get it..."
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

just read his statement and his nick in a row ;)

a reason why Apple invented the red stylised handset

No it isnt

Reply Score: 3

Perceived quality?
by Gone fishing on Tue 11th Sep 2012 22:53 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

Apples are thin aluminium and shiny.

If you mimic high quality designer objects in the real world then you get perceived quality in the virtual world. Apples are thin aluminium and shiny, apple owners aspire to Ray-ban and Gucci.

Skeuomorphism is not about ease of use its about perceived quality

Reply Score: 4

skeuomorphic design is pointless
by abraxas on Tue 11th Sep 2012 23:56 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

The argument that skeuomorphic design is beneficial to new users is incredibly short sighted. Consistent look, feel, and function overall makes operating the entire system and all of its programs much easier. Learn exactly ONE paradigm that makes figuring everything else out easy compared to several completely different skeuomorphic designs. All of which have a vague resemblance to real objects but make none of the actual functional advantages of using software obvious.

Reply Score: 5

parrotjoe Member since:
2005-07-06

abraxas, I agree. I would go wild if OS X was a model of consistency with some of the other things mentioned like more and better keyboard commands, etc.

Reply Score: 1

MS-DOS like focus on typography? WTF?
by tidux on Wed 12th Sep 2012 00:45 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

MS-DOS had one fucking font for everything. Just how is that at all focusing on typography?

Reply Score: 8

im kinda indifferent to this stuff.
by graig on Wed 12th Sep 2012 01:19 UTC
graig
Member since:
2010-09-18

im ok with this stuff so long as it is tastefully done. it seems to make more sense design wise on an ipad. but the calendar and notes apps for the mac are fine with me.

Reply Score: 3

Not enough
by kwan_e on Wed 12th Sep 2012 01:52 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

A common argument in favour of Apple's fetish with skeuomorphism are Apple's sales figures. If it's such a problem, then why is it selling so well? This, of course, is a silly argument.


It seems the middle finger Apple is giving to its users is not skeuomorphic enough to be recognized as a middle finger yet.

Reply Score: 2

Truth is ...
by dvhh on Wed 12th Sep 2012 02:08 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

... That all this skeuomorphism is reminding me of the shareware age.

Reply Score: 3

On lipstick and pigs
by Soulbender on Wed 12th Sep 2012 04:05 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

"To me, it’s lipstick on a pig," says the source intimately familiar with Apple’s design process. "There’s no need to add glitter if the product can stand on its own."


....that's not what that metaphor means...

Reply Score: 4

Does anyone know how ..
by siraf72 on Wed 12th Sep 2012 05:38 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

.. Steve Jobs felt on the matter? Though I suppose it matters far more how Cook, Ive, and co feel on the matter.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Does anyone know how ..
by Radio on Wed 12th Sep 2012 07:31 UTC in reply to "Does anyone know how .."
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Read the article.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Does anyone know how ..
by siraf72 on Wed 12th Sep 2012 08:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Does anyone know how .."
siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

You are absolutely right. I should have RTFA. I guess that answers my question.

Edited 2012-09-12 08:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

vtolkov
Member since:
2006-07-26

... it would be really sad.

Reply Score: 0

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Wed 12th Sep 2012 08:08 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

Skeumorphism sounds to me like

"we don't think you can grasp the concept of an icon. We will make it to resemble something you may know, like a notepad, or whatever"

or:

"this is a notepad. We drew a lot of unneeded stuff around it, like leather finishing and such, because we don't think you get what the file concept in OS is".

I don't like it, don't know about you. Anyways, Apple has already been through some problems with this type of stuff, because some of their icons and such are no longer recognizable by younger audience of users, like a "diskette", or an oldschool microphone, or a tape in "record" applications.

Now, this is hilarious!

Reply Score: 2

Perhaps for no good reason...
by Tuishimi on Wed 12th Sep 2012 08:14 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...I think it is pretty hideous. Ditch it. Just make the UI/apps consistent in appearance, not "realistic" or divergent.

Reply Score: 2

Much ado about nothing
by wocowboy on Wed 12th Sep 2012 08:44 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

The author lost me at this line: "During my reporting for Fast Company's upcoming feature on design at Microsoft, set to go live this week as part of our October design issue, I spoke with a number of designers, Apple veterans, and industry insiders hostile towards Apple’s approach to software design."

The entire thesis of the article was against Apple's sense of design, since he only spoke to people that are "hostile". Based on this one statement, one has to assume he did not speak to anyone who supports this design method, or that there is no one who supports it, therefore the premise of a discussion fails.

Reply Score: 4

v Re:
by kurkosdr on Wed 12th Sep 2012 10:43 UTC
There's nothing wrong with skeu
by sbenitezb on Wed 12th Sep 2012 13:02 UTC
sbenitezb
Member since:
2005-07-22

Some people like it, some people don't. Nothing to see here.

Reply Score: 2

Nothing new
by BallmerKnowsBest on Wed 12th Sep 2012 18:35 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest
Member since:
2008-06-02

Remember the first release of OS X (and the Public Beta)? And remember the most visually-hideous part of it? No, not the overly-literal interpretation of "Aqua" (is that a scrollbar, or a jell-coated lozenge?). And no, not the impossible-to-disable animation effects that even Apple's then-top-of-line machines could barely handle.

Nope, the creme-de-la-crap was the hideously, hideously ugly photo-realistic depiction of a hard drive that they used as the disk volume icon. Not only was that a good sign that no one at Apple understood the connection between the words "icon" and "iconic" - but that they also failed to grasp the difference between volumes/partitions & physical disks. So not only was the icon pointless skeuomorphism (to the point of being LESS useful than the more abstract icons it replaced), it wasn't even accurate to boot.

When they backpedalled & removed that stupid icon in later releases (and stopped filling the screen with glossy blue blobs), it seemed like they'd actually learned their lesson. But now it's become clear that Apple's skeuomorphism fetish is like a case of herpes - the outbreaks can be treated, but it's never going to be truly cured.

If there is any rationale behind Apple's current skeuomorphism fetish, it boils down to this: tackiness is no longer tacky if it's high-res. And it's absolutely priceless to see Apple fanboys defend it by arguing "it's just aesthetics, it doesn't impact functionality"... especially from a group that's STILL repeating the same incredibly lame, overused "LOL playskool fisherprice LOL" jokes about XP.

Reply Score: 3

It made me wonder...
by cjlucas on Thu 13th Sep 2012 11:53 UTC
cjlucas
Member since:
2012-08-30

if the people who started to do Skeuomorphism in design for applications are either related or the same people who came up with the UI for third party device managers for Windows; for example, the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel or the RealTek Audio Manager. While these device managers are functional, they look alien to the rest of the system as though they were designed to fit into some custom theme that you'd run into on DeviantArt. Sometimes, they have a cool look and would like to be applied to the rest of the system, but most of the time I have this urge to close the device manager as quickly as possible. I guess that's the correlation I have in my mind: almost all of the Skeuomorph examples I've seen makes me want to close the application and not take it seriously.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It made me wonder...
by Chrispynutt on Fri 14th Sep 2012 12:55 UTC in reply to "It made me wonder..."
Chrispynutt Member since:
2012-03-14

I agree.

In a way Skeomorphism is just an excuse to do what ever the developer feels like.

Some of the jarring Metro-ish apps in the Play Store are just as bad as the brain dump Skeomorphic apps for Android.

Maybe Mr Forestal should produce some UI guidelines so at least the Skeu has some guidance.

Reply Score: 1

Speak for yourself
by Hussein on Thu 13th Sep 2012 14:21 UTC
Hussein
Member since:
2008-11-22

I like it

Reply Score: 0

A long time in coming
by Luke McCarthy on Fri 14th Sep 2012 11:33 UTC
Luke McCarthy
Member since:
2005-07-06

Mac OS started going off the rails with Mac OS X (actually it probably started earlier with QuickTime and iTunes). With every version it got progressively worse. It started with plastic shiny buttons, then they added some chrome, then they went all in with wood and other such garish themes. Mac OS 9 is much more beautiful to my eyes, even if it's a bit old-fashioned for modern tastes.

I really love Android's Holo (ICS) theme. It's a great example of modern, simple and tasteful design.

Reply Score: 1

I'm in the minority I guess?
by chiwaw on Sat 15th Sep 2012 21:42 UTC
chiwaw
Member since:
2006-02-05

I just don't care at all about skeuomorphism. I'm fine if there's none, and I'm fine if there is (as long as it doesn't look too amateurish). The skeuomorphism used by Apple for instance doesn't bother me one bit.
I just don't understand why people are so passionate on this topic.

Reply Score: 1