Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Apr 2012 17:05 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Tobias Bjerrome Ahlin, an interface designer at Spotify, is a big believer in skeuomorphism. Whereas Apple is a strong advocate of this design concept, Microsoft is clearly moving in the exact opposite direction, while Android is in the process of moving away from skeuomorphism entirely, to a more digital experience. As a passionate hater of skeuomorphism in UIs, I found Ahlin's examples to be a bit weak.
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Comment by clasqm
by clasqm on Sat 21st Apr 2012 13:17 UTC
clasqm
Member since:
2010-09-23

You might be surprised just how skeumorphic your car actually is, Thom, even after we've been using them for a century. That surface in front of you that holds all the instruments? It's called a dashboard. The original dashboard was a simple plank on which the driver of a stagecoach would put his feet so he could brace himself when the horses made a dash. Sorry, my Dutch is too rusty to know if that works in your language.

Does your car have speedo and tach dials that move in a circular fashion? They WILL move clockwise as road or engine speed increases. Why? Because that's the way clocks have moved for hundreds of years. A decision made by a clock maker hundreds of years ago still influences designs today. Or do you have digital bars, well, they WILL extend from left to right to indicate an increase, never the other way round. Just like they did on steam trains in the nineteenth century.

Another example: luxury cars have long bonnets with the front wheels way out front. There's no real engineering reason for this. But that's where the horses used to be and rich people had more horses pulling their carriages than poor people. By all means try to market a luxury car with the wheels directly in front of the driver. It won't sell.

But back to computers. The real problem with skeumorphism is that it constantly runs into obsolescence. We see this in iPhoto for OSX, for example, which used to categorize photos into "rolls". As emulsion film cameras gave way to digital cameras, more and more consumers asked "what's a roll?" and Apple had to change it to "events". Strangely, the Photos app in iOS still refers to a camera roll.

The same thing will happen to agenda apps that resemble filofaxes. "a filo-what?" Skeumorphism is something that constantly needs to be redone as digital replaces the analog world it initially tries to imitate.

Now can we talk about the most glaring example of skeumorphsm of them all: the QWERTY keyboard?

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