Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Feb 2013 22:52 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces "If you're paying attention to what's going on in the design world, you've probably noticed the ongoing debate around skeuomorphism vs. flat design." Good overview of the subject from Sacha Greif. This is a very important point: "But where the main victim of realism is merely good taste, taking minimalism too far can have serious consequences on usability. Users have come to rely on a lot of subtle clues to make their way through an interface: buttons have slight gradients and rounded corners, form fields have a soft inner shadow, and navigation bars 'float' over the rest of the content. Remove all these clues, and you end up with a flat world where every element is suddenly placed at the same level, potentially leading to confusion: Is this a button, or simply a banner? Will anything happen if I tap this?"
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Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I would posit that there is a wide range of possibilities between skeumorphic and flat.

I hated os9 platnum, but that might be skewed by terrible memories of using and developing for the platform. I think brushed metal was the best look for Macs.

Reply Parent Score: 5

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

What is abstract about making a digital target area look like a physical button? What is abstract about making a virtual file visible as an icon that looks like a textual document? What is abstract about radio buttons? Checkboxes?

These are foundational, fundamental UI conventions that are 100%-rooted in skeuomorphism. Some people simple don't like it being pointed out because it destroys the argument that "skeuomorphism is bad."

Reply Parent Score: 3

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

What is abstract about making a digital target area look like a physical button? What is abstract about making a virtual file visible as an icon that looks like a textual document? What is abstract about radio buttons? Checkboxes?

These are foundational, fundamental UI conventions that are 100%-rooted in skeuomorphism. Some people simple don't like it being pointed out because it destroys the argument that "skeuomorphism is bad."


When people say "skeuomorphism is bad", what they're really saying is "woodgrain-patterned plastic cases on electronics are tacky".

Skeuomorphism an extreme on a continuum, as is flat design. The problem with flat design is it prevents affordances and the problem with skeuomorphism is that it impairs consistency.

Smart design sits in the middle. After all, too much of almost anything is a bad thing.

Also, really? Checkboxes are simply digital mimicks of things in the real world? I see them as almost identical digital copies. What if I used a Wacom Cintiqu to check a digital checkbox. It wouldn't be skeuomorphic, it'd be a checkbox on a digital page.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

The standard buttons in any gui toolkit I've ever seen look nothing like the physical buttons I've seen in my real life. So they have an aspect of abstraction built into their looks. Its a kinda but not really aspect.

Icons of written documents aren't bad, but the more you actually make them look like a mini photograph of a document, the worse they are. Usually less is more in this case. Microsoft has always used a giant W for Microsoft word documents, sometimes with a litte doc behind it. It works great. If you made it more skeumorphic it wouldn't be so great.

Radio buttons? Again the standard ones look nothing like real old school 1970's buttons that you'd find on radios.

Check boxes? I don't press them in real life. I can't press them again to remove the check mark I made.

Its a blend of skeumorphic and abstraction that we are used to on computers, and that's what works best, imho.

Edited 2013-02-13 17:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

I would posit that there is a wide range of possibilities between skeumorphic and flat.



That's pretty much what the article says if you read it.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yes, I did. I didn't think the poster I was responding to did.

Reply Parent Score: 2