Apple’s Mobile Redesign And The Fate Of The Skeuomorph

Skeuomorphism: n. A design principle wherein an object is made to resemble another material.

1. Apple previewed its new iOS! Leaving a lot of design nerds talking.

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2. The word “flat” has come up a lot.

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3. It seems that your shiny new Apple products are going to start looking less like this…

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4. And more like this…

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5. Because Apple pioneered the tech skeuomorph…

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6. In order to teach people unfamiliar with computers how to use them.

You dispose of files in a digital “trash can,” just like the one next to your desk. And “files” go in “folders.” The novelty!

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7. And it continued to evolve the concept.

Giving us gaming apps that look like classic green-felted game boards.

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8. But now, people know how to use computers.

(Pretty much everyone.)

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9. And user interfaces don’t need to reference physical objects for us to understand them.

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10. In some cases, skeuomorphs interfere with utility.

These knobs are beautiful to look at, but annoying to use.

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11. So digital design trends are moving toward a flatter, simplistic look.

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12. And the future of skeuomorphs is hotly contested.

Among, you know, nerds.

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13. Because some are ridiculous.

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14. But they’re everywhere!

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15. Paper embellishments…

You may take TWO lines of notes. Just two. No more.

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16. Pretend store racks…

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17. Wood and stitching details…

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18. And intentional clutter.

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19. Yet the old design mantra remains: form should follow function.

When people know how to use technology, the visual analogies aren’t necessary. And what’s unnecessary doesn’t follow the principles of good design.

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20. What do you think?

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