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.

2. The word “flat” has come up a lot.

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

4. And more like this…

5. Because Apple pioneered the tech skeuomorph…

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!

7. And it continued to evolve the concept.

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

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

(Pretty much everyone.)

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

10. In some cases, skeuomorphs interfere with utility.

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

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

12. And the future of skeuomorphs is hotly contested.

Among, you know, nerds.

13. Because some are ridiculous.

14. But they’re everywhere!

15. Paper embellishments…

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

16. Pretend store racks…

17. Wood and stitching details…

18. And intentional clutter.

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.

20. What do you think?

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