Skeuomorphism

A skeuomorph or skeuomorphism is a design element of a product that imitates design elements that were functionally necessary in the original product design, but which have become ornamental in the new design. – Wikipedia.

Look it’s just like torn paper!

From the outset of iOS Apple have applied this design principle. Address Book looks like it’s older paper brother and the same can be said for Calendar app on the Mac to name but two. This has been much maligned it would seem and with the departure of Scott Forstall in an Apple re-shuffle which sees Sir Jonny Ive take over the software design as well as that of the hardware. It may become a thing of the past.

I am torn (like the pages of my electronic calendar) I am geek enough to want my computer things to look computery and shiny. My Mac for example always boots in Verbose mode, meaning it looks like an old Windows machine booting from DOS (for practical reasons I like to see whats going on). However the folksy me that likes to sit in a big jumper with fluffy slippers (ok I have not got fluffy slippers, but they are there in my head) and curl up and watch a movie, likes the fact that there is an App that looks like Post it notes (Stickies) for note taking.

The skeumorph approach I believe played a huge part in getting those who weren’t geeks or in the Apple family to make the switch from other platforms. It’s much easier to say to Grandma that the Address Book application is the one that looks like the one that has been in her handbag since 1948. It’s easier for Grandma to understand that, and not be frightened by it, and embrace the technology.

Many of us have shown people how to do things electronically only to return later and see them bravely soldiering on with pen and paper. Tech is worthless if it is not accessible. Whilst I hold no fear that Sir Jonny won’t come up with a wonderful design for iOS OSX or iOS11 whatever it be called, I do fear that if he adopts the minimalist design he has for his hardware in the world of software, it will be a step backwards for the masses

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Skeuomorphism

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