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Which clippings match 'Skeuomorph' keyword pg.1 of 1
05 APRIL 2014

What is skeuomorphism?

Dan "O'Hara argues that, strictly speaking, the term skeuomorphism refers only to those vestigial elements in nature or artefact that survive from an original form, even though they are no longer required. At its broadest, this definition extends to the levers and dials in a modern aircraft cockpit, for example, which no longer connect to systems directly, but instead are merely inputs and outputs of a computer that actually controls things. Such controls are skeumorphs because they are holdovers from the days before computerised aircraft, and have been left in their original form for the benefit of pilots, who are used to them working in a particular way.

So can a digital depiction of something properly be called a skeuomorph? It is more accurate to refer to it as a visual metaphor that calls to mind a physical skeuomorph without really being one. The iPhone's notification panel, with its imitation linen effect, was not descended from an object that was once made of linen. The switch that, say, allows you to switch an iPhone into Airplane Mode is not an on–screen replacement for what used to be a physical switch. In the early days of graphical user interfaces, designers employed familiar devices, such as folders, trash cans and other objects commonplace in the office. The result was that operating systems ended up being littered with depictions of things that had never existed inside a digital device; the on–screen 'trash' icon is not the vestigial remnant of an actual trash can that was once part of the computer, which is why it is really a metaphor, not a skeumorph. (That said, as computer graphics became more detailed, the original blocky icons gave way to more detailed depictions of trash cans, folders and so forth, which are arguably skeuomorphs of visual metaphors.)"

(Glenn Fleishman, 25 June 2013, The Economist)

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TAGS

1889 • actual object • Apple • Apple iOS 7 • archaeologyauthenticitycomputer graphicscultural materialism • Dan OHara • digital depiction • familiar devices • faux leather • faux wood panelling • folder • Glenn Fleishman • graphical user interface • holdover • imitation • iOS 7 • metaphor • Microsoft Windows 8 • Microsoft Windows Phone 7 • nostalgiaobsolescence • on-screen replacement • on-screen textures • operating systemornamental designornamental form • physical skeuomorph • romanticism • Scott Forstall • skeumorph • skeuomorphskeuomorphic designskeuomorphismThe Economisttrash can • vestigial remnant • visual depictionvisual metaphor • visual representations • visual simulation • Windows 8 interface • Windows Phone 7 • wood panelling

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 OCTOBER 2013

Skeuomorphism has fallen out of favour in recent years

"Skeuomorphism has fallen out of favour in recent years, and is almost regarded as a dirty word by many in the design community. Apple this week announced a radical revision to the approach at its annual developer conference in California and its new mobile operating system will ditch real world visual metaphors in favour of a stripped–back minimalist approach. ... The podcast app recently lost its reel–to–reel tape deck look, a reference which would have been lost on many younger smartphone users. Not everyone will be pleased with the decision though, and some regret the decline of the skeuomorph."

(Sam Judah, 3 June 2013, BBC News Magazine)

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TAGS

Apple OS • binder • clipboard • de-facto symbol • desktop metaphor • envelope • golden compass • GUIinterface designinterface metaphor • jotting paper • leather-bound desk blotter • mimesismimicry • mobile operating system • nostalgic yearningoffice metaphorold-world equivalentsreal world objectsreal world visual metaphor • red wax seal • representational systemsresemblancescissorsskeuomorphskeuomorphic designskeuomorphismsoftware programme • sticky notes • trash canUIvisual metaphor • Windows 7

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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