Skeuomorphic Interface Design

Misused metaphors can mislead users. Skeuomorphic software spoils futuristic hardware. A better effort would be to distill the idea to its absolute essence.

Adam Greenfield said, some iOS apps are too skeuomorphic; (of a derivative product) retaining ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original product:

Dig, however, the page-curl animation (beautifully rendered, but stick-in-the-craw wrong) in iBooks. Feast your eyes on the leatherette Executive Desk Blotter nonsense going on in Notes. Open up Calendar, with its twee spiral-bound conceit, and gaze into the face of Fear. What are these but misguided coddles, patronizing crutches, interactively horseless carriages?

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Designers can use metaphors to shape artifacts understandable. But it may fail. Misused metaphors can mislead users.

Nor should visual metaphors be confused with verbal analogies. For example, after the computer mouse - the device for pointing, clicking, and dragging objects on a computer screen - was well in use, a designer had the "great idea" of proposing a new shape that reproduced the shape of a real mouse, literalizing the word mouse. This added nothing to user understanding and likely distracted from its efficient use.

Klaus Krippendorff (2006). The Semantic Turn: A New Foundation for Design.

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Skeuomorphic software spoils futuristic hardware. Dane Petersen gave us a hint to redesign:

A better effort would be to distill the idea of a "note" to its absolute essence, and to extend it with the unique capabilities afforded by a mobile touch screen device.

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