Skeuomorphism has become a dirty word of late. One of its most eminent proponents, Scott Fortsall, has been effectively moved on from Apple. And now we have a (awesome) tumblr blog devoted to it’s most hideous and humorous efforts in website and app design.
Skeuomorphism at its worst, is excessive decoration that inhibits usability. Of all companies, Apple has been accused of propagating some of the more ugly examples in recent times. Mashable have even gone so far as to collate a hall of shame. Yup the same company whose than CEO Steve Jobs once said emphatically: > It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
To their credit, Microsoft have been unusually astute with the Windows 8 (Metro) UI; reigning in their apeing of Apple to not encumber themselves with self indulgent, textured metaphors. In particular the emphasis on beautiful typography has been lauded by many, including the Industrial Designers Society of America: > …without using tradition user interface conventions of windows and frames. Data becomes the visual elements and controls.
OK thats about as much approval for Microsoft I can stomach. At this late point I probably need point out the obvious that I’m not immune to its artificial charms (yup thats my textured ribbon acting as my current website logo). For more gratuitous skeuomorphism than you can poke an oddly leather stitched stick at please check out: Skeu It!
Much better reading on the topic:
- Will Apple’s Tacky Software-Design Philosophy Cause A Revolt?
- Skeuomorphism & Storytelling
- Why Firing Scott Forstall Means iOS Will Get A Lot Better
- Say Farewell: Apple’s Skeumorphism Hall of Shame