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Are You a Skeuomorphist? (skeuomorpher in today's vernacular)

Retro POP Phone Handset for Mobile Devices and Tablets - RF CafeScientific American's David Pogue wrote an article titled "Out with the Real*," which laments the continued widespread use of skeuomorphs in software. According to Dictionary.com a skeuomorph is "an ornament or design on an object copied from a form of the object when made from another material or by other techniques." Familiar examples include animated book pages on e-readers that appear to be turning like a physical book, the desktop wastebasket icon, and clickable buttons for options. He argues that such an attachment to the past holds back progression toward the future. In a sense he's correct insofar as a new generation of people who do not really need to transition from a non-computer world to a computer-centric world - the technology is now introduced almost at birth these days. Entirely new software interface strategies can be designed that more effectively assist the user with operations if the old crutches are abandoned. Human evolution is spinning its wheels, so to speak (dang, I just skeuomorped). Of course if that new software paradigm is taken too far, we will need to start applying skeuomorphisms to physical objects to make them simpler to use for the person who has lived his life on a computer since the time mom and dad gave him an iPhone-shaped pacifier to teethe on. *SciAm stupidly uses different titles for print vs. online articles.

Posted  February 2013

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