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Apple designers reportedly divided over use of skeuomorphic UIs - Page 2

post #41 of 122
Let me guess: nearly everyone here who is crying for straightforward non-skeumorphic designs probably thinks Google's UI is fantastic, right?

I'll take Apple's version any day. Techno snobs may hate it, but they're the minority.
post #42 of 122
For once I agree with most of the posters on MR. Apple needs to get rid of this patronizing crap. Game Center is the worst, but the new podcast app isn't far beind. Just because Steve Jobs was a fan of it doesn't make it good design. And I doubt Ive & team create minimalist hardware to show off crap like Game Center.
post #43 of 122

post #44 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobborries View Post

Note.png
That doesn't irk me. The pin doesn't bother me. It's cute and fun and I guess ... Logical? But then again, I never did use post its on my screen, anyway. I stick them to my monitor :-(
Edited by paxman - 9/11/12 at 6:38pm
post #45 of 122

" If a completely new system is developed, much like the iPhone's simple yet intuitive Calendar app, designers are free to explore and invent new ways of presenting data."

 

Funny, because I think the UI for the iPhone Calendar app is about as bad as it gets. The month overview is completely unusable thanks to the way it obscures all but 1-2 entries at the bottom.  Day view shows you a few hours of your day, so it's easy to miss an early or late item, leaving the hideous List view to be the most functional. Ugh. Sorry, not an issue of skeuomorphism - it turns out you can make things unusable whether there's stitched leather or not. ;)

 

In fairness, at least you can change the time/length of entries now in the Day view without having to go into Edit mode, but trying to tap-hold and get a Delete / Cut / Copy menu doesn't work, and neither does swipe to delete since that changes days. It's all very inconsistent, which is sort of sad considering how much emphasis Apple used to put UI guidelines. And how about pinch to zoom that could let you zoom out from Day to an abbreviated Week and then Month and even Year? Tightening the height of the Month calendars rows so you can see more list items? There are just all kinds of things that really need attention. :/

post #46 of 122
I definitely agree that the skeumorphism has gone too far. It's the main reason I've stuck with Snow Leopard and have not upgraded to Mountain Lion.
post #47 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


This one bothers me because I've heard and seen this for decades from coders that have absolutely no class or taste. Part of the product is the glitter. You wouldn't buy a new car without paint or with different color panels that were thrown on even though it wouldn't affect the performance. You don't want to eat a burger that looks like it was abused by the cooking staff instead of looking like the photo on the menu even though it wouldn't affect the flavour. The little things are important to a product which is why Apple has the most mindshare in every HW category they are in.
The goal shouldn't be to fool you but to make something more usable because it's already familiar to you because of the item in the real world. There are much, much worse examples of this outside of Apple but Apple does appear to be pulling toward it more with Mac OS X.

The problem is, first, most of it looks terrible (my opinion as a graphic designer). More importantly, it IS taking away from the functionality. These new designs take up way more space on the screen with useless elements - in many cases you have to mouse more, scroll more, click more, take extra steps, etc. I find this very ironic, as Jobs was so creative in the original Mac OS in establishing clean, beautiful fonts and page layouts, and software that was intuitively great. Elegance and functionality were the goals - what happened? Now it's cuteness, which is very close to tackiness (like the Game Center above). It's discouraging, not only because of the skeuomorphism, but the direction of Mac software in general - less choices, less usefullness for professional work.

 

I hope the software designers listen to Jony Ive and not Scott Forstall. 

post #48 of 122
Personally I prefer the clean look and few, if any, skeuomorphs. They look cluttered and cheap to me. The clean, industrial design, is best. Lets not dumb down the user interface to the level of politics.
post #49 of 122
I love the skeumorphism. The detractors all seem to come from a perspective of design obsessiveness and asceticism. That works when you're trying to have the frame 'get out of the way' (e.g. Apple hardware, and Apple stores), but there is nothing else to get away from; the endpoint is the apps people!

I agree with others who have said that the designs give the apps visual richness, familiarity, and individual identity. Also, as far as I can tell, the design elements take nothing away from the functionality, and more often, increase functionality by increasing familiarity.

   

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post #50 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

For once I agree with most of the posters on MR. Apple needs to get rid of this patronizing crap. Game Center is the worst, but the new podcast app isn't far beind. Just because Steve Jobs was a fan of it doesn't make it good design. And I doubt Ive & team create minimalist hardware to show off crap like Game Center.

 

Game Center is pretty bad as well - it's actually impossible to tell that the gold/yellow text sometimes functions as a button. Wha...!?!? Then again, some of the extreme contrast UI bits (look at Pixelmator, iPhoto, FCPX, etc.) with tiny text and tiny and sometimes cryptic icons also don't really make for great usability, or for that matter the new black and white icon themes for apps. Unless you happen to be color blind, color at times can actually make it easier to find what you're looking for. So it goes.

 

Luckily it's almost all better than what you find on Windows (anything from the Explorer toolbar to Visual Studio icons and no-longer-Metro), so at least we have that! ;)

post #51 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobborries View Post

 

What a horrible font. Absolutely horrible.

post #52 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

The problem is, first, most of it looks terrible (my opinion as a graphic designer). More importantly, it IS taking away from the functionality. These new designs take up way more space on the screen with useless elements - in many cases you have to mouse more, scroll more, click more, take extra steps, etc. I find this very ironic, as Jobs was so creative in the original Mac OS in establishing clean, beautiful fonts and page layouts, and software that was intuitively great. Elegance and functionality were the goals - what happened? Now it's cuteness, which is very close to tackiness (like the Game Center above). It's discouraging, not only because of the skeuomorphism, but the direction of Mac software in general - less choices, less usefullness for professional work.

I hope the software designers listen to Jony Ive and not Scott Forstall. 

And if something familiar in the real world can help someone understand how something might be used without any instruction thus adding significant utility that isn't a function? I asked a previous poster why thought the page turning effect in iBooks was useless. I'll ask you why you don't think it has a function?


That isn't to say that there isn't plenty that I find to be overtop or useless (I find plenty and most examples stated have been ones I dislike) but I don't think its existence in and of itself means that it's useless or has to function. It clearly does serve a purpose even if that purpose is no longer being served in the popular examples against it.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #53 of 122
Originally Posted by elroth View Post
What a horrible font. Absolutely horrible.

 

That's Handwriting-Dakota. How's some Noteworthy instead?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #54 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

The leather bound stuff is atrocious. This is not an opinion, it's fact. 

Here's a fact: you don't understand the difference between an opinion and a fact. Step away from the computer and come back after you have completed the sixth grade.
post #55 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyThePirate View Post

I love the skeumorphism. The detractors all seem to come from a perspective of design obsessiveness and asceticism. That works when you're trying to have the frame 'get out of the way' (e.g. Apple hardware, and Apple stores), but there is nothing else to get away from; the endpoint is the apps people!
I agree with others who have said that the designs give the apps visual richness, familiarity, and individual identity. Also, as far as I can tell, the design elements take nothing away from the functionality, and more often, increase functionality by increasing familiarity.

But they do take away from the functionality. They generally take up extra space, which means less visible information, and more mousing, more clicking, more scrolling, etc. Also, who knows what improvements in the functionality could be made if they didn't have to keep the wall calendar shape, or the leather stitching, etc? Compare the address book in Snow Leopard to that in Lion and ML - you get more information, more readable information, in a smaller window. Quicker and easier, more usable.

 

I'm also reminded about my parents' old house - some crazed designer designed it with deep purple carpet, some purple flowered wallpaper, and other design fads of the moment (the 70s). When it came time to sell it in the late 80s, they had to really lower the price. Colors and design elements are individual choices - you please a lot more people by keeping it understated and simple, instead of overly colourful and garish.

post #56 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

I'm also reminded about my parents' old house - some crazed designer designed it with deep purple carpet, some purple flowered wallpaper, and other design fads of the moment (the 70s). When it came time to sell it in the late 80s, they had to really lower the price. Colors and design elements are individual choices - you please a lot more people by keeping it understated and simple, instead of overly colourful and garish.

Really? You think that if you were walking around today with an iPod from 2001, whether its interface was skeumorphic or not would be the distinguishing characteristic of whether it was stylish?

post #57 of 122

The problem with one-sided articles like these is that as mentioned by other respondents, to put it very simply, does not include the P.O.V. of end users. I'm pretty sure that Apple performs multiple usability studies aimed at the user needs and desires of the highest percentage of new and repeat customers.

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post #58 of 122
I thought Apple's belief was if it doesn't add anything don't use it. I mean they believe in one button on a mouse until they got rid of the button altogether. Now they just need to ditch the button on the iPhone, iTouch and iPad and get something better.

I find the skeuomorphic interfaces cheesy, tacky and lacking in originality which is what I always felt Apple was about. I prefer clean lines and a clean UI, but some of their UI elements are sterile and cold so find a way to meet in the middle.

This comment "iCal’s leather-stitching was literally based on a texture in his Gulfstream jet," the former designer said. "There was lots of internal email among UI designers at Apple saying this was just embarrassing, just terrible." just made me laugh. Really they took the stitching from the Gulfstream jet, could that someone get more arrogant, I think not.
post #59 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by derev View Post

The problem with one-sided articles like these is that as mentioned by other respondents, to put it very simply, does not include the P.O.V. of end users. I'm pretty sure that Apple performs multiple usability studies aimed at the user needs and desires of the highest percentage of new and repeat customers.

What? The day AI articles include POV of end uses is the day I stop reading them. And... usability and visual design are related but also entirely separate. They may perform usability studies but I doubt they ask what their testers feel about the color scheme, etc..

post #60 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

I understand what they're trying to say about skeuomorphism but for the love of god please don't ever go the direction Microsoft is now. Instead of images that suggest anything at all, Microsoft has replaced everything with colored squares. That makes it impossible to understand what anything does without stopping and reading text. Simply terrible. I'll take a "cute" interface over a grid of unidentifiable sameness any day.

You mean, white envelope on blue square is not enough to symbolise "Mail", so you actually have to read text to understand what is that freakin' envelope trying to tell you?

Huh... OK...
post #61 of 122
How does one pronounce skeuomorphic?
post #62 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

But they do take away from the functionality. They generally take up extra space, which means less visible information, and more mousing, more clicking, more scrolling, etc. Also, who knows what improvements in the functionality could be made if they didn't have to keep the wall calendar shape, or the leather stitching, etc? Compare the address book in Snow Leopard to that in Lion and ML - you get more information, more readable information, in a smaller window. Quicker and easier, more usable.

I'm also reminded about my parents' old house - some crazed designer designed it with deep purple carpet, some purple flowered wallpaper, and other design fads of the moment (the 70s). When it came time to sell it in the late 80s, they had to really lower the price. Colors and design elements are individual choices - you please a lot more people by keeping it understated and simple, instead of overly colourful and garish.

I don't really see those elements as taking up any useful space, and to me, for what they represent, the designs do seem to be generalized and simple (for mass appeal and familiarity). To me, the stitching in the leather is not that wide, the leather triangle in the bottom corner of the notes app adds a dynamic element to an otherwise predictable (i.e. boring) space, and the game table of game center looks classy and inviting.*

At least they don't have a black bar of empty space on the right like the windows 8 phone UI.. maybe microsoft can fit a skeumorphic rope and pully system in there 1wink.gif

*I remember when they did the very first preview of game center they had a darker, non-skeumorphic interface that seemed pretty slick, so maybe you'll get your wish..

   

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post #63 of 122
Originally Posted by 801 View Post
How does one pronounce skeuomorphic?

 

It's skew-oh-more-fic.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #64 of 122

I like this design approach when it works for me. Hate it when it doesn't.

post #65 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post

Agreed, how else should Apple do a bookshelf? Just a list of books? Oh yeah, you can change the interface to that.

While I personally have nothing against wooden book shelve... this also looks fine for me:

post #66 of 122

The only one I don't like is the card table in Game Center. To me it gives it a seedy vibe. The rest are ok.

post #67 of 122
Memo

To: Scott Forstall, Jonny Ive

Scott, you're wrong. Jonny, you're right.

Consistent UI design theme ... please.

Sincerely,

Joe Average iOS User
post #68 of 122

I think the problem is that some of the skeuomorphic elements have the whole thing backward: we are not familiar with the green felt cloth of the Las Vegas game table, or with cream leather calendars. These things are redolent of the 70's or 80's and the pre-computer era. But we have been in the computer era for so long now that these designs look like throwbacks to an unfamiliar world, in the case of the green felt almost 19th Century Victoriana. So the game center and the calendar have not been made more familiar but significantly less by this choice. I almost expect to see a picture of dogs playing poker on the wall.

 

Skeuomorphic design will work when they understand that — for better or worse — the design touchstone for most of us is the computer itself. Designers with taste need to intervene to make this work well.


Edited by Eluard - 9/11/12 at 8:24pm
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post #69 of 122
I can understand the controversy but consider a few points in defence of functional skeuomorphism:

There is informative value in each application having a distinctive visual identity - It's much easier to locate a particular app if you have many windows open for instance.

It's a challenge to communicate abstract concepts using a graphical user interface. Think about how you would communicate to a user the difference between something being deleted, trashed or simply hidden from view.

I think the passbook shredder communicates the concept of single use/permanent dustruction quite elegantly. On OS X The way safari downloads/application purchases now float across the screen into the downloads/application folder is rather like a physical document being stored in a drawer. It's not required but it does make it very clear that content is being stored locally and where it is being stored. The wooden bookshelf in iBooks does a great job of distinguishing content you own from the store content you don't.

Some of the non-functional elements like torn pages and the leather textures are aesthetic choices which we could do without. Elements like the virtual amplifier knobs in Garageband which sacrifice function for form that are the true casualties of skeumorphic design.
post #70 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And if something familiar in the real world can help someone understand how something might be used without any instruction thus adding significant utility that isn't a function? I asked a previous poster why thought the page turning effect in iBooks was useless. I'll ask you why you don't think it has a function?
That isn't to say that there isn't plenty that I find to be overtop or useless (I find plenty and most examples stated have been ones I dislike) but I don't think its existence in and of itself means that it's useless or has to function. It clearly does serve a purpose even if that purpose is no longer being served in the popular examples against it.
The page turn feature is an example of a great visual effect that is at once usefull, clever fun, and instructive. The difference, I guess, is that it also imitates an action as well as a 'look'. When I read an iBook I 'play' with the page just like when I read a 'real' book.

Even if the effect did not replicate a real book it would be a great feature.
post #71 of 122
ITT: Apple fans attack Apple fans for not being as big of Yes-men as other Apple fans.
post #72 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

I can understand the controversy but consider a few points in defence of functional skeuomorphism:
There is informative value in each application having a distinctive visual identity - It's much easier to locate a particular app if you have many windows open for instance.
It's a challenge to communicate abstract concepts using a graphical user interface. Think about how you would communicate to a user the difference between something being deleted, trashed or simply hidden from view.
I think the passbook shredder communicates the concept of single use/permanent dustruction quite elegantly. On OS X The way safari downloads/application purchases now float across the screen into the downloads/application folder is rather like a physical document being stored in a drawer. It's not required but it does make it very clear that content is being stored locally and where it is being stored. The wooden bookshelf in iBooks does a great job of distinguishing content you own from the store content you don't.
Some of the non-functional elements like torn pages and the leather textures are aesthetic choices which we could do without. Elements like the virtual amplifier knobs in Garageband which sacrifice function for form that are the true casualties of skeumorphic design.

I think skeuomorphism is just another tool in the toolbox of UI designers.  The problems arise when it is used to create overly literal design elements.  The gamecenter, bookshelf and calendar don't need to be so utterly literal in their reference to the real world in order to add recognizable cues. 

 

Personally the only one that makes me "cringe like Ives" is the Gamecenter.  I am so horrified by it's un-Applelike appearance that I never use it.  The first time I saw it I didn't think it was an Apple app.  I assumed it was some crap installed by a game I had added.

post #73 of 122
But what about realism that isn't real? Like torn paper that's all of a sudden not torn when you flip back to a previous month. Um that doesn't work in the real world. Maybe some skeumorphism is require to convey what an app is supposed to do. But if not then its just unnecessary ornamental decoration. In iBooks instead of focusing on making the UI look like a real book why not focus on real innovation like Amazon is doing. I love the feature they have that tells you how many minutes you have left in a chapter. And adjusts itself based on your reading patterns. That to me is more meaningful than if the app UI looks like a physical book.
post #74 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

I think skeuomorphism is just another tool in the toolbox of UI designers.  The problems arise when it is used to create overly literal design elements.  The gamecenter, bookshelf and calendar don't need to be so utterly literal in their reference to the real world in order to add recognizable cues. 

Personally the only one that makes me "cringe like Ives" is the Gamecenter.  I am so horrified by it's un-Applelike appearance that I never use it.  The first time I saw it I didn't think it was an Apple app.  I assumed it was some crap installed by a game I had added.
What's amazing is if this story is to be believed the look of Game Center was pushed by Jobs himself.
post #75 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


This one bothers me because I've heard and seen this for decades from coders that have absolutely no class or taste. Part of the product is the glitter. You wouldn't buy a new car without paint or with different color panels that were thrown on even though it wouldn't affect the performance. You don't want to eat a burger that looks like it was abused by the cooking staff instead of looking like the photo on the menu even though it wouldn't affect the flavour. The little things are important to a product which is why Apple has the most mindshare in every HW category they are in.
The goal shouldn't be to fool you but to make something more usable because it's already familiar to you because of the item in the real world. There are much, much worse examples of this outside of Apple but Apple does appear to be pulling toward it more with Mac OS X.

 

this^^^,
 
and throw in the not invented "by me" part of it and you have the rest of the picture.
 
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post #76 of 122

Gee, what WAS Apple thinking???

 

They just had to make a folder look like a folder, 

and it all just went downhill from there!

 

 

...I wonder why MS worked so hard to emulate that sort of GUI?

post #77 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

ITT: Apple fans attack Apple fans for not being as big of Yes-men as other Apple fans.

So when Apple fans agree with Apple they're Yes-men. But when they disagree, instead of concluding they are not in fact Yes-men after all, you conclude that they're Yes-men arguing? Obvious contradiction is obvious.

post #78 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobborries View Post

LMAO! thanks for saying it.

post #79 of 122
I understand both sides. I think it many times enhances the user to very quickly identify which app they are in because the GUI of the app closely resembles the physical version of what is being done via software. Obviously, some might like or not like a particular "theme" and people like to have their own "theme" used to personalize their experience. The problem with themes and having choices is that they eat of storage.

I think that themes could be good if done properly and as long as it doesn't slow down the rendering and easy to manage add/change themes. Sometimes I get confused as to which app I'm in if the "theme" of the app is the same as another that I am running at the same time because some of us have fast trigger fingers on the mouse or fast typists.

Apple used to have a lot of third party icon and themes back in the MacOS days and that hasn't been as prevalent (even though it is still there, just not as commonly used) since OS X. I guess some of us that used to like hacking the interface with ResEdit got older and less into that.

Personally, if Apple could figure out a way to add a feature to change and manage themes so that it was easy and simple, I wouldn't not be opposed to it, just as long as we have the choice to add/change/delete the themes we don't want to free up storage.
post #80 of 122

This is an age-old battle that's been going on looonnggg before iOS - developers/engineers vs. designers/artist. Most developers don't care about aesthetics they only care it works and is functional  - less is more, while designers want everything to be beautiful and elegant as wells as functional. We have these same battles at my job, my manager a dev doesn't care about design - he just cares it works as needed, while the designers are always trying to push the design further. Steve was a little of both but more a man of aesthetics. There needs to be some harmony of both, the average user wants some beauty as well as functional. They want to feel they are holding a piece of beauty and art in their hands that also works. Microsoft = developer functional with little design (until recently at least), Apple = design and functionality. Apples mastery of the design - love of the aesthetic - attention to detail is what sets them apart. So, do you want Windows XP/Palm Treo or do you want an iPhone/iOS/OS X? Simple as that (kinda).


Edited by mesomorphicman - 9/11/12 at 9:47pm
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