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Apple designers reportedly divided over use of skeuomorphic UIs - Page 3

post #81 of 122
i don't want all my apps to look like the iOS default UI. I like the realism in the applications, and I can't think of an example where it has hampered me. In fact, I hope it doesn't go one note. I think that would be the true regression. Apple's iOS devices are already so boring that making all the apps plain jane would just kill me inside to own an apple device. As it stands now, I have most of my apps deleted from lack of use. The only thing I REALLY want is the ability to hide the dumb apps that are built in that I will NEVER use.

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post #82 of 122
I like the tangibility in the design. Personally I'm glad to be past the greyish squares that once pervaded my computing experience. Anachronisms (photo shutter sound) and tangibility (leather,wood) aid accessibility to a broader audience.
I mostly like iCal on iPad; IMO it's the iPad Music app thats really a tragic mistake.
post #83 of 122

I put those dumb apps I can't delete in a folder and stick im on the last page!

post #84 of 122

The iPhone podcast app that uses a reel-to-reel tape recorder is truly appalling.  As an interface, it does't work, as they seem to have concentrated on fitting in tape reels rather than making the controls easy to use.  I could live with the interface if the app itself was any good, but it isn't.  It is buggy and just doesn't work properly.

 

What inspired them to use a reel-to-reel recorder, something that people under about 30 may only have seen in old movies or a museum?

 

What will they do next?  Turn iTunes into a record player?

post #85 of 122

Skeu 'em all. The only way Apple can satisfy everyone is by allowing for themes and skinning! Do it Apple. Let us go for everything between minimalistic (the 'Ive' mode) and everything-is-skeud (the 'Forestall' mode). And while we are at it, please let us be able to root our iPhones (the 'Android' mode) without voiding our warranty. And make Cydia a part of the App Store.

 

(/s  in case it isn't too obvious).

post #86 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post


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...

No see you're talking about an icon, icons are great! They allow the super fast image recognition parts of our brain to help us more quickly locate things! Metro on the other hand tends to leave them out, or make such a poor attempt at minimalism (when really they're just not designing, there's just a lack of design at all) they end up with this:

 

post #87 of 122

Thank goodness.

 

The current design of Calendar and Contacts is hideous. It was this bumbled design that stopped many places who used iCal in 10.6 moving to 10.7.

 

Sorry Apple but nearly all of it is utter crap, its hideous and confuses users and slows things down. BIN IT.

 

It works in some situations, Books etc. But it really doesn't help in others.


Edited by Sedicivalvole - 9/12/12 at 2:02am
post #88 of 122

The lion address book and calendar are the to biggest pieces of shit ever concieved by software developers.

 

Please bring back the snow leopard versions.

 

Im mean usability fell out of the equation in those releases and "visual masturbation" is exactly what it is.
 

post #89 of 122
  • redhanded   What will they do next?  Turn iTunes into a record player?

 

Effin hillarious. Thats probably allready in their sights!
 

post #90 of 122
Ical is an example of a good product that has been totally messed up with this form of design. it is now harder to read and has forced a lot of people to purchase a $36 (or so) copy of the old Ical called Busy Cal just to get away from skeuomorphism (if thats a word)... Apple - listen to your users and get away from this sort of crap!
post #91 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

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).

 

Well it has worked for apple aslong as the astethics dont hurt usability. In some aspects they have failed miserably lately. If it makes using the product unintuitive and strange then they have really screwd it.

post #92 of 122
A backlash against skeuomorphics is understandable but a return to stark simplicity is an engineer's ideal: it's out of touch with customers in general, who prefer an endless variety of seductive sensation in their real and virtual objects.

Berners-Lee's assertion that transparency is the future of infosystems (1) is spot on but I feel it leads toward a variety of naturalistic experiences, as opposed to sensory deprivation.

As with all leading edge systems, skeuomorphics are work to deploy because they're not outdated enough for a good framework to exist. That's not the customers' problem.

The value of skeuomorphics to foster user adoption warrants this defense but I do think they'll scale back to the kind of barely-perceptible elements we've seen in Mac OS folders, for example.

Reference 1: sfgate, around the time of his late 90's book launch
post #93 of 122
OK. Very simply:

1.
Skeumorphic is very important for icon recognition, because that's how we use something, given everything is just full-colour-screen-based of a printed page metaphor. So let's say what is a Calendar app? Yes, it has a page like a flip calendar. What is a Twitter app? A bird, that looks like a bird, because you "Tweet"

2.
However. And this is the big However. It has to stop at one point, because let's say while Tweeting, if you are in the Twitter app, the experience HAS NO REAL-WORLD EQUIVALENT. A calendar looking like a paper calendar is good but you don't need to go overboard.

3.
Steve was very good in pushing skeumorphic for iPhone because that really connected you to a new realm of apps and mobile websites. iPad has some really nice skeumorphic stuff, but it depends on the Context and User Experience. Game Center on iPhone is good but for iPad, a bit overblown.

4.
OS X ~ OS X I feel is the best operating system out there but it will be a challenge to stay relevant. There is definitely an IMPORTANT use for the Calendar Icon to look LIKE A CALENDAR but the Calendar app DOES NOT need to look ~so much~ like a physical paper calendar.

5.
Books are different. This is because you are trying to replicate the book experience on an iPad. If you truly love books, you will love iBooks and iBooks2 on an iPad. So Books on iPad perfect, on Kindle and e-readers that are not full colour, to me, rubbish. I love books.
post #94 of 122
Everything MacOS reminds me of the early Photoshop days when suddenly every ad you saw had a beveled and embossed image with a drop shadow floating on a gradient background, Microsofts minimalist Metro theme is a breath of fresh air with it's knowing referencing of seventies typography and layout (the pre Photoshop era), when you look at Apples design philosophy in print or on line it's borderless and minimal with no drop shadows, it's about time the OS caught up and grew up, the days of bezels and borders of drop shadows and faux this and faux that should be long gone.
post #95 of 122

I like skeuomorphism in certain apps.

When I got my first Mac running Leopard, I was kinda irritated with how all windows looked the same. Exposé (now transformed to Mission Control) was hard on my eyes, with many windows especially, because they all looked grey/silver-ish with white and hard to distinguish. 

 

Am I the only one who kinda likes Lion's iCal? It adds some color and style, while not taking away functionality.

I miss the old Address Book though. The new one looks dull and requires too many clicks to do anything...

 

The most tragic examples, in my opinion, are the Music and Podcasts apps on iPad. Especially the latter one, as it takes away a major chunk from functionality, for what? A fake tape recorder look? Small and unintuitive controls? It doesn't make any sense! I don't have any music on my iPad because of these apps... The iPhone Music app is great and does the job nicely. 

 

I think designers at Apple should balance looks and functionality better. Sometimes it feels like features are cut off cause they wouldn't fit nicely in a skeuomorphic design.

post #96 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

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.

You didn't understand me....and no being Yes-men doesn't mean you simply agree...it means you're incapable of disagreement.
post #97 of 122
Extraneous Visual Noise? or subtle (or maybe not so subtle) Visual Reference that make instant recognition possible.

If you are going to argue about user interface elements a big one that I miss is the ability to assign sounds to various system events - used to be included in the OS - then was provided but he likes of Unsanity (who have not seemed to be able to keep up with changes Apple has made to the OS). Some folks may consider sounds a needles distraction - but for me having the computer quietly make particular sounds when certain events occur adds a level of confirmation that events are occurring as expected. Moving from a system where opening a folder was always accompanied by a sound unique to that even to a system that makes no sound at all had me doing double takes to ensure that I hit the correct key or that the computer is actually performing the requested action.

In similar fashion I replaced the stock exhaust on my car with a 3" cat back system so that when at highway speed with the top down I could actually hear some feedback from the power train - not so loud as to be annoying or overwhelming - just enough so that the sound (and feel) provides information that adds to the overall experience without distracting from the task at hand.
post #98 of 122

Out of interest which of these do people prefer?

 

 

post #99 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

No see you're talking about an icon, icons are great! They allow the super fast image recognition parts of our brain to help us more quickly locate things! Metro on the other hand tends to leave them out, or make such a poor attempt at minimalism (when really they're just not designing, there's just a lack of design at all) they end up with this:

 

That is not true metro can use icons aswell.

 

post #100 of 122

Leather calendar: literally worse than Hitler.

 

Cheese and rice, people. It's just a skin! The stitching adds maybe 20 vertical pixels. Other than that, buttons and other interface parts are generally in the same place, and the overall behavior is probably helpful to first-time users.

 

If this was really the greatest tragedy to befall iOS & 10.8, the majority of users would use a superior competing app. That doesn't seem to be the case, especially not compared to Apple's Reminders vs the creative and extremely competitive to-do list app market. No one in this thread has even mentioned a decent alternative, or having removed the leather themselves. That speaks volumes.

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post #101 of 122

I'd just like to chime in and say I do appreciate the skeuomorphic design! I don't think it's a form over function argument, I believe Apple first gets the function nailed, then adds icing on top by making it beautiful. I think it requires a lot of design and programming to make a skeuomorphic design both look and function well. I don't see this as a regression in interface design, but a new tool at a UI designer's disposal. Immediately, without knowing what app she's in, my grandma can recognize what iBooks is.. a collection of books that she can read, organized on a book shelf. I see no issue and fear that this article could prevent an otherwise good iOS design element from being released in the future. 

post #102 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth 
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. 

There's a balance to be had though. I don't think anyone would argue that the shutter effect should be removed from the camera app, the Braun design from the calculator, the pins from the maps, the bubbles from iMessage. Similarly nobody would anticipate the Mail app changing into a front door with a letter box and mail pours into it onto a virtual floor and you have to sort the pile. We have representations of trash, sounds when you recieve mail like a letterbox clatter but it very much has its own identity (which other people now copy as it has become the familiar UI for electronic mail).

They should have a set of guidelines drawn up with their design team and go through their past UIs to see what works and what doesn't and note down what designs have become iconic and use that to determine how they should design future UIs.
post #103 of 122

Personally, I really don't have a huge problem with it.  There are some advantages to skeuomorphic design that can improve the user experience.  Sometimes it goes a bit far (like the leather print or wood grain) but in most cases it's a visual queue to the user that helps explain or give a clue to the program's functionality that is much easier to understand than reading a user's manual.

 

The iBooks App's home-screen.  The books are all lined up on what looks like a bookshelf.  Seriously what is wrong with that?  It's a nice visual queue that tells you what's going on and how to use it.

 

I like that the calendar app allows you to flip the pages between months.  It wasn't that way in the original iPad version but i think using multi-touch gestures across multiple native apps is more logical.

 

Personally, I think it's really the techies that are the biggest opponents to this.  The concept of skeumorphic design has been around since the ancient Greeks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeuomorph)  and in most cases it does it's job.  I think this has to be one of the reasons why Apple's software is so user-friendly.  Most non-Techie user groups actually like that these apps have a resemblance to something tactile.

post #104 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.

I totally agree with you.

I like that MS has chosen to streamline their UI but the colored blocks have no delineation between each other.  There's no over-riding concept behind why the blocks are colored.  I've talked at length about this in other forum posts.  What MS needs to do is have a concept behind the colored blocks.  Perhaps it's based on color associated with the function?  I'm not sure if that would be any more successful but at least it would be a start.

post #105 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by qualar View Post

Out of interest which of these do people prefer?

 

 

I like the look of iCal, but I prefer the functionality of Google Calendar.

post #106 of 122
Originally Posted by qualar View Post


See, they've taken "the best design is as little design as possible" to heart… they've just decided to do NO design.

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post #107 of 122
I'm on the fence about it. I think the "embellished" interface has its place, especially if it helps to create focus or improve context. For example, I don't have a problem with a little 'eye candy' or visual indicators like these to set similar apps apart more effectively…

However, it's one of those things that can VERY easily be abused or over-used or just inappropriately applied. I don't think the argument isn't so black and white, universally use or don't use. It will sometimes be absolutely appropriate and cool to use this design approach given the right context… but it's always on a case-by-case basis, and I think should be applied in a minimal way. The conversation should really be more an if->then scenario… if yes, then how far to take it?

Not too far, in any case… that's just my opinion though...
post #108 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


See, they've taken "the best design is as little design as possible" to heart… they've just decided to do NO design.

Grow up.

post #109 of 122
Originally Posted by qualar View Post
Grow up.

 

Thanks for showing there's no intelligent rebuttal to what I've said.

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post #110 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post

I'm on the fence about it. I think the "embellished" interface has its place, especially if it helps to create focus or improve context. For example, I don't have a problem with a little 'eye candy' or visual indicators like these to set similar apps apart more effectively…
However, it's one of those things that can VERY easily be abused or over-used or just inappropriately applied. I don't think the argument isn't so black and white, universally use or don't use. It will sometimes be absolutely appropriate and cool to use this design approach given the right context… but it's always on a case-by-case basis, and I think should be applied in a minimal way. The conversation should really be more an if->then scenario… if yes, then how far to take it?
Not too far, in any case… that's just my opinion though...

 

To push this a little further… I don't particularly LIKE the stitching on the calendar app, but that's not because it's "poor design", it's because it doesn't appeal to my aesthetics at all… Still, I also question the value of it. I think ALL of an interface should serve some purpose… in this case, it says "I'm a desk calendar"… OK, maybe a bit too loudly.

 

A good example of skeuomorphics used right and applied well (in my opinion) are found in apps like Garageband… 

 

I think it would be cool to eventually have interface options with apps like Calendar and Reminders, etc… Plain or decorated? These are utilitarian, typically 'desktop' type apps… some people really like the visual reference to the real-world version, others prefer the clean minimalism of iOS/OSX… I'm on that side of the fence, mostly. But again, it's not black or white. Sometimes, it's a good thing to dress up the apps this way...

post #111 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


See, they've taken "the best design is as little design as possible" to heart… they've just decided to do NO design.

I played with Windows Phone Nokia thingy today. No idea what was going on. It's really way too minimalist.

So... What have we learned here? Balance.

There should be enough "reality" for you to know what's going on, but not too much as to be indeed, mastubatory. The Podcast app is a prime example. When it first came out it was laggy and buggy as hell, but hey, we had a nice tape spooling thing... Because, podcasts, are like, from the 60s... Or something.
post #112 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

Another negative point is that it also bloats apps because they need to include multiple versions all those texture images for different resolution displays.

How is it a bloat if the user never knows about it?! It is true that every apps needs two resolutions (in case of universal app you need four) but that is not a big problem for user. It is a little bit more work for developers though.

 

The user knows about it by how long it takes to download/update an app which has a lot of texture images.  Especially if it's happening over a bogged down cell network or otherwise poor connection.  The also see it in how long it takes the app to load on startup.  And I have no doubt that some crash-prone apps are running out of memory due to use of many large texture images (and not paying attention to memory warnings).

 

Obviously most users don't know that it's the large images which are causing these problems, but they experience them nonetheless.

 
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post #113 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.


 This is my problem with the new AppleTV OS (which I finally, accidentally, downloaded 2 days ago).  It's *harder* to find what I want because there are this ginormous colored blocks with small text underneath -- so when looking for "Podcasts" I can't simply look through a short list of words like before, I now have these colored blocks vying for attention, many with icons or logos that hardly relate to their content.

post #114 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Originally Posted by qualar View Post


See, they've taken "the best design is as little design as possible" to heart… they've just decided to do NO design.

 

Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'm agreeing with Tallest!

post #115 of 122
I think that developers who don't like skeuomorphic design don't like it because they are so invested in their virtual life, they no longer relate to the real world, as ordinary people do.

While there are plenty of bad examples of skeuomorphic design, that's true about any design. It all depends upon how well it's implemented.

My feeling about Apple's latest OS designs in general is that they have been removing all elements of style and design. Mountain Lion seems bare and generic to me.

All GUI designs have elements that don't serve functionality. The point was to serve ease-of-use and ease-of-training even if meant giving up some functionality. To this day, it's far easier to rename files (as just one example) in MS-DOS than it is in OS X or Windows.

The opposition to any skeuomorphic design reminds me of the days when it was said that "real men don't use word processors - they use text editors" and that any GUI (as opposed to command line UIs) were for children.
post #116 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

To this day, it's far easier to rename files (as just one example) in MS-DOS than it is in OS X or Windows.
 

??? You are going to have to elaborate on that one.

post #117 of 122

For me, skeumorphism works if the original they are emulating is attractive to begin with. Case in point, the calendar interface in Lion with the faux stitching. I could never imagine having such an ugly calendar on my REAL desk, much less on my computer desktop. 

 

The calendar interface in Mountain Lion, on the other hand, is much nicer to look at.


Edited by Lebensmuede - 9/14/12 at 10:37am
post #118 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebensmuede View Post

For me, skeumorphism works if the original they are emulating is attractive to begin with. Case in point, the calendar interface in Lion with the faux stitching. I could never imagine having such an ugly calendar on my REAL desk, much less on my computer desktop. 

Yeah, I'd have said the following calendar style is more common:



but they'd have to put the buttons on top of the binder to avoid wasting space. They could have the pages flip up and down vertically that way though. Leather would be seen in a calendar book/diary but not that brown colour, maybe black or blue and faint stitching if any.
post #119 of 122
Storm in a teacup, and any nerd who highlights this as a reason for Scott Forstall's departure is a pseudo-literate idiot.

Skeuomorphism is just about approaching the end of its run, that's all. It was magnificent in its time, especially with the new touch-screen-smartphone idiom plus App Store as coined by Apple in 2007/2008. It jogged the subconscious of the uninitiated non-nerd and coupled with gestures, helped her easily navigate the new technology and fit it into her busy life (ever notice nowadays how many girls bump into you in the street walking along and staring down at their touch-screens?).

It has also helped sell a lot of Macs, whose sales unlike those of the classic iPod (non-skeumorphic, remember?) have not only held up but increased modestly.

So yes, it's time for a new direction. But frankly what should Jon Ives have to do with that? I suppose we shall see. I hope it's good, and a true advancement.

I'm still heartbroken at Scott's departure, and nothing will change that...
post #120 of 122
Originally Posted by airmanchairman View Post
Skeuomorphism is just about approaching the end of its run, that's all. It was magnificent in its time, especially with the new touch-screen-smartphone idiom plus App Store as coined by Apple in 2007/2008. It jogged the subconscious of the uninitiated non-nerd and coupled with gestures, helped her easily navigate the new technology and fit it into her busy life (ever notice nowadays how many girls bump into you in the street walking along and staring down at their touch-screens?).
It has also helped sell a lot of Macs, whose sales unlike those of the classic iPod (non-skeumorphic, remember?) have not only held up but increased modestly.

 

Hmm. I disagree. As long as there are materials, as long as humans have a sense of aesthetics, and as long as we have physical fingers, we'll want something comforting. Something familiar where nothing is. That's important to us, intrinsically. It assists with comprehension. And it's also part of why we name everything we come across.

 

If you can tie it to the physical, it can be understood. If it can be understood, it can be used. 

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