Apple designers reportedly divided over use of skeuomorphic UIs

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  • Reply 61 of 122
    801801 Posts: 271member
    How does one pronounce skeuomorphic?
  • Reply 62 of 122
    elroth wrote: »
    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 ;)

    *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..
  • Reply 63 of 122


    Originally Posted by 801 View Post

    How does one pronounce skeuomorphic?


     


    It's skew-oh-more-fic.

  • Reply 64 of 122


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

  • Reply 65 of 122
    nikon133nikon133 Posts: 2,600member
    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:

    700
  • Reply 66 of 122
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    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.

  • Reply 67 of 122
    axualaxual Posts: 244member
    Memo

    To: Scott Forstall, Jonny Ive

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

    Consistent UI design theme ... please.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Average iOS User
  • Reply 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.

  • Reply 69 of 122
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,240member
    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.
  • Reply 70 of 122
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 71 of 122
    ITT: Apple fans attack Apple fans for not being as big of Yes-men as other Apple fans.
  • Reply 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.

  • Reply 73 of 122
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    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.
  • Reply 74 of 122
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    welshdog wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 75 of 122
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member

    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.


     

    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

    this^^^,


     


    and throw in the not invented "by me" part of it and you have the rest of the picture.


    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }

     
  • Reply 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?

  • Reply 77 of 122
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    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.

  • Reply 78 of 122

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobborries View Post




    LMAO! thanks for saying it.

  • Reply 79 of 122
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    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.
  • Reply 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).

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