Originally I’ve published this article on Syndicode blog.
The first thing you have to think about when launching the new product is to attract the user’s attention. How will you attract the user to interact with your app or website? What will help you to create the right impression? The answer to these questions is the design.The design is responsible for creating the path to explore the functionality. Let’s consider pros and cons of the skeuomorphic design.
The great design makes your product easy-to-use whatever functionality it has. When users feel comfortable with the design they’ll probably stay with your product even if it has some drawbacks (which you’re planning to fix, of course). It is the art of creating experiences that encourage human interaction and map behavior to expected outcomes. Many people think that skeuomorphic design is the most comfortable way.
First of all, for those of you who have no idea what we are talking about, skeuomorphism is the design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts. Objects in skeuomorphic design mimic their real-world counterparts in how they appear and/or how the user can interact with them. Just like this (this is not a photo, this is the button design):
This design makes you feel just like real! When computer interfaces were first introduced, skeuomorphism was very important — as it allowed people to easily transition to using digital devices. One of its earliest proponents was Steve Jobs of Apple. The idea was simple: computer interfaces would be much more intuitive to users if the skeuomorphic design was applied. Then its popularity started to fade due to the appearance of OS patterns, touch screens, minimalism trends, and flat design. As interfaces grew increasingly complex, experiences were becoming cluttered and unusable. Skeuomorphism was becoming limiting and inelegant.
In 2007, Forbes magazine announced the death of skeuomorphism. Apple had settled on a new form of design — flat design. There was no need for beveled edges, gradients, reflections, and skeuomorphism anymore. Visual clarity was put at the forefront of design. The design community moved towards flatter, more ambiguous and standardized design styles. New designs could fit on the web, tablet, and mobile. Boxes, squares, and flat backgrounds could easily fit in a responsive grid that shifted as screens resized.
Today skeuomorphic design is back with the digitalization of things. Do you remember the design of smartwatches and other appliances? Modern skeuomorphism is the bridge at the intersection of digital and industrial design. With skeuomorphic design, we enrich and enliven real-world objects in the context of our human physiology.
I highlighted some pros and cons of skeuomorphic design for you:
Users like to interact with more real-world objects. It brings the understanding on the very intuitive level.
With the rise of augmented and virtual reality, a skeuomorphic design makes it possible for us to interact with “real-world” objects in a real-world simulation.
Skeuomorphism helps users understand the purpose of an app almost immediately.
With skeuomorphic design, new users may be attracted to the design simply because of the way it looks.
The skeuomorphic design can’t deal with greater levels of complexity in the interface without compromising the user experience.
Excessive gradients and nuances could make the interface cluttered and harder to use.
As far as skeuomorphic design relies on defined proportions and ratios, the ease of use, interface scalability, and navigability could be hard to reach.
A skeuomorphic design can limit creativity by grounding the experience to physical counterparts.
It takes more time to create a skeuomorphic design, its detailed illustrations, to download it and to render…
Despite its drawbacks, in user experience design, digital skeuomorphism holds great potential for bringing rich emotional experiences to digital devices, which are otherwise impersonal.
Thank you for reading!