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Issue 040: Skeuomorphism

Issue 040: Skeuomorphism

Welcome to the fortieth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, dedicated to the subject of Skeuomorphism. In this edition, Adrian calls for no more flat user interfaces, Graham argues that skeuomorphism is a necessity, and in the Library section, Adrian reviews "Designing Interfaces" by Jenifer Tidwell.

The Button And The Spoon

As my father approaches his 80th birthday, his first contacts with the latest technologies become ever more interesting. As a pen-and-pencil architect and entrepreneur with 50 years of experience, technology is not a necessity; rather, just another useful tool. He setup his first fax machine at the end of the 90s, and got his first computer a decade after that. At some point in the 2010s he bought a smartphone, and one day asked me for help to finish some task on it. I remember his face when I told him to "touch the button that says 'done'" and he replied, "which button? I do not see any button".

We Cannot Afford To Live Without It

Skeuomorph is a word with two Greek bits in. “Morph” we see all the time, and it means “shape”. “Skeuo” means “tool”. So the word means “tool-shape”, but tools are not themselves considered skeuomorphic. An object is skeuomorphic, or has skeuomorphic features, if it has stylistic or design components reminiscent of an earlier necessity.

Jenifer Tidwell

If there is one thing that computer books are most definitely not usually praised for, it is their visuals. Thankfully, books about user experience and user interface design are usually, indeed, worthy of such acclaim. In this case, however, limiting a review to such criteria would be short-sighted, poor, and unjust. The truth is that most important literature works are multi-layered, profound, and suitable for multiple relectures.

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