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iOS "skeuomorphic design elements to go
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:11 PM
 
A skeuomorph is a design element that imitates the appearance of another material—usually a feature of an earlier form of the same or a related piece of technology.

For example, the picture of a radio mic in the voice memo app of the iPhone is a skeuomorph; so is the legal pad design of the Note app and the bookshelf design of the iBook app.

I read in Time today that Apple have appointed a new head of design for iOS who loathes skeuomorphs and is going to do away with them—starting with the Podcast app which has just been redesigned without the rolling tape reels.

I'm not sure how I feel about skeuomorphs.

Some are clearly going to say. A digital replica of an analog clock is easier to read than a row of digits. But when the skeuomorph does not offer any inherent design advantage (digital tape reels, for instance) I guess it does seem kind of tacky and silly.

What do you think?
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:15 PM
 
Here's the article.

For iOS 7, Apple May Dispense with the Leather and Felt | TIME.com

Looks like there is a lot of debate online for and against Apple's skeuomorphic design elements.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:20 PM
 
I like it as a spice, but they made it the main dish. It's good they're reeling it in.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:37 PM
 
The leather stitching on the one app is tacky as hell. The note pad is passable at best.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:42 PM
 
I could deal if they used better "handwriting" fonts.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:44 PM
 
it looks horrific in Mail
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:54 PM
 
Yeah. Jesus.

Especially considering I'm the "no HTML in my mail" type.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 02:59 PM
 
If anyone is wondering, I'm talking about this:



It font actually infects your From/Subject line (Even when I've changed it on the iDevice)
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 03:33 PM
 
Clinically Insane? Is that new? If so, congrats and all that.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 05:15 PM
 
Ives has expressed his dislike for skeuomorphic design. So, I am expecting it it go. Good riddance, too.
     
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Mar 25, 2013, 09:36 PM
 
Case in point: the new version of Podcasts has a traditional interface and no longer includes the infamous tape reel. (Just a day after I purchased Instacast). Podcasts was the worst Apple app I've ever used, skeoomorphism aside.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 02:25 AM
 
Two conspiracy theories on that. A how and a why.

How: it started out as a good app on paper, and Apple yanked all the resources.

Why: Apple is slowly trying to edge out of the podcast "business". It's past the "loss leader" phase and onto the "money hemorrhage" phase.
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 09:50 AM
 
How does a functional podcast app hemorrhage money?
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 11:21 AM
 
Not the apps. Hosting the podcasts.
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 12:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Not the apps. Hosting the podcasts.
I don't think they host them, right? They only include links to the RSS feeds on the sites themselves.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 12:58 PM
 
My mind would be kind of blown. I wondered back in the day when it all started (when it seemed only the last 10 were available) but I figured they knew what they were doing.

It might explain why the download speeds I've been getting are kinda shitty, though.
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 02:43 PM
 
I'm sort of undecided on which design ethos would be better suited.

I feel MacOSX has gotten too "sterile" (Finder, Mail). It looks too IKEA (if that makes sense). And I do not like the random departures from the interface guidelines like with iTunes, AddressBook, etc... just too messy (Quicktime however is great).

I might be alone on this, but i think the "culture" and "charm" from the pre OSX days is sorely missing. (I might just be getting old )

Cheers

EDIT>> I hate the "podcast app" for iOS
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 02:45 PM
 
I still use classic PalmOS. Does this affect me?
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 04:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post
EDIT>> I hate the "podcast app" for iOS
I actually loved the old tape deck. But then, I'm an analog guy, and I worked at the radio when they still had a bunch of M15's sitting in the studios…

Have you used the Podcasts app since updating? The reel-to-reel tape deck is no more, and podcasts are now shown (and played) in order from oldest unheard, even if there are newer issues you've already played.

I'm happy.
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 10:23 PM
 
I actually like how the Notes app works. But other design elements in the Game Center and leather stitching is really appalling.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
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Mar 26, 2013, 10:56 PM
 
I think done very subtly, skeuomorphism adds to a design, e. g. the stitches in Fantastical for iOS are a nice touch, it makes the app feel less sterile. But the tape reel animation in Apple's Podcast app was just gratuitous and took up a ginormous amount of space.
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Mar 27, 2013, 10:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
My mind would be kind of blown. I wondered back in the day when it all started (when it seemed only the last 10 were available) but I figured they knew what they were doing.

It might explain why the download speeds I've been getting are kinda shitty, though.
Apple doesn't host them, but they've still got to run the iTMS back end, and deal with every podcaster in the world on a one-to-one basis. That can't be a small team, and as I said, they make zero dollars from it. Likewise, the era of podcasts having anything to do with pod are long gone.
     
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Mar 28, 2013, 07:41 PM
 
Remember the pinstripes and glossy window controls from Mac OS X Public Beta 3?



It was a new direction and it had to make a big splash. Eventually it got toned down, and iOS will likely follow that path. There was a nice Quora thread on this, particularly answer 4 strikes me as particularly well formulated

What Will Happen To iOS As A Result Of Jony Ive Taking Over Interface Design At Apple? - Forbes

Jon
     
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Mar 29, 2013, 11:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I actually loved the old tape deck. But then, I'm an analog guy, and I worked at the radio when they still had a bunch of M15's sitting in the studios…

Have you used the Podcasts app since updating? The reel-to-reel tape deck is no more, and podcasts are now shown (and played) in order from oldest unheard, even if there are newer issues you've already played.

I'm happy.
I should have probably said that the primary reason I hate that app is because I found it cumbersome and difficult to use. As far as the look, to me, it was really "caked on". Just a bit too much. IMHO
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Mar 31, 2013 at 02:58 PM. )
     
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Mar 29, 2013, 11:35 AM
 
It's hard for me to describe or even qualify what I mean by "culture/charm" in products..... but here is an example that comes to mind. My apologies for harping on about this OS...

The "updates" icon made me smile when I first saw it...


The iOS equivalent is a line of text in general preferences. Ugh

Cheers
( Last edited by Hawkeye_a; Mar 31, 2013 at 02:57 PM. )
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 12:33 PM
 
Isn't skeuomorphic design kind of (I don't know how else to express it) pathetic?

Think about it: It is basically a crutch; a sort of fraudulent mimetic regression to a former (but inferior) incarnation of the same technology in order to make the user feel more comfortable.

Is new technology really so shocking for the fragile consumer that it has to be presented to him or her in the shabby disguise of an earlier technology?

Isn't it only a little less absurd than an early automobile manufacturer attaching a fake horse head to the front of a motorcar?
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 12:40 PM
 
Or training wheels, depending on your view. There are people out there that just don't get technology.

Edit:

Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
Isn't it only a little less absurd than an early automobile manufacturer attaching a fake horse head to the front of a motorcar?
I don't think it's coincidence that they were called horseless carriages for a time.
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 02:28 PM
 
Yeah.

And the more you think about it the tackier it seems.

Hell, now even my folders on desktop are annoying me.

A cardboard office folder—what more uninspiring design element can there be?

I think if they were replaced by colored rectangles (or something) I would still understand that it is the place to click to get my files.

Dial it down, I say; dial it right down!
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 05:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
Isn't skeuomorphic design kind of (I don't know how else to express it) pathetic?

Think about it: It is basically a crutch; a sort of fraudulent mimetic regression to a former (but inferior) incarnation of the same technology in order to make the user feel more comfortable.

Is new technology really so shocking for the fragile consumer that it has to be presented to him or her in the shabby disguise of an earlier technology?

Isn't it only a little less absurd than an early automobile manufacturer attaching a fake horse head to the front of a motorcar?
...Or a 'Trash'/'Folder' icon? I don't know...... I think computer's have been made/designed to replicate "real world" tasks...but make them more cost and time efficient (speaking in very broad strokes here).

Heck the entire "desktop metaphor" could be lumped up with your definition.

To me "skeuomorphic " would be akin to having a different "theme" for every app, with no human-computer-interface guidelines for consistency. (Maybe consistency is the distinguishing factor?)
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 05:21 PM
 
The point of skeuomorphism is that the design is analogous to real-world counterparts.

I'm pretty sure that the term is not just limited to the imitation of real-world fabric, as so many discussions seem to reduce it.

We can pretty much assume that real-world analogies are here to stay ("buttons" that look and function like real-world push-buttons, gradients and lighting effects, apps that mimic form and function of real-world counterparts, trashcan metaphor, etc.), while the more gaudy MATERIAL imitations (felt GameCenter tabletop, stitched leather) will go away.

I'm hoping that pleasant details like the shimmer of the brushed metal iTunes control as you tilt the iPhone will stay, but I think that Jony Ive will tend to keep such things that make the technology feel more organic and natural (which the sheen does; you don't really notice it), while eschewing those that gratuitously ape things without adding any real value.
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 05:35 PM
 
There's no real-world metaphor for the cloud and god knows that thing is highly misunderstood.
     
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Apr 2, 2013, 06:57 PM
 
What does that have to do with skeuomorphic design?
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 05:18 AM
 
iOS 7 Running Behind, Rumored to Have Significant Visual Makeover - Mac Rumors

In a Branch chat, which at the time of this writing is still going on, Daring Fireball's John Gruber says, according to what he's heard, iOS 7 is running behind schedule and that it will bring a significant user interface (UI) refresh.
What I've heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been pulled from OS X 10.9 to work on it. (Let me know if you've heard this song before.)...

...iMore's Rene Ritchie follows up Gruber's comments, saying that he's heard that Ive's work with iOS 7 is "making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad."
I, for one, welcome our new textureless overlords. Whenever they get here.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 10:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
like the shimmer of the brushed metal iTunes control as you tilt the iPhone
What shimmer?

Mine has no such shimmer.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 10:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
What does that have to do with skeuomorphic design?
My mind is winding the conversational road, but Tiresias brought up Folders as digital analogs to their real world counterparts and I was thinking how other aspects of computing have 'real' names that don't quite work.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 10:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Hawkeye_a View Post

Heck the entire "desktop metaphor" could be lumped up with your definition.
That's true.

In the broadest possible application of the concept everything on a computer screen is a skeuomorph because computers are nothing more than substrates for the operations of digital simulations of real world tasks.

I think Spheric's distinction is reasonable: Useful digital metaphors should stay, but the felt and leather need to go.

And this is the more specific sense in which the word is used in the media.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
What shimmer?

Mine has no such shimmer.
If you have an iPhone 4S it 5:

Open the Music App. Play a song, or switch to "Now playing" view. Take a look at the volume and position buttons as you tilt the phone gently from side to side.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 11:23 AM
 
Metal button shimmer also works on the iPhone 4 with iOS6. I have one, it works.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 11:24 AM
 
Hey, that's cool!

Never even noticed it before. (^____^)
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 11:32 AM
 
See, you're not supposed to notice it. Chances are good, though, that your subconscious took note and reacted to it as "natural".
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 11:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
My mind is winding the conversational road, but Tiresias brought up Folders as digital analogs to their real world counterparts and I was thinking how other aspects of computing have 'real' names that don't quite work.
Ah, I see. It's not the name, though, as the analogy an interface is built around. Files and folders are present in the interface because of the office desktop metaphor.

The cloud, ideally, has no interface, and is simply wafting around in the background. That's the way it works on iOS. The Mac isn't there, yet, by a long shot.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 12:07 PM
 
I actually like skumorphism when it's done well. The problem is that a lot of Apple's skumorphic designs are pretty bad.

It's one thing to have stitched leather and another thing to have bright orange stitched leather with huge fugly stiches.

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Apr 3, 2013, 12:09 PM
 
The thing about the podcast wasn't the reel metaphor – it was that the devotion to the metaphor was hamstringing the app. I remember having to 'open' the cover just to check the time (and possibly the controls?). A total cart before horse situation.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 01:09 PM
 
The reel metaphor wasn't great. What percentage of people using the app have even seen one of those in real life?

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people who have are in the "dead" demographic.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 01:13 PM
 
Anything other than a cd seems to be trying too hard. Hipster-like, if you will.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 01:16 PM
 
I would have went spectrum analyzer type thingy. Or big VU meters. People still have an idea of what those are.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 02:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I would have went spectrum analyzer type thingy. Or big VU meters. People still have an idea of what those are.
There's a VU in the recorder app, where it belongs.

I miss the tape machine. It was totally gratuitous, but Dakar is right that it impeded functionality.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 02:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Anything other than a cd seems to be trying too hard. Hipster-like, if you will.
CDs have no relation to podcasts, though. Time-shifted downloadable radio is a development that didn't happen until the shift away from CDs, and never *could* happen with physical media.

When I worked at radio, I shuttled the tapes back and forth between editors and studios, where they would be played on the great M15 machines. Radio is very much tied to those tapes for me.

Yeah, I know, old fogey waxing nostalgic, who cares, etc. I do.
     
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Apr 3, 2013, 03:12 PM
 
I'm all for nostalgia. I only experienced full sized reel-to-reel in college (early 90's), but I've used Nagras, and that is a fine bit of Swiss watchmaking right there.

Still, we're talking niche.
     
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Apr 4, 2013, 12:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
...and never *could* happen with physical media.
Well, if you don't mind waiting 20 seconds, you could do it with a 72X CD-ROM. It'd read the entire audio CD data in about 20 seconds, then if it had a 1GB memory buffer, you could do all the time shifting you like.

It'd be rather impractical, but it could happen.

Or you could have a device that creates timing codes for any audio CD you put in it. A better solution would have been for all CDs to have timing codes on it anyway, some meta data indicating how long the songs are, which tracks it takes up on the CD, etc. Throw in a memory buffer, and it could skip to anywhere on the CD to any point of any song that you'd like.
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