neumorphism-will-not-kill-the-skeuomorphism-star

Or, as my three-year-old daughter says, “click here, granddad!”

Everything began with a couple of stories of Michal Malewicz, here on Medium. Now it’s trending in different sites and communities.

Malewicz wrote about a “new skeuomorphism” in UI design. Jason Kelley proposed “neumorphism” for the new trend.

In the beginning, it seemed like a new aesthetic proposal. Original, but only in the design sense. But as the term became viral in specialized sites and communities, it also became a discussion about the neumorphism as a replacement of the flat design trend.

Some of the discussions involve terms like usability, accessibility, adaptability, even biomorphism.

And of course, skeuomorphism.

Let’s start with definitions: neumorphism is a form, new, but form. Skeuomorphism is not just a form, but a container, a vehicle.

The term skeuomorph is compounded from skeuos (σκεῦος), meaning “container or tool”, and morphḗ (μορφή), meaning “shape”—Wikipedia

On silent film, intertitles and interpreters

In the beginnings of cinema (silent film era), every projection was accompanied by music played live, and by an interpreter who explained the film to the public.

Yes, a person explained the silent film during the projection.

The theatrical part—the drama—was perfectly understood by the audience. But not the montage, the sequence of shots that build the plot.

The use of intertitle cards and interpreters were necessary to understand the plot for most of the audience.

Intertitle cards and interpreters were the interfaces between the movie and the audience.

An intertitle from Jonas Mekas’s Walden (from Wikipedia)

Of course, once the audience learned the language of cinema, the intertitles and interpreters were no longer necessary. The interface became implicit for the people.

In other words, once the audience understood the form, the container or the vehicle was no longer necessary.

Well, not for everyone. My daughters (from three to fourteen years old) understand very complicated movies of TV series that are difficult for my parents (from seventy to eighty years old).

When my eldest daughter explains to my mother an element of the plot hidden in a complex montage of a movie—obvious for the young, inconspicuous for the old one—, my daughter becomes an interface.

What is an interface, anyway?

Design is no longer a print to look at or a furnishing to use. Design is now about interactions and experiences.

That doesn’t mean that we can forget the communication factor of every design. Therefore, language.

Let’s remember a little of Semiotics.

The designer is the sender, the interface is the message, the user is the receiver. The message is coded, composed of ruled signs, a language.

Every interface is some kind of interpreter between a machine and a human, a software program (now called an app) and a user.

In the current apps, we call a button a button because of previous knowledge of what a button is in the physical world, no matter if it looks like a physical button or not.

You can say a digital button is a metaphor for the physical button. Or you can say it’s a metonymy. Anyway, there is a referent and there is a reference.

From an unidentified webcomic, according to The Verge

The interface is a message

When Marshall McLuhan introduced its famous phrase “the medium is the message”, it was considered just a way to call for attention. It was difficult to understand that the cinema itself was a message and not just the content of the movies.

Today, it should be clear that an interface is a medium, therefore, an interface is a message.

For me, the save icon on a button in an app is a metaphor or metonymy of a floppy disk. For my daughter, the icon means directly “save”. And a floppy disk is a physical representation of the “save” icon.

When a designer mimics an object to design another—called a derivative—retaining ornamental attributes in the new one that are no longer functional, the designer is using skeuomorphism: light bulbs were derivatives from candles, automobiles from horse carts, radio receivers from phonographs.

The skeuomorphism can be a resource that works as an interpreter, container or vehicle in the use of transitional objects or forms—although it can be a simple design style, of course.

You can experience and learn to use an app using your previous experience and knowledge using physical objects: volume dial, keyboard, switch button…

But once we learn to use the digital object, the skeuomorphism is no longer necessary. Once we get used to the form, we no longer need the container.

The first apps for the iPhone were very skeuomorphic. Then came the material design, with its minimalism and functionalism.

But the material design style was only possible because we, the users, learned to use digital interfaces without the need of physical references.

Well, not for everyone. Do you remember the language of films?

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

My daughters (especially the youngest) interact seamlessly with their apps and games on the smartphone or the tablet. Simpler apps are difficult if not impossible for my parents.

For my three-year-old daughter a flat design button is a button. For my father it is a colored rectangle with some text on it.

With a limited verbal vocabulary, my little daughter becomes an interface when she says “touch here, granddad!” pointing to a colored square ot a picture thumb.

(By the way, my dad’s response is “how does she know that?”.)

Conclusions

If you are making a movie for my parents, be gentle with the montage and camera movements, please. If you are designing an app for my parents, you have to use skeuomorphism. It’s not an aesthetic decision.

But if you are making a movie or designing an app for my daughters, you have more aesthetic freedom. Make complex montages, move the camera, use material design.

The use of skeuomorphism can be minimalistic or prodigal. There is no need to go baroque with skeuomorphism. In fact, I think that the real problem with skeuomorphism was not the mimic aspect of it, but the non-minimalistic and non-functional approach of its use in digital design.

The skeuomorphism in UI design will die someday in the future, like the need for intertitle cards and interpreters in the movies.

But not yet. There are personas in the design of user experiences and interfaces that still need a container, a vehicle, an interpreter, to understand the form.

My parents still need it.

82 comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else
    encountering issues with your blog. It looks like some of the text in your
    posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback
    and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Thank you

  2. Wow, awesome blog format! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made running a blog glance easy. The total look of your website is excellent, as well as
    the content!

  3. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out
    there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Kudos!

  4. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the superb work!

  5. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us
    have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange strategies with
    other folks, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  6. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it,
    you could be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your
    blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage continue your great job, have a nice day!

  7. What’s up to every single one, it’s truly a pleasant for me to go to see this
    site, it includes useful Information.

  8. What’s up to every one, because I am in fact keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated
    on a regular basis. It contains fastidious stuff.

  9. Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

  10. Wonderful web site. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to several pals ans additionally
    sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks on your sweat!

  11. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am
    impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part
    🙂 I care for such information much. I was seeking this certain info for a
    very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  12. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to
    see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop, just so she
    can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  13. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this
    board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.

    I’m hoping to give something again and aid others such as you aided me.

  14. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through problems
    with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it.
    Is there anyone else getting the same RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will
    you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  15. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum
    it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new
    to everything. Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

  16. Wonderful post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more
    on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate
    a little bit more. Thanks!

  17. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any suggestions?

  18. Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too.
    This kind of clever work and reporting! Keep up the amazing works guys
    I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  19. I all the time used to read paragraph in news papers but now as
    I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for articles or reviews,
    thanks to web.

  20. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it
    seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just
    posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  21. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back sometime soon.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great work, have
    a nice day!

  22. It’s in reality a nice and useful piece of information. I’m
    satisfied that you just shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  23. I don’t even know how I stopped up here, but I believed this put up was good.
    I don’t understand who you might be but definitely you are going to
    a well-known blogger should you aren’t already.

    Cheers!

  24. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this
    brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my
    Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this site
    with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  25. You need to take part in a contest for one of the best websites on the web.
    I most certainly will highly recommend this site!

  26. Hi there, I found your site by way of Google whilst looking for a related topic, your website came up, it appears to be like great.
    I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, just became aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it is
    really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate in the event you proceed this {in future}.

    Lots of other people can be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

  27. An intriguing discussion is worth comment.
    I do think that you ought to publish more about
    this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people do not speak about such issues.
    To the next! All the best!!

  28. I do consider all of the ideas you’ve introduced for your post.
    They are really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are too brief for newbies.
    Could you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  29. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS.

    I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody else having the
    same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you
    kindly respond? Thanks!!

  30. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info.
    I am happy that you just shared this useful information with us.

    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  31. What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you’re
    no longer actually much more well-appreciated than you may be right now.
    You are so intelligent. You realize thus considerably in the case of this subject, produced
    me in my opinion imagine it from so many numerous angles.

    Its like women and men don’t seem to be fascinated unless it’s one thing to do
    with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent.
    All the time care for it up!

  32. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.

    I will bookmark your blog and check again here
    frequently. I’m quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  33. Heya! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I had to
    ask. Does running a well-established blog such as yours take
    a massive amount work? I am brand new to blogging however I do write in my journal everyday.

    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my experience and feelings online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers.

    Appreciate it!

  34. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  35. Excellent article. Keep writing such kind of info on your blog.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and in my view suggest to my friends.
    I’m confident they will be benefited from this website.

  36. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of
    the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using
    Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and am anxious about switching
    to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net.
    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  37. Magnificent web site. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to a
    few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously,
    thank you in your effort!

  38. Simply want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness on your put up is
    simply nice and that i could assume you’re knowledgeable on this subject.

    Fine together with your permission let me to clutch
    your feed to stay updated with imminent post. Thanks one million and
    please keep up the rewarding work.

  39. I am sure this post has touched all the internet viewers, its
    really really good post on building up new
    website.

  40. I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content to suit your
    needs? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on a
    number of the subjects you write regarding here.
    Again, awesome web site!

  41. hey there and thank you for your information – I’ve definitely picked up
    anything new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site,
    since I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your
    placement in google and could damage your quality score if
    advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS
    to my email and could look out for much more of your respective
    fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon.

  42. What i don’t understood is in fact how you’re not actually much more neatly-preferred than you
    may be right now. You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this topic,
    made me personally believe it from so many numerous angles.
    Its like men and women aren’t fascinated except it’s one thing
    to do with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent. All the time handle it up!

  43. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for
    me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer
    to create your theme? Excellent work!

  44. That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this
    one. A must read post!

  45. Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused ..

    Any tips? Thank you!

  46. Since the admin of this website is working, no uncertainty
    very shortly it will be renowned, due to its quality contents.

  47. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.

    I was seeking this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  48. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say
    superb blog!

  49. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also
    the rest of the website is also very good.

  50. I am curious to fijd out what blog system you’reutilizing?
    I’m having some minor security problems with my latest blog and I would like
    to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?

    Stop by my site … top HD porn

  51. I blog often and I really appreciate your information.
    This great article has really peaked my interest.
    I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking
    for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

  52. hey there and thank you for your information – I have certainly
    picked up something neww from right here. I did however expertisae some technical
    points using this web site, as I experienced to reload the website a
    lot of times previous to I couuld get it to load correctly.

    I had been wondering iff your hosting is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, buut sluggish loading
    instances times willl sometimes affect your placement in a XXX site
    google and can damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for a lot more of youir respective interesting content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  53. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and
    I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and
    aid others like you aided me.

  54. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never discovered any fascinating article like yours.
    It is beautiful price sufficient for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the web
    shall be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  55. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright
    violation? My blog has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored myself or
    outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help stop content from
    being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.