Adam Greenfield on Apple’s Infatuation With Skeuomorphic Graphic Design

Adam Greenfield:

I’m talking about the persistent skeuomorphic design cues that spoor applications like Calendar, Compass, iBooks and the truly awful Notes. The iPhone and iPad, as I argued on the launch of the original in 2007, are history’s first full-fledged everyware devices — post-PC interface devices of enormous power and grace — and here somebody in Apple’s UX shop has saddled them with the most awful and mawkish and flat-out tacky visual cues. You can credibly accuse Cupertino of any number of sins over the course of the last thirty years, but tackiness has not ordinarily numbered among them.

This trend used to bother me as well, but I’ve grown to accept it. I think the trick is in doing it well — when it is, it makes people happy. I like the iPad Calendar app, for example. What I don’t understand is Apple’s lack of consistency in this regard. Why does the iPad Calendar app get the skeuomorphic treatment but not the iPhone version? (Notes, for example, gets it in both.)

Monday, 28 June 2010