No, I’m not quite ready to let the skeuomorphism thing die just yet. Humor me.
I was relieved that Tim Cook dismissed Scott Forstall and put Jony Ive in charge of Human Interface.
I was surprised when I read so many articles that seemed to misinterpret what had just happened.
I lost count of the articles proclaiming the death of skeuomorphism. Such as:
News flash: skeuomorphism is not dead. What’s dead are cheesy, antiquated graphics — like the stitched leather look in Contacts and Calendar. These were aberrations in a world that had been built upon good taste.
Skeuomorphism is a good thing. It’s part of what made Apple what it is today — interface elements presented as real-world references to things we instantly understand. Things like documents, folders, trash cans, calculator, etc.
The leather stitching didn’t just stick out like a sore thumb. It was a skeuomorphic element tied to the wrong century. Rather than relate to something we’re familiar with, it related to something grandpa used to have on his desk.
Were you confused by Calendar before it became leather-bound? Of course not. The leather was an unnecessary visual element. It didn’t make us any more familiar with Calendar, it was just a “theme” being forced upon us. And it was a theme that turned off a great many.
If we’re to use a theme from the 50s to decorate Calendar, how about a typewriter theme to decorate Pages? Why not make the Reminders app look like the old reminder pad? Maybe the one that grandpa used to keep on that old desk calendar?
And what’s with Find My Friends? What’s its excuse for turning into leather?
This is exactly the point. Order was breaking down. Certain Apple interface elements were running off in one direction while others were going in another. It was skeuomorphism for its own sake, not for the sake of clarity.
Jony Ive isn’t going to banish skeuomorphism. He’s going to return it to a state of Apple elegance.
For me, Jony being put in charge of Human Interface is like the new sheriff coming to town to restore order.
The outlaws may not like it one bit. But as a law-abiding citizen, I really can’t wait.