“You could argue that Apple’s Scott Forstall-era iPhone software gave digital skeuomorphic designs a bad name, especially after skeuomorphism escalated to an obnoxious level in iOS 6 which culminated with Forstall’s departure and the Great Flattening of iOS,” Christian Zibreg reports for iDownloadBlog.
“A software calendar with a skeuomorphic design would typically imitate the appearance of binding on a paper desk calendar complete with faux coiled wire hinge. Or, a note-taking app might mimic the appearance of yellow post-it notes and implement faux leather stitching,” Zibreg reports. “This was the golden age for skeuomorphism.”
“Tired of minimalism, one designer wants to bring skeuomorphism back,” Zibreg reports. “Available on Dribble, [designer Michael Flarup’s] skeuomorphic concepts for the Opus One app veer off the path of minimalism, expectedly evoking strong reactions. As evidenced by the screenshots, you probably haven’t seen this amount of skeuomorphism on an iPhone X before.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Certainly parts are useful (the colored tabs) while others are unnecessary (the binding rings).
I really hate the grey in grey. I get that minimalism allows you to concentrate on the content, which is great for an entertainment device. But colour is a distinguishing characteristic that allows quick identification of icons/tools in production environments. To have apps (and the OS) grey in grey is simply stupid.
Who knew that black on grey was “bad” design.
Who in the world designs with white or grey on grey?
Agree on grey, horrible decision for legibility and as stupid as stupid design can get.
“I get that minimalism allows you to concentrate on the content”
I disagree, not true. That is a tired modern art canard. Skeuomorphism has been used for over a hundred years in all types of print publications, computer OS, Internet design, etc. I don’t focus anymore or any less on content because of the visuals. Although, possibly with Playboy, the articles might seem further off. 😉
“But colour is a distinguishing characteristic that allows quick identification of icons/tools in production environments.”
Yes, color IS content when used effectively …
Nope. The worst part of this design is that the designer has gone back to pre-iOS 6 rounded corners (think iOS 6 springboard icons) instead of using a CAShapeLayer and UIBezier path to define and mask the corners. There is a distinction between a designer that makes “screenshots” and then renders them with Adobe software into Apple’s gorgeous hardware for further appeal, and somebody that designs by code and for that matter, for iOS.
My message to the so called “designers” at Dribbble is, stop doing that. Jony Ive clearly stated even from the first iPhone that the UI is all you see – it’s all screen. If you need to use massively of angle, iPhone renders to make your designs look (better) or to give them an unrealistic context – then you don’t understand forward facing iOS users. Stop it.
One thing is thinking Jony Ive has his set of rules as a designer and other to think other designers doesn’t. There will always be good or bad examples of any given idea, and a few that are truly genius
To a degree yes. Right now I might as well be using a gray scale display with any Apple software.
I like it!
It is a design choice. The entire concept of icons sitting on a desktop is skeuomorphic, and we still do much of it in a skeuomorphic manner. What’s so wrong with unnecessary parts? Those are what add a touch of realism to the design. I’m still a fan.
If you want your calendar to look like something other than a calendar, why do you still mostly make it look like a calendar? If you are going to put a border on post it notes, why do you think beveled gray nothing is better than faux leather?
The article is about iOS which in fact uses a springboard (or home screens) Having a concept of a “desktop” on a computer, design aside, a la macOS, isn’t skuomorphism – it’s an abstraction.
“The entire concept of icons sitting on a desktop is skeuomorphic, and we still do much of it in a skeuomorphic manner. What’s so wrong with unnecessary parts?”
I like it too. Nothing wrong with visual clues everyone from toddlers to retirees understand. That’s called visual communication.
“If you want your calendar to look like something other than a calendar, why do you still mostly make it look like a calendar?”
Just f*sking nuts!
“If you are going to put a border on post it notes, why do you think beveled gray nothing is better than faux leather?”
Or felt on a pool table or wood grain on a bookcase?
Bottom line: the minimalist modern art crowd that Apple embraced since Scott’s departure, Jony’s promotion and Steve’s passing are simply having their way now.
They don’t seem to care about esoteric sterile design that many do not get.
As I have posted over the years, offer two types of Apple iOS upgrades: Minimalist or Skeuomorphism. Everybody WINS.
The arrogant egos at Apple can’t get their head around that one …
Grey on grey means you can’t read the content, stupid.
I am tired of text I cannot see (grey on grey), or text I cannot read (fonts that make numeral “6” and “8” look the same), and minimalism without function.
I miss Forstall.
I hate grey in/on grey too.
When listening to music, on my watch there are two grey circles. One with a grey minus sign, the other with a grey plus sign.
I can NEVER tell them apart!!!!!!
Whoever is designing at Apple must be very young with very good eyes and lives in a bubble and has no idea or doesn’t care how anybody else other then themselves think about their really really cool designs.
I don’t think iOS designers test with anyone over 28 years old.
They really need to understand the demographic that buys their phones and watches. Then bring in a bunch of average people in that age group and let them bitch about what they can’t see, read or tell apart from background gray.
Or anyone that lives in flyover country with no local modern art museum …
“no local modern art museum ”
By that I think maybe you mean a museum that shows art that looks like it was created on a purely random basis. And if you can’t “interpret” those random graphics, you are an uneducated country bumpkin?
Think had a good point that the designs are not tested with anyone over 28 years old. I agreed and my “flyover” additional point was they do not test outside the cities and that would include all education levels in city, suburban and rural areas between the coasts.
Herself said it best:
“It isn’t very productive when a user is forced to guess at the meaning of an icon.”
Not only that, as I posted on this thread earlier, some icons are simply IMPOSSIBLE to decipher using visuals alone. That is EPIC visual communication failure as a result of no Art Director oversight AND no one at Apple is going to stand up to Sir Jony’s UEVEN and scattershot designs …
I lose track sometimes in the Calendar apps on both iPhone and Mac OS of where the hell I am because everything looks the same. Not a big deal as I can obviously figure things out and adjust….but sometimes something that actually mimics “flipping” through pages ads a tangibility that meets function because it creates mental barriers between things. I think good design has to be open to both methods, and the best design doesn’t care which it is. It just aims to be the most useful and beautiful, which is what I expect Apple to do well no matter what era we are in.
I love the colorfulness…
binder rings are corny
And also not liking .having a screen inside a screen ( not utilizing the whole screen as the backdrop of the UI )
Agreed the gray on gray is: can’t think of a polite word to describe it, so will just let it ride. Point made.
I absolutely hate the extreme overuse of icons. I work on 3 different operating systems, and at least 12 apps in the course of a day, and you may have your little cutesy icons that have a meaning to you, but I don’t have time to memorize what you happen to mean this day in whatever context you intend.
Minimalism in general; polite word for it is silly.
More and more with iOS apps I find myself wondering :where do I go next!
You may be in love with your app and assume that everyone understands your work flow (or lack of one). I am not so much in love with your app that I can remember the workflow of an app that I might use only once a week. If I don’t get the work flow, I just delete, and seldom miss it.
Just try logic once in a while!
“Minimalism in general; polite word for it is silly.
More and more with iOS apps I find myself wondering :where do I go next!”
Boom! Exactly what has always been wrong and will always be wrong regarding modern art design …
In some ways Apple’s UI design philosophy is designed to reverse the paralysis induced by featuritis, a proliferation of functions represented by inscrutable icons, seen for example in Adobe and Microsoft applications. To this day I hate the ribbon, and still rely upon text menus or Help to locate the thing I want, and often resort to Googling “how to style text” in this or that container because nothing is obvious. Sometimes, I wax nostalgic for the old days of CLI, when my cheat-sheets and keyboard short-cuts made me more productive. It isn’t very productive when a user is forced to guess at the meaning of an icon. I don’t know, maybe it comes naturally to the mind of a millenial and I should just resign myself to my retirement, happy that they don’t shoot horses anymore. But let’s be real: these UI conventions would lead to a meltdown at Three Mile Island, no matter who was operating the controls.
“It isn’t very productive when a user is forced to guess at the meaning of an icon.”
Exactly! A waste of time and visual insult to the viewer.
“I don’t know, maybe it comes naturally to the mind of a millennial”
If esoteric confusion comes naturally to this generation then I fear when they are in power.
Bottom line: Good design is beneficial to all. Confusing design is just that and simply plain modern alternative BAD …
The turning of the Mac GUI into a juvenile art sensibility was a ridiculous change. No thanks Jony Ive!
Obviously, let developers use whatever icon art style they choose. Equally, let Mac users have available to them any GUI art style they choose! Forcing us to use the minimal Mac GUI has been a PITA of UNusability.
I’m still incredibly ticked off at the removal of the empty application bar in the stupid new Safari GUI. It creates a variety of problems, such as an inability to move Safari windows around on my desktop. I’ve written Apple several times requesting that it be put back again or make it an option in the View menu. Instead, I’m stuck stuffing blank ‘flexible space’ into the toolbar in order to have something to grab. Turning off Safari Extensions, which I do daily for a variety of reasons, means my workaround is shoved off to the left of the toolbar. I therefore have to move the ‘flexible space’ items back where I want them again. It’s idiotic!
Bad Apple! Bad!
Amen, brother! They have to pull their dead creative head out of their arse …
Clearly, putting Jony Ive in charge was a mistake. Jobs was a Renaissance man, Cook and Ive are champions of effete sensibilities.
The one thing I Always hated was that I wasn’t even given a Choice !
It was their Bland Way or the Highway.
Android has taken the same, it’s Flat and Boring or Nothing, path.
I understand the theory though.
Get paid big bucks to slap something together in 15 minutes that a 6 year old could do with cardboard cutouts.
It’s the Lazy Philosophy of Easy Money spurned on by Silicon Valley.
Skeuomorphism was an important step when computer interfaces were new because people needed to feel a certain familiarity with what they were using. Therefore things like contacts or photo albums which looked like a physical book was a good idea. A voice recorder might look like a cassette machine with rotating spools. Buttons which appear to move when actuated and make a button clicking sound were a welcome idea too, but as we have become used to modern interfaces, there is no longer any reason to use these visual cues unless you specifically want that look.
It’s an aesthetic choice and some will like it while others won’t. My view is that we are well used to the principles of modern interfaces by now and that we no longer need to emulate physical objects for familiarity, but there will always be people who desire something different and the great thing about devices governed by software is that designers can choose to have whatever look they want and users will choose accordingly. In many cases you could choose to design similar functionality with a space age minimalist look, a steam punk Victorian mechanical look or anywhere in between.
“but as we have become used to modern interfaces, there is no longer any reason to use these visual cues”
There are no buts. Modern interfaces are esoteric and confusing to many people from young to old.
For example: Rainbow flower petals for photos?!?!? NO ONE understands that horrible “modern” design that is totally out of place and not representative of photos, not one atomic particle. There are several others like Safari that looks like a needle on a 1950s submarine dial and certainly has nothing visually representative of a web browser.
If Apple bothered to professionally use a design focus group they would have been told to sh*tcan their confused “modern” designs. Something the Apple apologists will NEVER admit to …
“Rainbow flower petals for photos?!?!? NO ONE understands that horrible “modern” design that is totally out of place and not representative of photos, not one atomic particle”
Be careful what you say, they may must adopt that stupid icon for all apps.
“if you loved me you would know what I meant”
Or, the ultimate Jony Ive design; a 4 mm thick slab of aluminum with absolutely no markings. With a year of research into the correct radius of the machined edge.
If you loved me you would know where to touch.
I have the new minimalist space gray trackpad that came with my iMac Pro.. it is like an alien artifact, smooth and black and ominous like the monolith in 2001, so thin it looks like a rectangular hole cut through my desk (with subtly rounded corners) and no markings except for two strokes on the wedge end and an ingeniously concealed switch. The Apple logo is an indistinct indent on the underside. The keyboard is similar, just as absurdly thin as the trackpad but the keycaps actually display symbols – a cowardly concession to useability, but a disappointment to any real aficionado of minimalism. I do own a black Das Keyboard with no symbols that I casually displayed at the office in an attempt to impress people, but that did not work. Only übergeeks check out each other’s gear. All that being said, the trackpad works like a charm.
Steve Jobs didn’t like focus groups, you know. Like Henry Ford, he thought that people didn’t know what they wanted or needed, unless it was a faster horse. Focus groups do not produce innovation, only refinement. That’s why Procter & Gamble still make toothpaste and soap the same way they did 80 years ago.. they use focus groups and can only come up with “new and improved” tweaks. Someone like Ford or Jobs would have ditched that strategy and applied their modern expert knowledge to the problems of hygiene, e.g. nanobots to attack plaque or bioengineered cleaning agents.
But you’re right anyway, if we can agree to restrict the focus groups to intensive pro users, who do have an ability to see into the future to some extent, and can help guide Apple engineers away from the bubble of their own experience. If I can give Tim Cook credit for one thing it is for listening to Apple’s pro users more than Steve Jobs did. The errors of Apple under both men are legion, but Cook has thrown far fewer people under the bus. Maybe he’s been too soft-hearted. 🤨
Did not know that about Steve, but it makes perfect sense since his instincts were second to none.
I have participated in focus design groups and you are spot on. They are simply a guiding light to “refinement.”
“If I can give Tim Cook credit for one thing it is for listening to Apple’s pro users more than Steve Jobs did.”
I am intrigued and puzzled by that statement at the same time. Steve built Apple on the backs of the pros that made desktop computing a reality and affordable for all (arguably), but at the least accessible for power to the people.
Except for a rare appeasing comment from Cook, with nothing released to show for it since 2013, not exactly listening to the pros.
We all expected a MacPro this year based upon previous Cook comments. Now the scuttle but with Apple making their own Mac chips, are we going to wait another TWO years?
Well, sorry to say in my book that’s not listening …
Sensibilities like yours surprisingly overlook what is apparently too obvious apparently for some. There’s a middle space between making a contacts app look like a leather-bound book vs. what we’re stuck with today after iOS 7, which is a white-out unintuitive tribute to Jony’s personal taste and sensibilities at the expense of intuitive and efficient design. Hiding commands and actionable items behind flat design text instead of using button shapes or borders or contrasty colors (like Apple used to be the expert in), as well as burying fequently-used functions behind hamburger icons and layers of submenus has resulted in frustration and inefficiency. All fads come and go and I can’t wait for this flat design white-out blue interface to go the way of the plug-in electric razor.
PS this was in reply to @alanaudio. 🙂
Alan is totally off on this one. He assumes everyone is simply used to esoteric icons that confuse MORE than they communicate and that all people, young and old, new to the platform GET IT — the modern art crap. Sadly, many do not …