Eric Bergman-Terrell's Blog

There's a Word for That: Skeuomorph
February 28, 2012

Designers often make new-technology user interfaces unnecessarily mimic designs of the past. For instance, I've seen numerous note-taking applications waste a substantial amount of screen real-estate displaying a spiral wire binding. A skeuomorph is an object that mimics past designs unnecessarily. I mean "unnecessarily" in a technical sense. It may be good that early digital cameras were shaped exactly like film cameras, but they didn't have to be. Other skeuomorphs: hard disk file folders rendered as manilla folders, save buttons decorated with floppy disk icons, digital timepieces that display hour and minute hands.

I learned this word from an article in the now ironically named WIRED website that, these days, mostly covers wireless technology.

Count the skeuomorphs:

Count the skeuomorphs

(I counted 13).

Keywords: There's a Word for That, skeuomorph

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