Wednesday, March 13, 2013
A 'skeuomorph'--the most useful word I've learned this year--is a design element in a new product imitating an older, more familiar product that the new product makes obsolete. Skeuomorphism gives new technology an aura of familiarity. A few exemplary skeuomorphs: e-book readers digitally imitating the paper page and copying the size and shape of printed books; computer keyboards imitating the quickly obsolete typewriter; early automobiles resembling and called 'horseless carriages.' Whether intentional marketing devices or side effects of technological innovation, skeuomorphs are all around us. We live in a skeuomorphic world.