Skeuomorphs and Metros

From last few months I am researching on best practices for designing mobile applications. iPhone apps leading in all aspects cause of their skeumorphic designs but maybe that’s temprorary.

Skeumorphic Design iPhone A skeumorph is an element of design or structure that serves little or no purpose in the artifact fashioned from the new material but was essential to the object made from the original material. A very good example is what you might be wearing right now, your jeans. The age of your jeans serve no purpose whatsoever – they’re just an aesthetic hangover from a time when denim was too thick to be held together just be stitching, purely to make you feel comfortable.

The age and ruggedness in case of jeans is skeumorphic. You don’t think much about them, but it makes you feel good.

apple skeumorphic design

Apple’s Skeumorphic Design

Apple’s uses Skeumorphic design patterns for their apps. Check the notes, voice memos, organizers. We are full of Skeumorphs all around us. Our old jackets, our cars, bikes all are good example of skeumorphs. No matter how old they get or how many scratches they have we love them and we don’t want to replace them just cause of scratches or age. People even say that Apple’s overdoing their Skeumorphic designs but who cares? They lead the market as of now.

A question comes, are skeumorphic designs forever? Can’t there be better designs than that? Microsoft answered that question well by launching Metro Style apps for Windows 8 against Skeumorphic apps.

metro style apps

Microsoft Metro Style Apps

Microsoft recently introduced metro style apps when skeumorphic apps are already in the market. You can experience them on Windows Phone, Windows 8, XBOX. Windows 8 is build on Metro design language. The UI looks clean, elegant and fast. After trying few apps, I thought it will give a stiff competition to Apple’s Skeumorphic design patterns.

It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. -Steve Jobs

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