¶ Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism describes the creation of an object or design that contains elements that hearken back to attributes or structures of some other material or technique.

Some examples include:

  • An electric light fashioned to look like a candle holder, with light bulbs that resemble candle flames
  • A plastic container stylized or painted to look like it is made of a natural material, like wood
  • A digital music app with an interface designed to look like an analog stereo system
  • A computer's desktop and folder structure, modeled after a physical desk and filing cabinet

Skeuomorphism can help create affordances that help us learn about or understand how to interact with or use a novel object. However, skeuomorphism can also constrain our understanding of the possibilities afforded to us by new technologies.


Related

Citations

Norman, Donald. “Affordances and Design.” Jnd.Org (blog), November 17, 2008. https://jnd.org/affordances_and_design/.


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