On my radar: An obscure word is changing digital life
It’s rather telling that you cannot find a definition of skeuomorph in most printed dictionaries, yet you can in cyberspace. It’s a very obscure word that has suddenly appeared on my radar in the past two weeks, and with good reason. This little-known word describes perfectly a significant tipping point we have reached in our digital worlds.
In terms of functionality, it doesn’t have to look like a dustbin, but visually it creates a reassuring bridge between the physical and digital worlds. The same applies to many of the icons we use daily on our computers or smartphones, like calendar pages that appear to flip or tear off, lined note paper on screen-top memos and wood-grained “shelves” that house our digital books and magazines.
There is no practical reason these icons or finishes have to resemble real life objects; it simply keeps us anchored in the offline world as we venture further and further into a digital realm. However, there are two reasons this is all about to change and, in turn, change your daily interaction with your digital devices.
Firstly, most skeuomorphs are detail-heavy in terms of design. Keeping icons and symbols looking like fake three-dimensional objects simply means that the device uses up more time and data space maintaining something that is, in essence, not needed.
As smartphones become more and more sophisticated, processing power and speed are what provides a competitive edge between brands. Changing the imagery into flatter, two-dimensional objects would cut out a lot of unnecessary design elements like shadows and reflections that lend digital icons a three-dimensional feel, and therefore increase processing speed.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at City Press