The uses and abuses of Skeuomorphism

This morning’s Observer column.

Or consider this, from Wired magazine, claiming that Apple’s iPhone app, Find My Friends, “includes astonishingly ugly, faux stitched leather that wastes screen space. On the new iCal for the Macintosh, things are odder yet: When you page forward, the sheet for the previous month rips off and floats away, an animation so artless you’d swear it was designed personally by Bill Gates.”

Ouch! What Apple’s designers are being accused of, it turns out, is the grave sin of skeuomorphism. Now there’s a conversation-stopper if ever I saw one. A skeuomorph is, according to the OED, a ‚”derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original”.