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qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

Former iPhone UI designer defends Apple's fake-leather design philosophy

An interesting article at cool site.

A former senior UI designer at Apple recently described to me the criticism he once received directly from Steve Jobs. In reaction to a redesigned feature he showed the late Apple CEO, the source says Jobs felt his design was too minimalist. "He was like, 'I want it to look like a Chiclet; I want to be able to lick it; I want it to be like glass on water,'" the designer recalls. "He wanted to create this feeling of a really beautiful, physical gem-like element."

For those paying attention to our recent articles on design at Apple and Microsoft, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jobs’s approach to software design was inspired by the physical world. Many of the UI elements found in Apple’s software--such as Calendar’s leather-stitching or iBooks’ wooden shelves--are real-life visual metaphors designed to make on-screen applications more legible and intuitive. During my reporting for Fast Company's feature on design at Microsoft, which was part of our October design issue, I learned that many Apple veterans and industry experts find that approach distasteful and confusing. Others, meanwhile, believe it’s crucial to creating an accessible, inviting user experience. Today, a former key member of the iPad and iPhone UI teams defends the latter camp and Apple’s so-called skeuomorphic design philosophy.

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yes I'm brazilian xD

Commenting on this Forum topic will be automatically closed on November 13, 2012.

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

awesome article.

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

Same reason why we use the Floppy disc still to symbolize saving. We haven't used that actively in nearly a decade now. It's iconic and some times throw backs to older tech only aid in resonance from pre-established expectations..

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

Part of the entire experience. Read the Jobs biography and they dive deeply into all this stuff - how it came about and why. In the long run, Jobs will be recognized as one of the great designers of our time as well as one of the great icons of the computer age.

Ivan's picture

I love this design style because it helps me identify at a glance where am I and what am I doing. It's a small think but over hours this increases my productivity significantly.

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

iPod generation never played a cassete tape... maybe It's cool for us but don't for them.

yes I'm brazilian xD

veebra94's picture
1 pencil

That's what I love about Apple and its very simple. Their products are aesthetically pleasing! I am not new to computers, but I can say there is a value in design-inspired computing. If I'm going to spend a good portion of my day on a computer at least give me something pretty to look at :)

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

what do you think about Windows 8 minimalist UI design? Is it boring?

yes I'm brazilian xD

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

From what I've seen*

Boring, unusable (gimmick interface) and unproductive for the purposes of a desktop computer. It works more feasibly as a proper mobile platform and that is in part due to the tasks and limitations of a smart phone/ tablet. I don't understand half of the gestures in their promo touch screen video which seems to discount any sort of intuitive feature.

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

I installed Win 8 again with Parallels to investigate this UI.

It's very very annoying... I needed to pin a shortcut on Start interface

http://blog.laptopmag.com/how-to-shutdown-windows-8-in-just-one-click

only to shut down. I'm in doubt if I'm older or Steve Balmer's brain is becoming sluggish

yes I'm brazilian xD

YoungZM's picture
917 pencils

Nono, I'm 22, used Windows OS variations all my life and can hardly figure out Windows 8. It is by far the worst desktop operating system I have ever seen. There's a very beautiful elegance in Apple and how they treat their mobile and desktop operating system versions. They merge and meld flawlessly while including key frameworks that separate the two because the two are functionally separate. Can someone make an operating system that's loaded onto any device? Yes. Microsoft has proved that. Should it be done and has it succeeded? Hell no, they're selling more copies of Windows 7 than they EVER have from people trying to escape this terrible pre-loaded mess when they buy a new computer. People have been deactivating old copies from past PCs and transferring operating systems, pirating them, anything to escape what is Windows 8. They have so royally screwed up, it's actually impressive.

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

from what i see on the w8 preview vid. it shows a ton of communication and social media uses. but nearly no actual productive WORK being done

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

I tried Windows 8 UI here with Parallels that came on Macupdate bundle... My experience was worst than Vista... Sometimes I can't return to application I'd opened, it's very "roller coaster" feeling that causes me panic. The buttons are so indistinguishable, it's very annoying and get me tired.

yes I'm brazilian xD

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

thats kinda the feeling i got just looking at it...

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

I've always been bothered by the leather "desk calendar" design. I'm old enough to remember when most desks had something like that, but only those of secretaries and other lower-eschelon office employees, not their bosses. To me, therefore, they are a reminder of a long-gone (and good riddance!) business paradigm and also, to this on again/off again vegetarian, more than a little disturbing. I would love having a choice between the leather (in a color one of my university design professors referred to , in his fabulous Croatian accent, as "Baby Shit Brown") and something more airy or industrial steel -- or better yet, that I could customize myself.

Mara

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

interesting point you bring up mara. though i am a fan of making electronic tools behave similarly to the objects they mimic, there is always the variable of personal perception.

example being you have (for both generational and personal reasons) a negative connection to the "leather" calendar. when i have a completely opposite experience with it.

i do wonder though, why they wouldnt give users the option of say, leather, metal or plastic?

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

I was the boss and I had one on my desk. I loved them. Not for the calendar - mine was rarely (if ever) on the right month. I loved having a big sheet of paper on my desk at all times to write notes.

Ivan's picture

Wait, why would a vegetarian care about a leather bound calendar? You're not eating that cow or you can't even handle cow skin? Please explain! :)

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

sometimes I feel all these things kitsch... over... heavy...
who really needs to put a ceramic penguin over the refrigerator?

yes I'm brazilian xD

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

Well, Ivan, I don't claim to be a true vegetarian -- I merely refuse to eat "factory meat" and sometimes go for quite a while doing without it altogether. Usually, leather for mass-produced items like desk accessories are a byproduct of factory slaughter operations, and I don't want to support that. I believe you would find most vegetarians (and certainly vegans) think this way.

Art D., yeah, you're right about those fancy desk blotter type things. I remember bosses having them. The secretaries were more likely to have faux leather versions. I oversimplified.

Mara

qwertyale's picture
2048 pencils

Jony Ive Leaves His Mark As Skeuomorphism Concept Vanishes From One App

BY BRYAN M. WOLFE on Fri March 22nd, 2013

It has been nearly six months since Tim Cook fired long-time iOS manager Scott Forstall. Now, we’re beginning to see what this shakeup has meant for the company, and for iOS.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the new setup has brought together Apple’s industrial design team, led by Jony Ive, and Apple’s mobile software, or “human interface” team, managed by Greg Christie.

“A thawing,” has occurred between the two groups, according to an unnamed Apple employee. This has resulted in increased “collaboration across hardware, software, and services.

During the Steve Jobs era, Apple’s hardware and software teams rarely worked together. This dynamic lead to the odd mix between Ive’s industrial hardware design, and Forstall’s concept of skeuomorphism as it relates to software.

Craig Federighi is the overall leader of Apple’s far-reaching software engineering team. However, Ive also has an influence on both iOS and OS X in his new position as Vice President of Human Interface.

Very little is known about iOS 7, Apple’s first mobile OS without Forstall as a manager. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Ive is pushing a “’flat design’ that is starker and simpler” than past versions.

The first indication of what the iOS reboot may ultimately look like takes the form of the recently updated Podcasts app. Version 1.2, which Brent Dirks previously mentioned, includes a number of new tools. However, its biggest change is the loss of the reel-to-reel skeuomorphism of past versions.


I don’t expect Apple to reinvent the wheel with iOS 7. However, bringing to market little tweaks like the one above could go a long way at bringing better synergy between Apple’s hardware designs and the software that runs on them.

In the coming months, AppAdvice will provide full coverage of iOS 7 from the first time a beta is announced right through its public release. We hope that you will join us!

http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/03/jony-ive-leaves-his-mark-as-skeuomorphism-concept-vanishes-from-one-app

yes I'm brazilian xD

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

Interesting post, Qwerty - thanks. I figured there would be some down time for transition with Apple after Jobs passing. Some fresh ideas from another genius like Ives can be a very good thing.

wgzn's picture
2124 pencils

"They have so royally screwed up, it's actually impressive."

that's awesome Z. i'm going to use that.

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

I'm sending that one to my PC-loving brother who was praising the Windows phones just yesterday.

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