Truth in design

Ive is making the point that whilst embellishments (like skeuomorphic design elements) can be perceived as clutter, that’s not the core problem. The actual issue is that such designs focus on analogy rather than essence: a paper book itself, rather than the novel inside.

This is a great article from Matt Gemmell.



  • DanielSw

    I like Gemmell’s pragmatic definition of “truth.”

    What sticks in my mind is when Steve was first demonstrating the iPad in his keynote. He was sitting in a chair and showing us how simple it was in form and function.

    I love my iPad, in the main for this simplicity.

    Apple got the tablet right, where MS substantially missed the concept, both in previous past attempts, and in its current Surface incarnation.

    Perhaps we’ll get at least a glimpse of more “truth” from Mr. Ive during the WWDC keynote.

    • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

      I can’t remember the last time they put Ive on the stage, instead of within a promotional video.

      • lucascott

        He doesn’t like being on stage, so they don’t.

      • Herding_sheep

        He did during the introduction of the unibody MacBook in 2008. Though that was in Apple town hall, not quite as big of a venue as WWDC. But then again, he also spoke in front of the entire company during the celebration of Steve’s life. So he’s certainly not incapable of speaking on stage, and has done so on several occasions.

        I personally would love to see Jony present the new UI concepts. There’s nothing I find more interesting than listening to Jony Ive talk about design and explain processes and philosophies. It’s always very insightful and fascinating.

      • DanielSw

        I wasn’t thinking of him necessarily being on stage as such. I’m simply looking forward to seeing his “truths” via his products, whether they be hardware or software.

  • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

    A very good look at the subject, indeed.

  • lucascott

    Something like the stacks in the photo app is about using ideas from life to make it easier to conceptualizer.

    Paper tears, stitching and shadows that move are just pointless. THAT is what Ive is against. If it has no purpose, don’t bloat things with it. And I agree, especially when you don’t get the important stuff right

  • Gonji

    I think skeuomorphism on the iPad was born out of people not quite knowing what the iPad was; including Apple. (Steve Jobs said in an interview once (can’t find link) that Apple wasn’t quite sure what they had with iPad, so they put it out there to find out). The Skeuomorphic design aided people new to the technology to do tasks electronically that they had only done manually before. Now that iPad has matured, it is time for software design elements to mature as well. That said, skeuomorphism was, I believe, an important step in the evolution of iPad to make it as accessible to as many people as possible. So, I believe Matt is being a tad harsh with his criticisms of Skeuomorphism.

    On an aside, I love the word ‘innobation’. Coincidently this is exactly how innovation it is pronounced in Korea. The Korean language, Hangul, borrows many words from English, reproducing them in Hangul Script. Unfortunately, their is no /v/ phoneme in Hangul, so it is replaced with the ㅂ character which is very similar to the English phoneme /b/. Hence, the ‘v’ is pronounced as ‘b’. Now I know where Samsung got their design philosophy.

    Note: This is not meant as a slight on Korea, its people, nor their beautiful language (though bloody difficult to learn) language. Just a slight on Samsung.

  • Pogo Head

    The irony is that Mr Gemmell’s choice of overly large font size and ugly layout ensures that his site is wagging its whole enormous body in my face. At least I can remove my reading glasses to read it. Are the fonts going to get even bigger, Matt?

    • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

      Don’t go to Zeldman.com if text size is what you like to complain about.

      • Pogo Head

        I see what you mean. Is this a new trend, fonts so big you get two words to a line?

        • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

          Not necessarily a trend, but probably a reaction to designs that use tiny 7-point type for primary text, for reasons other than legibility.