Skeuomorphism is a design element that is based on an existing form (or other elements) that the new design copies. An example of this in the physical world are those annoying electric candles that some cheap restaurants are using as the candles are designed to look like wax-burning ones. In the digital world skeuomorphism is often used to show a connection between a digital tool and it’s analog equivalent – like how a calculator app looks like a physical calculator.
Looking at the two sides, there are pros and cons to using skeuomorphism, but looking from my personal view, I think that the application’s visuals are one of the major factors in shaping its overall user experience. As a designer, I think that the app should look good, and this contributes a great deal to the user as they are using your app. Graphical elements of the apps should be artistically accurate, respecting things like consistency in colour or even a light source for button shadows and highlights. Textures shouldn’t be in your face and distracting the user from the main content. Compare the images of iBooks and Contacts above. One of those mimics exactly how a book would appear if it were viewed top down, whilst the other looks flat and unrealistic. On the other hand, getting all these things right and creating a good-looking app just isn’t enough, it needs to be sound interaction wise, as previously mentioned. We’re incredibly passionate at Realmac about good design and are all firm believers of Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Good Design and its strong relevance to user interface design. It’s no secret that Jony Ive and his industrial design team at Apple are fans of this too and many people are expecting this design ethic to be brought over to iOS and OS X after the recent management shakeup in Cupertino.
It’s timely that I just found out about the ePawn, which looks to connect the digital and tactile realms of gaming in a cohesive experience. From their site:
Real objects Get back to real feelings, touch real objects and use them as the most natural interface with a system.
Instead of having 3D screens, have real objects on a screen: is there any better 3D than real 3D? Real Time
ePawn’s tracking solution is fast.
Objects are seamlessly tracked by the system and they can even be used as devices for action games
Check it out in action:
ePawn is looking for a release in the second half of 2012 and until then all we can do is speculate. There are so many questions I have for ePawn, well I’ll just have to wait. So it goes.
I was surprised to find out that they aren’t using RFID and have created their own propriety system of unit detection and placement.
The first annual Digifest is happening in Toronto at the end of the month and it’s shaping up to be a nifty event. The festival aims to encompass a wide spread of the interactive digital scene and is well timed to match up with other events (X-summit and Art, Science, and the Brain) happening in the city.
Digifest is Toronto’s international festival celebrating innovation and digital creativity. From October 26-30, we will be bringing together some of the world’s best and brightest to showcase next generation digital art & design. Established and emerging designers, technologists and artists will come together during Digifest for presentations, incredible demos, interactive exhibitions and parties.
Looks like the end of October is filled with digital, interactive, and gaming conferences!
For those of you who are debating going to X-Summit you’re going to want to get your tickets before the end of the day today. It’s Interactive Ontario‘s annual interactive media conference held in Toronto, albeit with a new name this year. Why they changed the name, I can’t say, I guess some people like it better that way.
X-Summit is happening 24-26th of October in Toronto.
X marks the spot where interactive digital media innovators meet, collaborate, partner and learn.
This two-day business intelligence conference focuses on the areas where cross-media converges; enabling content producers to better tell their stories seamlessly across multiple platforms.
X-Summit embraces innovation and explores the future of cross-media content through active learning, hands-on workshops, round-table discussions, concise presentations, dynamic panel discussions and cutting-edge demonstrations. A departure from typical formats, this next-generation conference will inspire and challenge, outfitting participants with tangible takeaways, fresh ideas to consider and new opportunities to explore.
X-Summit’s thought-provoking and future-oriented content offers insights from outstanding speakers from across the globe who will share their experience, knowledge and strategic foresight, providing valuable insights into the constantly evolving world of cross-media. X-Summit is an unparalleled opportunity for content creators to collaborate with interactive media professionals in a world-class conference setting.
NPD Group is a good resource for market information and they have recently released how they classify video games.
They have done a good job of breaking down the game content and monetization models that exists in the gaming industry. Their categorization makes sense to me and I don’t see anything that has been overlooked.