The role and benefits of skeuo- and neumorphism in interaction design

 I‘ve said it many times over the last few years. But today with even more certainty, I‘ll say it again: skeuomorphism is coming back.

— Tobias Van Schneider (2020) 

Skeuomorphism is a term most often used in graphical user interface design to describe interface objects that mimic their real-world counterparts in how they appear and/or how the user can interact with them. Based on skeuomorphism and the famous design trend flat design, a new combination of both – neumorphism – is evolving the design tools. 

Apple was the first company who revolutionized skeuomorphism and integrated it in their standard user interface design. They took advantage of human‘s preferences to things that are similar and created an interface, where no introductions are needed to understand what the icons stand for. In the last years, some design critics were talking about the dearth or even the death of skeuomorphism, but the trend is coming back and has evolved with a completely adapted design. 

I‘m interested in the opportunities, that skeuo- and neumorphic interface design are having in the design world right now, concering user experience, design itself and especially usability. This design techniques give materials a new physicality and integrate the analog world into the digital, not the other way around. It‘s easy to make it responsible throughout the reduced look and color palette and makes it possible to adapt new technologies among all segments of users. Increasing the level of usability is definitely the greatest benefit, due to intuitive use of the skeuomorphism object.

I‘m curious in how skeuomorphism/ neumorphism is used in the digital world nowadays and how it will evolve our future smart devices or even the whole web, based on it‘s usability improvement. Are there fields exploring, where this design trend can be used? For example, can it be used in a modern way to help the elder generation use the smartphone and learn the common gestures? Are the common gestures changing or developing, because of the intuitive use of skeuo- / neumorphic design elements? Does it change the tools designers are working with? What mental methods can be used to attract the human eye? Can the simple characteristic e.g. of buttons in neumorphism become problematic (good asthetic, less usability throughout minimalistic design)? Are there ways to integrate it in the 3D world? 


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