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User Interface Design Trends: What Is Skeuomorphic Design?

Many user interface trends have their own terms that sometimes use arcane wording. One of the great examples of this is skeuomorphic design, even if the definition of it is relatively straightforward.

Skeuomorphic design means interface objects mimicking real-world counterparts. Think design graphics that represent everyday objects we use in work or at home.

How can you use this in web design to give a more practical way to connect with visitors to your site? Expect to see this design trend continue into 2021 and beyond.

Mimicking Everyday Objects

A good example of a skeuomorphic design element is creating something as common as a calendar or a diary. How would someone react to seeing a web page designed with these everyday items?

As strange as it sounds, it often hits a nerve with users in bringing a more practical feel to web design. One reason is it brings a real connection to real-life objects, offering a more relatable way to convey ideas and a particular brand.

Part of this falls under illustrative design, another top trend designers use nowadays. It means digitally drawing objects in a particular style to represent your brand rather than using common graphics or real imagery.

Digitally representing a diary on a landing page is a great way to visualize how skeuomorphic design works. It is just a start in how to set it up and the possibilities.

Bringing More Emotional Responses to Digital Devices

The use of skeuomorphic design in apps is more common now since this design method goes beyond using everyday objects. It can also mean mimicking digital devices to give the feel the app is the actual device.

Many have written about this design trend as a controversial idea. Yet, it continues to endure, if minimalism and flat design taking it away for a time.

Now with tech devices like Apple Watch becoming so mainstream, you can see how skeuomorphic design really works on a smaller scale. Apple Watch is a perfect example of this design implementation, particularly its main interface of using digital numbers on-screen to mimic a real watch.

What are some other good skeuomorphic design ideas you can use on your website? Many digital objects we now take for granted can be incorporated into your web page to give a sense of familiarity.

Can You Still Create an Experience Out of Skeuomorphic Design?

One particular argument once said skeuomorphic design took away from creating real experiences on a website. Some might argue that mimicking real-world devices has the potential to create more clutter rather than well-designed pages.

A favorable argument in defense of skeuomorphism is it allows a user to quickly navigate a site based on familiarity with the digital depiction of an object. Considering websites only have less than a minute to get a user to stick around, seeing something they recognize means navigating immediately without figuring out how everything works.

People want information in seconds, and this allows them to click on a familiar button or flick a digital dial to quickly navigate from one place to the other.

Design experts call this “perceived affordances”, with door handles and push buttons being two good examples of what this means.

Other Objects You Could Use in Skeuomorphism

Some of the most basic items that tap into skeuomorphism include mimicking blank pieces of notebook paper, stationery, menu designs, and various digital displays.

It is not uncommon to see some sites using imagery of calculators, digital clocks, and even stereo/soundboard dials. Latter is often common on places that use audio elements to tell a brand story.

Countless other objects can also be incorporated and not just digital items. Design elements like this will likely become common in the coming year, if always the possibility of going in and out of style as it already has.


Visit us at Jaroop to learn more about the latest user interface design trends.

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