Last week our very own Sarah Lincoln (right) partook in Upfront’s panel discussion entitled: Skeumorphic Mess vs. the Boring Flatlands: What’s a Digitally Native User Interface? She was more than likely included on the panel to argue in favor of “The Boring Flatlands” with reference to her recent work on the new Ableton.com. Amongst 4 other talented individuals including Conor Delahunty (@conordelahunty), David Kjelkerud (@davidkjelkerud), Kristin Gräfe, who by the way was a former intern at our Berlin office, (@kristinonair) and Timothy Achumba (@iam_timm), they discussed the topic, some more in favor of the flat look, some in between, and some for skeuomorphic stuff.
If you’re not familiar with the two, a basic rule is: Apple, with all it’s faux surface textures and beautiful hyper realistic icons = skeuomorphic, where as Metro (“The New Windows 8 UI”, as per their recent name change…) = flat.
In the end of course as predicted by the MC himself, no conclusion was reached as to which is better than the other, the reason for this I believe is that all members, whether they expressed it or not seemed to agree on the fact that flat design doesn’t make a good interface, and skeuomorphism doesn’t make a bad interface. We should design interfaces to make the function of them easy to understand. If that means adding a paper texture in that particular scenario, then that’s great. If it means having an application which is a blank white screen and lets you type this blog post without distraction, that’s also great.
Photo: Matt Berridge