Paula Borowska:

Wells Riley made a very good point about skeuomorphism in that skeuomorphism is a design choice and shouldn’t be critiqued as a bad thing unless it harms the usability of the design. If skeuomorphism allows the user to better navigate the interface over a non-skeuomorphism design then it is a better design choice. Sometimes skeuomorphism in a design can be considered unnecessary but this doesn’t mean it is a bad thing.

Really nice overview of what skeuomorphism is and is not. The term is getting an awful reputation, but the majority of people analyzing it look at it from the aesthetic perspective (textures, colors, etc.). It’s a legitimate design style, but (like any design element) if you’re going to employ skeuomorphism, you need to be intentional about it, not just copy an aesthetic.

Take for example a screen I was recently designing for a client: the primary users were very low tech users that needed to have a calling queue. The screen was designed with the metaphor of cards of information that the caller would work through. You can argue about the aesthetic (a personal preference) all day, but when tested, this was significantly more usable for the customer than a table full of data (the other option we were evaluating). We used the mental model of the users to build a digital screen that made sense to them.