Is Skeuomorphism outdated?

Popularized in the academic community by Don Norman of all people.

Donald Norman describes skeuomorphism in terms of cultural constraints: interactions with a system that are learned only through culture. Norman also popularized perceived affordances, where the user can tell what an object provides or does based on its appearance, which skeuomorphism can make easy.

So what is it really?

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.

Think the mac trash can. It looks like one. It conceptually works like one.

I would argue that the original mac finder also follows several different skeuomorphic principals. The whole xerox parc files in folders (and folders in folders) that visually look like what they should and conceptually work the same. But on a whole other level it's using physical positioning in the world (virtual screen world but perceived by the user as a physical place) as a way to access information (just like memory does).

Why do we care about this today?

Because everyone secretly lusts after a Eurorack modular synthesis setup. And of course if you live in Maui that is a dream you would be insane to even begin to consider. Since anything made of metal here rots and degrades, stops working, and turns into dust very quickly.  So you certainly don't want a lot of really expensive European metal components to be rusting away in your home studio.

But virtual Eurorack setups, why not. Especially if they are open source and free. Behold, the expanded VCV Rack.

I like the Notes module added to the virtual setup at the end.

VCV Rack is a free, open source platform for mac, windows, and linux. It emulates a Eurorack modular synthesis setup.

And it is extremely skeuomorphic.


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