Monday, 27 May 2013

Just Have to Share - What happens when a keyboard changes from 3D to touchscreen

On the iPad’s virtual keyboard there is a raised bar on the F and J keys. On physical keyboards, these raised indicators allow typists to fix their eight fingers on the central row of the keyboard easily and without looking. So why would a flat touchscreen keyboard need raised indicators? The answer according to the Smithsonian is. Skeuomorphism.

'Skeuomorphism' is a design principle in which an obsolete design element is brought into a new object quite often as a superficial design detail as it's no longer functional or necessary.

Digital skeuomorphic elements can help give us a sense of familiarity when dealing with a new technology for example a notepad app that looks like a lined pad, the page-turning animation on a digital book, or the sound of a shutter clicking on digital cameras and mobile phones. Perhaps these elements may outlive their usefulness or take on a new meaning, but for now these vestigial details work as sensory cues.

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