Web Design Trends: A Closer Look at Skeuomorphism

The world of web design moves fast. New trends pop up every day. Current trends quickly become just part of the norm. And old trends can easily fall out of favor, resulting in websites that look generic. As a web designer, you must keep yourself on the cutting edge in order maintain a great reputation and continue to earn the business you desire. And one of these web design trends that you need to take a closer look at is the use ofskeuomorphism.

What is skeuomorphism?

In general terms, a skeuomorph is a design feature that is brought from the original, known version of a product and incorporated directly into the design of a new product. If you pay attention, there are examples of this everywhere. From decorative buttons or fake pockets on your clothing to the way the calculator on your computer mimics the real-life version. Normally, a skeuomorphic design feature doesn’t actually serve the same functional purpose as it did in the original product. So why should you even consider including skeuomorphs in your designs at all?

Why Use skeuomorphism in web design?

The simple reason to use skeuomorphism in web design relates directly to the experience of the user. Though some might argue that this type of design can be counterproductive, it’s hard to overstate how much providing familiarity can benefit your business when trying to draw in and keep consumers. Simply put, most people are attracted to the things they are familiar with.

Change can be scary, but the proper use of skeuomorphism in web design can act to allow users a way to experience something new, but with a certain familiarity that keeps them moving forward. However, you must be careful not to oversimplify everything in a way that makes your users feel talked down to. That’s why the introduction of skeuomorphism must be carefully calculated before you decide to implement it into any web design.



What are some famous examples of skeuomorphism in web design?

Most people would say that the leader in skeuomorphic design is Apple. Many of their software applications, such as their calendars and maps, have incorporated this type of real-life look and feel. The same goes for their note functions, which can look and act like a legal pad. While these design elements don’t necessarily affect the functionality of the applications, they do go a long way towards improving the actual user experience, which is often what separates Apple from the rest of the pack as true pioneers.



Another famous example of modern skeuomorphism is found on many eBook readers.



When these were being designed, there was a fear that consumers would miss some of the more familiar elements of reading a book. The main one of these elements was the actual act of finishing a page and physically turning to the next one. This led eBook reader developers to create a skeuomorphic design that actually imitated the feeling of turning your book to the next page.

All in all, the use of skeuomorphism in web design must be considered on a project-by-project basis. It is not the right way to go in every instance, but it is certainly something that all web designers should be familiar with and willing to employ when the time is right.


Aileen Galsim is a blogger for Showcase Creative a UK printing company, based in Camberley, that provides bespoke presentation folders, calendars, and other printed presentation products.


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  • Ayisha Papiya

    I was not idea about skeuomorphism after reading your article i have to clear about it. Hopefully skeuomorphism will be helpful for my product design !!

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