Maeda Reframes the Question

In an article published today by Wired, President John Maeda enters the discussion of Apple’s newly designed iOS 7 and the wisdom behind designer Jony Ive’s decision to kill skeumorphic design ornamentation in its touchscreen interface. Championed by the late Steve Jobs as a way of making mainstream users more comfortable with new technology, skeumorphism has been under constant attack in recent months.

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photo: Alex Washburn/Wired

But President Maeda steps outside of the veritable ring on this issue, pointing out that lightning-speed advances in technology have made the argument completely irrelevant to design discourse. “It misses the key point that design is really about unlocking the possibilities that lie within multiple perspectives,” he writes, adding: “Design, like many disciplines, is about a diversity of approaches as soft solutions rather than hard truths. It’s a spectrum, not an either-or decision about whether to skeu or not to skeu.”

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