With Sept 10th just around the corner Apple is releasing it's much anticipated iOS7. There has been a ton of chatter about this new release and the 360% flip from a skeuomorphic interface to the flat interface style. The skeuomorphic patterns in the early days served a purpose to create analogies to the physical world on a single device but users behaviors have become multi-screen so a simpler, cleaner, content-focused interface makes sense.
Some may call it reduction of thinking, less is more, seamless, transparent, etc. but the there is a key historical take away from this manifestation. The Bauhaus (my favorite) movement comes to mind with it's reduction of thinking (less is more) & group collaboration (the sum is greater than the individual parts).
Ironically Smashing Magazine posted a wonderful article about "Authentic Design" highlighting the Modern design movement as the pivotal movement to curb the ornamental excess of the 19th century. Are we are at the cross roads of rejecting skeuomorphism for simpler, cleaner, content-focused design?
Authentic design aims to pierce through falsehood and do away with superfluousness. Authentic design is about using materials without masking them in fake textures, showcasing their strengths instead of trying to hide their weaknesses. Authentic design is about doing away with features that are included only to make a product appear familiar or desirable but that otherwise serve no purpose. Authentic design is about representing function in its most optimal form, about having a conviction in elegance through efficiency. Authentic design is about dropping the crutches of external ornament and finding beauty in pure content.
Building designs around fake content only changes the focus to styling and decoration. Use real content in design to transform function into form. The key is to make the product easier to understand, perform better and make the most of its medium.
Did we forget this design fundamental or to be authentic? Maybe both.