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A design feature that is carried forth from the original version of a product in order to make people feel comfortable with the new device. For example, the click sound on a digital camera comes from an audio clip; however, the original sound was the actual shutter opening and closing. Spokes on hubcaps are skeuomorphs, whereas spokes on early automobile wheels were necessary. Pronounced "skew-uh-morf." See flat design.

From the Greek Words Skeuos and Morph
"Skeuos" and "morph" mean "tool" and "shape," and the term originally referred to adornments that came from earlier Greek structures. For example, a decorative carving on a new building might replicate a form on an ancient temple that was structural.

A Smartphone Skeuomorph
This iPhone wooden bookshelf motif was designed to use a familiar object to make people feel comfortable. Along with other skeuomorphs, it was eliminated in 2013 with iOS 7.

A Windows 8 Skeuomorph
This Windows 8 Paint menu uses a 3.5" floppy disk icon for its Save functions. In computer years, the floppy is now ancient, having had a lifespan from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s.

flat design

With regard to user interfaces, a flat design rejects the 3D-looking sculpted, shadowed and translucent window borders and icons that were so popular starting with the personal computer explosion and lasting well into the 21st century.

A flat design is essentially two dimensional. Starting in 2012, Windows 8 switched to the flat design, followed by Apple and Android. Everything runs in cycles. In 2017, Microsoft introduced a new UI style that moves away from the entirely flat look in Windows 8 and 10 (see Microsoft Fluent Design System and Metro interface). See iOS 7, Material Design, skeuomorph and user interface.

Old Vs. New
The Windows 7 application buttons (top) were shaded, while the same buttons in the next versions of Windows are displayed without any attempt at making them appear 3-dimensional.

Forget Old Fashioned
In 2013, the user interface became flat in Apple's iOS 7 operating system. See iOS 7 and skeuomorph.

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