Matt Gemmell on skeuomorphism and intuitive design:
Our industry isn’t young anymore, but it’s still full of fear about whether so-called non-technical people will be able to use its products. I think we’ve been trying to get to less adorned, more information-centric interfaces for quite some time, but we’re still making the same tired old arguments from the golden age of human-computer interaction, about how humans need faux three-dimensional cues about the affordances of on-screen objects. Buttons apparently have to look “pushable”, or no-one will push them.
The reality is more nuanced. Our tastes, and capabilities, have moved a bit beyond screamingly-obvious knobs and dials. We don’t need drop-shadows to encourage us to poke at something. All we need is an invitation, in the form of icons or labels or animations which imply functionality, and a consistency of presentation which allows us to make a good guess about what we can interact with.
Matt, a programmer by trade, addresses the skeuomorphism debate more effectively than most designers I’ve heard arguing about it.