Ben Brooks Says: Don’t Mimic Real-World Interfaces

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Ben Brooks has an excellent post on the continuing trend of making user interfaces for apps for like their real-world counterparts. But Ben argues this is starting to not make sense:

Now, I would guess that most “new” computer users actually don’t know that these things are mimicking their physical counterparts — well they know in the sense that it looks like a physical good, but I doubt they every think: “I used to have a calculator just like this one”.

I have heard the argument before that the idea of having the “Save” icon represented by a floppy disk confuses kids, because most kids under the age of say, 15, have probably not even seen one, let alone used one.

A major focus of the article are the leaked screenshots of iCal in OS X Lion which seem to indicate the UI contains some sort of “torn paper” look at the window. I have seen the screenshots and am definitely in the camp that it’s silly and unnecessary.