Skeuomorphism — It’s Stayin’ Alive

Skeuomorphism — the designing of interfaces to mimic real-life counterparts — has become a bit of a dirty word in GUI design these days.

Apple, long a proponent of that style under the usually reliable judgment of Steve Jobs, largely gave up the ghost in 2013 with iOS7. Yet there are still projects and new concepts looking at ways to keep skeuomorphism alive, such as this one or even bringing 3D into the act like this one.

There is this dream that one day, we’ll be starring in our own versions of “Minority Report” or “Iron Man” — swinging our arms or manipulating virtual objects to perform incredibly complex tasks. However, the reality for most users is that attempts at this type of interaction will almost always require too much training.

Tom Cruise and Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t likely step up and start flailing their arms at their newly delivered computer systems expecting it to realize what they were attempting. In fact, what makes those movies and the interaction so cool — is that the users were expert. They were trained and very practiced at the interaction at hand. It’s kind of like watching your engineer friend whip through command line prompts or wrangle huge C files in vi. It’s very cool, incredibly productive — but not something the casual user can mimic.
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New Article: Top Ten Automotive UX Successes

Cisco recently released a survey that indicates that consumers are craving more, better technologies in their cars — and they’re willing to surrender things like height and weight information, DNA samples and fingerprints to get a more comfortable ride or better vehicle security technology.

And while those automotive OEMs run back to their white boards to start brainstorming the next great UX feature, Steve Tengler takes a step back to offer some acknowledgement for the features that are already out in the market that do an outstanding job of making our driving experience easier, safer and more enjoyable.

What innovations made the cut? Read Tengler’s “Top Ten Automotive UX Successes” on to find out.






Why a Medical Device GUI Won’t Cut It — Interview with Altia CEO

“No one is immune to good looks. And in today’s Apple and Samsung-driven aesthetic culture it’s not enough that your [medical] device works, it has to look good while doing it.”

But a medical device GUI and a mobile app are not the same. High-reliability devices must meet stricter standards for certification and usability than any mobile app — so teams must approach a medical GUI with a laser focus on the user, use cases, and stability and must be equipped with the right tools to develop, test, deploy and certify their display.

Recently Mike Juran, Altia’s CEO, sat down with Chris Wiltz of Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (or MD+DI) to discuss medical device software development and the challenges that companies face to get a smart phone-style GUI into production. He outlined four common mistakes that companies make when deploying medical GUIs and offered his advice about how to avoid and overcome them.

Click here to read the interview, “4 Reasons Your Device’s GUI Won’t Cut It” on MD+DI.


“Looking Ahead in Auto UX with Mercedes”

Recently, Steve Tengler — Altia’s Senior Director of User Experience — sat down with Paolo Malabuyo (Vice President of Advanced UX Design), Vera Schmidt (Senior Manager of Advanced UX Design), and Viviane Eide (Manager of UX Research) of Mercedes at their R&D Center in Silicon Valley to discuss the company’s vision for automotive UX.

What did they talk about? Everything from how the company leverages connected devices to bring new technologies to their vehicles faster to the company’s view on autonomous driving.

“We like to think about human, core desires and how can we use technology to meet them.” – @MercedesBenz

Read the interview, “Looking Ahead in Automotive UX with Mercedes“, in its entirety on