Skeuomorphism is the practice of using realistic elements in your design. For example, you might want to build a UI that resembles an object like a car or a computer. It’s one of those trends that came and went, and now seems to be making something of a comeback. But there’s a twist.
We found some stunning examples on CodePen. Take a look at just some of what is possible when using these modern techniques.
If you’ve ever been to a tech conference (or your local coffee shop), you’ve undoubtedly seen a designer or developer carrying around a laptop that is covered to the max with stickers. Here, developer Jennifer Kirchner uses this concept to showcase her various programming skills. Hovering over a sticker brings an ultra-smooth animation.
Rev it Up
Those of us who have dreamed of red-lining a sports car now have our chance. This engine simulator enables you to rev up the virtual engine with your arrow keys while seeing its effect on the speed and RPM. As a bonus, you can also shift gears (keep your “foot” on the gas while doing so).
At the click of a button, you can watch this grand piano “play” a song. Even more impressive is that you can use your mouse wheel to zoom in or out of the scene – making for a very dramatic effect.
Tweeting on an iPhone
This realistic iPhone simulator is set to load author Connor Gaunt’s Twitter feed. Scrolling is enabled, which could make this a really interesting choice for a responsive design portfolio.
Skeuomorphic elements can really boost the user-friendliness of a UI. Take this calculator, for instance. While you could create a simple form that does essentially the same thing, utilizing a realistic object in the design makes for a much more intuitive experience.
Once a staple of every classroom, chalkboards are being replaced in the real world. But you can still get your hands dusty with this interactive board – complete with a white stick of chalk. It works with both a mouse and a touch-enabled device.
The Time Is…
The good old analog clock is something else that you don’t see quite as often these days. You can, however, get yourself a beautiful and functional version that uses CSS and JS. This clock is easy enough to edit to match your site’s color scheme and adds a touch of elegance.
Projects that focus on nature can benefit from an immersive experience (see what we did there?) – and this deep-sea background is a great example. It not only looks authentic but there’s also some interactivity in the form of fish that scatter as a result of a mouse click.
Home décor is another area where skeuomorphic elements can be quite useful. Here we have what, in its most basic form, is an image slider. But the use of the realistic image frame and background color could be used to demonstrate how a piece of artwork might look in your home. Imagine taking this idea a step further by allowing users to customize the wall color. This is a simple step that could lead to higher conversions.
Read a Classic
An interactive flipbook like the one shown here can be fun for users and help keep them on your site for longer periods of time. It could provide a home to short stories or even children’s books.
Let’s Keep Things Real
Skeuomorphic design may not be the ideal fit for every type of website. In fact, it may not be convenient to design an entire site around the concept. But the examples above show that there are some incredibly creative possibilities for implementation.
Used in moderation, these elements can make for a much more interesting and intuitive UI.