Eschewing skeuomorphism

Volume 15, Issue 30; 26 Sep 2012

What's better than that hideous leatherette calendar?

In the publishing track at XML Summer School, Jo Rabin gave an excellent overview of the challenges of publishing to mobile devices.

Along the way, we took a brief detour through skeuomorphism (no, I don't remember the connection to mobile devices). One of the threads of discussion was about how skeuomorphism limits design. Talking about the awful leatherette look of the Mac 10.8 version of iCal, got me thinking about my display of calendars. I paint them on the desktop:

Skeuomorphic calendars
Skeuomorphic calendars

It's an overstatement to say those are skeuomorphic, I suppose, but design-wise they're certainly fairly straight forward copies of a traditional paginated calendar.

Tonight, I was thinking about what might be done outside the constraints of the printed page. Here's my first attempt:

Linear calendars
Linear calendars

The current date is always in the sixth week displayed, the calendar “slides past” in some figurative sense.

I don't know if it's really better, but I'll live with it for a bit. In any event, it was amusing to craft the XQuery, HTML, and CSS necessary to display it without tables.


Why would you want to display it without tables? Calendars are tabular data; semantically it's a little weak, but they've been traditionally represented as tables for so long that it kinda sticks.

—Posted by Tab Atkins on 26 Sep 2012 @ 10:09 UTC #

>What's better than that hideous leatherette calendar?

A warm leatherette calendar?

—Posted by bobdc on 27 Sep 2012 @ 03:30 UTC #

There's no semantic reason to avoid them, I guess. I sometimes find the added complication of the interaction between tables and CSS rules a bit annoying. Getting the row and column dividers seemed like it would easier with just divs, plus it was a chance for me to experiment with horizontally aligned divs.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 27 Sep 2012 @ 12:43 UTC #

Well played, Bob. :-)

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 27 Sep 2012 @ 12:44 UTC #