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Can a gesture be a skeuomorph?
The gestures for telephoning (hand to ear with pinky and thumb extended) or for asking the time (pointing to the wrist) seem to be slipping farther from modern reality. Are they gesticular skeuomorphs?
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Heimhenge said

Thanks for that link, Doyle33 (are there really 33 Doyles on AWWW?), and welcome to the forum. That’s a cool thread. There was extensive discussion about the “SAVE” icon used by various apps, and it got me thinking about what could be better or more recognizable than the standard “floppy disc” icon.

The “floppy disc” icon is obviously meaningless to many these days. I didn’t like that “arrow pointing to an envelope” icon, and the “USB thumb drive” icon will also be obsolete at some point in the future. So what is the universal and timeless icon for “SAVE” ???

I think we have to recognize that pretty much any word can evolve to be a skeuomorph as technology and society changes. That said, I would suggest using a more timeless icon for “SAVE.” Perhaps an icon of a safe, piggy bank, or maybe even a lifesaver?

The “floppy disk” icon is not meaningless–it means SAVE. Just because the pictograph of a Snake no more refers to a snake but is now the letter ‘S’, it is not meaningless–it has taken on a meaning beyond its literal picture. It is much the same for the floppy disk icon althought the icon is much younger.

How timeless is a safe or a piggy bank if the 23rd century has no money (ala Star Trek)?

New River, AZ, USA
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EmmettRedd said: How timeless is a safe or a piggy bank if the 23rd century has no money (ala Star Trek)?

An excellent point about the safe and piggy bank. But I think those icons are both “safe” for awhile. At least until we develop the limitless source of energy that made the moneyless society possible in Star Trek. I still think the lifesaver will be around whatever happens. Wait … no … I guess they could be replaced with anti-gravity belts. Not trying to be sarcastic. We are talking about the far future.

Regarding your assertion: floppy disc icons are not meaningless …

Sure, it has “meaning” in the sense that people who use computers have learned what it means, whether or not they’ve ever seen a real floppy disc. Perhaps my statement was too strong, but I was talking about the floppy disc as a skeuomorph, and why it’s a skeuomorph (which few would debate). In the sense of your argument, all skeuomorphs (as words) have meaning. With that I would not disagree.


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Heimhenge said : Sure, it has “meaning” in the sense that people who use computers have learned what it means, whether or not they’ve ever seen a real floppy disc.  

I guess that is my point–we have learned. And, it has adopted its abstract (not literal) meaning. Since it is (almost) universally understood in the community that uses it, I think it is a waste of time and energy to search for something else with a literal meaning that needs to gain the abstract meaning.

I know that it is jarring that, in the case of the floppy disk icon, the transition from physical object to picture/icon to full abstract meaning has taken place in three decades or less. The jarring may be especially acute since other transitions (like snake to S) probably took centuries or millennia. However, I don’t think the suddenness of the transition is justification for trying to find another icon which better retains/illustrates the literal meaning.

–My two cents.– With the Treasury wanting to quit producing the penny, how long before that phrase becomes a skeuomorph?

PS “full abstract meaning” may be a little strong since letting the mouse pointer hover over the icon usually gives a phrase as to what the icon means.

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