W1-Digitalization,Design And More

As Chinese most successful music streaming website, also one of the pioneers of the “Play To Pay” mode in mainland China, Xiami (xiami.com) suffered its Waterloo in the mobile client area, after several updates, its confusing interface and complex interaction design still let us down. While in its recent update, hides a special Easter Egg: once making your phone be horizontal under the player interface, appeared a cassette animation, your phone becomes a Tape Recorder instantly. This retro-styled design captures the users, and their autonomous dissemination, tens of thousands of these screen shots can be found in Chinese largest microblogging website Sina Weibo.

This is a very interesting phenomenon to me, affected by the global trend of flat design, the user interface of the mobile clients nowadays are constituted by elements like color blocks and frosted glass, in the purpose of emphasizing a sense of technology, however, the above-mentioned cassette interface clearly belongs to the camp of Skeuomorphism.

In my opinion, this happens to be a metaphor of the current media development.

“Media is content”, digitalization has developed to a high degree, the traditional media such as television, movies, books, radio e.g., are no longer depend on TV set, screen, paper or semiconductor, we can enjoy all of these contents in one single terminal, when someone says “watching TV”, his meaning might not be watching television programs, to more extent, is switching to a larger screen and watching other contents.

Skeuomorphism, condensing our pride and joy to digitalization, has occupied the mainstream for a long time. Just open the radio application on your iphone before the ios-7-era , observing the very realistic radio interface, which conveys a information saying: “Look, we put a radio in your phone.” With the further development of digitalization, hints like this are no longer needed, we can’t wait to embrace a future of science fiction, thus the design language is inevitably digitized.

As a result of digitalization, flat design becomes the mainstream, three-dimensional is replaced by complanation, details disappear, along with highlights and shadows. Showing a realistic calculator APP in your phone is not cool anymore.

Contents is at your fingertips, design becomes ambiguous, our children may access those old media devices only from museums, no one remembers nouns like television programs, radio programs or music, they all share a same name:audio.

Is a future like this really worth our expectation?

For me, the answer is “NO”. I miss the sense of ritual when we listen music through tangible medias, I miss the family time spent around the radio. I’m obsessed with the beauty of objects, and the abundance of details. You might say person like me is destined to become obsolete, but I know I am not the only one.

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