How ‘Skeuomorphism’ Makes American Roads Deadlier – Streetsblog USA
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Carbon Upfront and has been republished with permission.
When I saw my first F-150 Lightning in a parking lot in Dorset this summer, I was shocked by how big it was; The Subaru parked behind her was not as tall as the tailgate.
And the front end! It’s shoulder height with the big hood attached…nothing. Where there used to be an engine there, it’s now a ‘head box’ or front box, holding 400 liters of air, with a cover that blocks the view of small people like me at the front, destroys aerodynamics, and is likely to kill people in a big way. Whoever catches it, sends them under the truck and not over the hood.
It was designed this way because skeuomorphdescribed by technology journalist Clive Thompson as “a piece of design based on an old-fashioned object. You’ve invented a new technology, but you’ve designed it to look and behave very much like the old technology it replaces.”
An educational example of morphology is the original iPhone, which was presented with paper-like notebooks and magazines that came on wooden bookshelves. Apparently, Steve Jobs felt this was important to help us get used to the new device, but those are just pictures. As Thompson notes, “the psychomorphs end up there, too.” Limping New invention. Because skeuomorphs rely on the physical limits of an old-fashioned device, they stand in the way of the designer taking full advantage of the new world.
My favorite example of how skeuomorphs get stuck is the digital camera. Its predecessor, the film camera, was designed around film that was wound from a single reel, through the back of the lens, and then wound again.
In a single-lens reflex (SLR), the object on top was a pentagonal prism that directed light from a mirror that flipped when the image was taken. The camera is designed around moving film and light path rather than ergonomics or ease of use; We had to adapt to it because of the properties of the film and the light.
When the digital camera revolution began, Nikon and other camera companies developed designs that took advantage of the freedom of film and light paths to make them more comfortable and flexible, a camera that adapted to us. You can bend and rotate the Coolpix and look down, up or back at yourself. Bombed.
Look at the latest Nikon mirrorless camera, it still has that stupid bump where the pentaprism used to be, it still looks like there’s film rolling from side to side, and it still has the poor ergonomics that film cameras set. Apple ditched the skeuomorphs, but the cameras just got worse.
But at least he won’t kill anyone.
Now we have a small truck. It was designed for work, nothing was too big, the hood was shaped like the engine, and the front end was as low as possible. In Australia in 1932, Holden built a crossover based on automobile designs because a farmer’s wife requested “a car to go to church on Sunday that could carry our pigs to market on Monday.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, America’s Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino represented exactly that – the comfort and style of a coupe with the utility of a pickup truck. There’s logic to that, but it’s more of a car than a truck.
When Volkswagen designed a pickup truck based on its truck, it had to make the bed high enough to get past the rear-mounted engine. But they used the space between them for more storage. All Volkswagen cars were decidedly non-stereoscopic, they allowed the engineering to drive the design.
There is one company trying to do this today; Canoo designed a minivan and van that reminds me of a Volkswagen. “Cars have always been designed to convey a certain image and emotion,” the designer said. However, we chose to completely rethink the car’s design and focus on what future users will actually need. “Personally, I think it’s ugly as sin,” critics said. “Some shapes are attractive to most people. The company is struggling to survive.”
We already know that the giant, lethal front end of American pickup trucks has little to do with function and everything to do with image; Otherwise, each truck will look like the Ford truck on the left, built to European safety standards, with a low front end and great visibility.
With electric cars, it’s even more ridiculous. In the Ford F-150 Lightning, there’s not much in front of the passenger compartment. But for a bad case of conformation, it can be lower, safer and more aerodynamic.
Seriously, kids are more visible in front of an Abrams battle tank than they are in front of a pickup truck. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration says there are about 400 deaths and 20,000 injuries each year because drivers can’t see what’s directly in front of them.
The electric vehicle revolution represents a golden opportunity to redesign the car from the ground up to make it smaller and safer. Instead, as Alyssa Walker wrote for Curbed,
If “petro-masculinity” defined the last decade, with huge, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks now making up more than 80% of all new car purchases, we are now heading into the age of “electrification.” We’ll ditch fossil fuels but cling to everything else that’s so toxic about American car culture — the road deaths, the urban sprawl, the land and mineral costs of extraction, the flashy Super Bowl ads that equate your masculinity to a size zero. – Mobile emissions bunker.
So, we have death by deformity, which focuses on a dangerous design that has nothing to do with its function; It looks like the brothers think it should look.
Skeuomorph-free design offers a lot of opportunities; I personally crave the Canoo campervan. But maybe I can dream; People obviously like what they know, even if it doesn’t make any sense.