Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Austin Carr writes that a number of user interface designers have become increasingly critical of Apple’s approach to software user interface design with much of their censure directed against a trend called skeuomorphism, a term for when objects retain ornamental elements of past that are no longer necessary to the current objects’ functions such as calendars with faux leather-stitching, bookshelves with wood veneers, fake glass and paper and brushed chrome. "It’s visual masturbation," says one former senior UI designer at Apple who worked closely with Steve Jobs. "It’s like the designers are flexing their muscles to show you how good of a visual rendering they can do of a physical object. Who cares?" The issue is two-fold: first, that traditional visual metaphors no longer translate to modern users; and second, that excessive digital imitation of real-world objects creates confusion among users. "I’m old enough, sure, but some of the guys in my office have never seen a Rolodex in real life," says Designer Gadi Amit. "Our culture has changed. We don’t need translation of the digital medium in mechanical real-life terms. It’s an old-fashioned paradigm." One beneficiary could be Microsoft where the design of Windows 8 distances itself from skeuomorphism emphasizing a flat user interface that’s minimalist to the core with icons without embellishments: no bevel, no 3-D flourishes, no glossiness and no drop shadow. "It’s Microsoft’s stripped-down UI that many find appealing," writes Carr, "a welcome alternative to Apple’s approach to software design.""