Skeuomorph Versus Flat Design: User Experience and Age-Related Preferences

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10919)


The “right” design of graphical user interfaces (GUI) may help to provide positive user experience and to support users in dealing with the complexity of technological artifacts. We compared two design strategies for GUIs: skeuomorph and flat design. For this purpose, two interface versions of a smart phone operating system (flat and skeuomorph) were created. Since skeuomorph design uses metaphors from the non-digital world, we expected that it is preferred by elderly users (digital immigrants) compared to young users who might choose the modern flat design (digital natives). To test this assumption, we conducted a study (N = 24) with younger and elderly users by combining a standardized usability testing scenario, a user experience questionnaire (meCUE), and a half-standardized interview. Our results indicate that there is a significant difference between the two age groups. Elderly users showed a preference for skeuomorph design whereas the younger generation favored the flat design. Practical consequences and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed on the basis of the CUE model (Components of User Experience).


Skeuomorph design Flat design User experience CUE model Hygienic and motivational factors Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) Preferences Age 



We thank Meike Schröder who contributed significantly to this paper and conducted the data collection during her Master Thesis.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Group 2.3 Human Factors, ErgonomicsFederal Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive ErgonomicsTechnical University BerlinBerlinGermany

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