My answer to Steven Poole’s "Against Chrome: A Manifesto"

Poole’s argument goes like this:

“By “chrome” I don’t mean Google’s browser of that name, but all the pseudo-solid, pseudo-3D visual cruft that infests user interfaces in modern computing. […]

Unless you are browsing in full-screen “kiosk” mode or kicking it old-school with Lynx, chances are your browser program is designed to look like some sort of machine. It will have been crafted to resemble aluminum or translucent plastic of varying textures, with square or round or rhomboid buttons and widgets in delicate pseudo-3D gradients, so they look solid, and animate with a shadowed depth illusion when you click them. Me, I hate this stuff. I think it’s not only useless but pernicious and sometimes actively misleading.”

My answer:

The “chrome metaphor” was created by William Gibson; from 70’s till present, the fascination of the tech / metal / machines has been the main driver in people’s imagination: Star Trek, Star Wars etc.
It’s common sense all of this translated into a “chromed GUI”; chrome luster means high tech to which most software designers aspire. Chrome is the visual for a far future where all the devices are hyper and ultra: see Gibson’s… “Chrome”.

I agree chrome lost its charm and today it’s easier then ever for this visual archetype to be considered useless: it became out-fashioned. Minimalism will also be out-fashioned in 20-30 years from now.

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The post was mainly commented from computer / software design perspective. In fact, that’s more of a cultural-anthropological¬† discussion about whether we are ready to swap a visual paradigm (“chrome”) for another (“minimalism”).

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