Inappropriate Use of Metaphor

I’ve been reading quite a bit the last week on my iPad using both the Kindle reader app from Amazon as well as the iBook app from Apple and one thing has struck me as very odd: the page turn effect offered in both apps.

While reading the page can be turned by swiping a finger across the screen which results, at least if it’s turned on, a page curl effect. Underneath the page can be seen the text of the new page. Visually it is pleasing to be sure but I am still trying to grasp the point of such a thing on a device that most certainly doesn’t have real pages.

The use of metaphor in user in user interfaces for software is nothing new obviously. All major OS interfaces use the desktop metaphor with “folders”, “files”, etc. I just find it odd that programmers are wasting time creating a page turn effect for something that isn’t paper. Yes, you can drag your finger across the page but it’s much faster to just tap the side of the screen corresponding to move to the next (or previous) page. In my opinion it’s s misplaced metaphor. Fun? Yes. Appropriate? No.

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