Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, writer, speaker, and author, currently serving as the Creative Director of ClearScore, and the Co-editor and Creative Director of lifestyle magazine Lagom. Previously, he was the Creative Director of coffee roaster Colonna, the founder of typography magazine-turned-book 8 Faces, and the Creative Director of Typekit (now Adobe Fonts). He’s also an electronic musician, recording as Other Form and releasing on the Berlin-based label Unterwegs.

The new eBay vs. physics

Posted on 09 December 2014

Article illustration for The new eBay vs. physics

The upper gradient on the new eBay’s gigantic ‘follow’ button (which, bizarrely, is rendered entirely as an image) looks like an inner shadow, and hence makes the entire button appears as if it’s pushed in — something you would expect from an active state, not pre-hit.

The meaning is then further confused by the drop shadow beneath the entire button, which gives the impression of the button floating above the surface — something that would be physically impossible if the button were depressed.

Please forgive the snark, but I feel like it’s important for huge companies like eBay to get this stuff right, especially with such a high-profile relaunch. This is, after all, 2014. It’s not about skeuomorphism vs. flat design; it’s about applying skeuomorphic elements (here, the gradients and the shadows) in a way that actually resembles the real world.

EBay’s button does something worse than highlight a disregard for good design: it highlights a disregard for physics.

© 2005 – 2019 Elliot Jay Stocks. All rights reserved. Proudly powered by Kirby. To keep updated with new content, you might like to subscribe to my RSS feed.