skeumorph

N. Katherine Hayles – Boundary Disputes: Homeostasis, Reflexivity, and the Foundations of Cybernetics – Configurations 2:3

A skeuomorph is a design feature, no longer functional in itself, that refers back to an avatar that was functional at an earlier time. The dashboard of my Toyota Camry, for example, is covered by vinyl molded to simulate stitching; the simulated stitching alludes back to a fabric that was in fact stitched, although it no longer serves that function in my car. Skeuomorphs visibly testify to the social or psychological necessity for innovation to be tempered by replication.