Web designers have devised some ingenious techniques to give their work a sense of physicality. One such technique is glassmorphism. When a blur effect is combined with transparency, pixels take on the slightly opaque quality of frosted glass, adding texture and dimensionality to the design. While glassmorphism isn’t a new concept, the term has only found ground in the website design and development company for a short time, with Michael Malewicz coining the term in 2020.
Glassmorphism today can be traced back to skeuomorphism’s early attempts at realism. In the 1990s and early 2000s, computer graphics capabilities improved and data rates increased. These advancements enabled designers to create websites that relied heavily on visuals, allowing skeuomorphism to become a reality.
Rather than creating novel UI elements, experts of web design and development company focused on replicating what people were already familiar with within the real world. Skeuomorphism was created by designers to translate how we interact with the physical world into a digital experience. Websites were dominated by extravagant gradients, heavy drop shadows, and excessive reflections. Textures that resembled plastic, metal, and even wood grain were used liberally throughout the designs.
From the controls of the music player to the file-folder-like tabs and overly chiseled buttons, Musicmatch’s UI from 2004 is a great example of skeuomorphism. A screenshot of the 2004 MusicMatch homepage The main navigation bar is designed to look like folder tabs, and the music player has folder tabs for the organization as well as chiseled buttons.
Glassmorphism has a softer touch than skeuomorphism, which has densely packed pixels and hard edges. It has the appearance of glass, but it is not skeuomorphism in the traditional sense. It is not intended to fool anyone into thinking they are looking through a window. Rather, it evokes the sensation of it. Apple products are a great example of glassmorphism. When iOS7 was released in 2013, iPhones had translucent gray backgrounds, which created a light haze over the icons beneath them. Apple gave this design style a boost in 2020 with the MacOS Big Sur update, which included glassy menu drop-downs and translucent sidebars.
However, the web design and development company has not limited glassmorphism to Apple products; both the Microsoft Windows Acrylic Design system and Windows Vista use glassmorphism to layer windows over each other and establish hierarchy. The Glassmorphism UI is still popular. Buttons, navigational options, sliders, and other UI elements stand out against a glassy blur when their crisp lines are laid on top of it. Instead of competing for attention on the same dimensional plane, glassmorphism gives the elements a slight visual boost, making them more visible to anyone scrolling through.