Beyond Skeuomorphism: The Evolution of Music Production Software User Interface Metaphors

For the first two decades of digital audio, interface metaphors were drawn from their analog ancestors, primarily the multitrack tape recorder, the mixing console and outboard signal processors. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) design incorporated a high degree of skeuomorphism to help transition users from their analog equipment to their digital devices. However, as DAWs evolve new functionality undreamt of in the analog era, new interface metaphors are needed. Designs emanating from the gaming industry provide a glimpse into the future of how users will control DAWs, disposing of the current dominant design motifs of the DAW in favor of more immersive experiences.