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4 Examples of a Skin

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A skin is a custom user interface for a product, service or device. A skin can change both look-and-feel and functionality. An application or tool is said to be skinnable if it offers an API for users to developer their own skins. Alternatively, producers may design skins to differentiate products and not allow users to create their own. The following are illustrative examples.

Business Software

Image editing software offers an expert skin with densely packed advanced controls. They also offer a basic skin with far less controls. The expert skin is only offered with a professional license. Inexpensive versions of the software such as a student version only come with the basic skin.

Media Player

A media player allows users to create their own skins. This creates an economy for artists and designers who offer themed skins for a small fee. Other users offer their skins for free as a gesture to the community.

Visibility & Ease of Use

A navigation system in a car offers a power skin with many buttons on each screen. They also offer a skin geared to visibility and ease-of-use with large buttons and text.

Content Management Platforms

Tools for creating websites such as content management platforms are typically skinnable. In this context, skins are often referred to as themes. Popular platforms may have thousands of designs available.
Overview: Skin
A custom user interface for a product, service or device.
The term skin implies complete control of the user interface. For example, the ability to customize colors isn't consider a skin.
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Related Concepts
Next read: User Interface Design


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