Is there a word to describe the process of retaining certain aspects of design just because the users are accustomed to seeing it although removing it would not make a major difference. Context: Consider a very old software from 80's which is being obsoleted with new UI. The new UI is being created to look pretty similar to the old one like accepting date in different input fields manually rather than a date picker just because it would be consistent with the older software. Since, the people who decide are apprehensive of new ways of doing things, they want to "keep things consistent" to crazy levels.

Criteria: While not limited to software, I am looking for a word which I could use when I want to say like -

"I know you crave for consistency, but its high time to stop [the word], otherwise there may be serious doubts about our creativity"

Non software example: I have read that rivets served a purpose on jeans at the time they were invented, but now they are retained only for consistency.

The closest word I have seen so far is- skeuomorphism. While it has a connotation of taking inspiration from older known objects, I wasn't quite sure if it fits in the above context.

  • Do you want a word for the process or for that type of feature? – Gary's Student Nov 9 '17 at 18:05
  • @Gary'sStudent The process of intentional retention of feature of a design which has become superfluous over a period of time. – user120947 Nov 9 '17 at 18:09
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    When I studied stage design 50 years ago the retention of old costume and architectural features, often as mere decorative elements, was called fossilization. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 9 '17 at 18:17
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    Retained (but now irrelevant) elements are vestigial. – FumbleFingers Nov 9 '17 at 18:22
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    These can be called legacy features. – Davo Nov 9 '17 at 19:16

In biology, 'vestigal' has a similar meaning. Perhaps it works for your case?

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    Welcome to EL&U. While I agree that vestigial is a reasonable option, your answer would be greatly strengthened by explaining why you suggest it, providing illustrative examples and references; there is no fiddle for the English language where a bare answer like this can be tested, after all. I also recommend you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. – choster Nov 9 '17 at 18:58
  • Vestigial, maybe? – MetaEd Nov 9 '17 at 19:11

Nostalgia, the yearning of things past, which in your example, long ago as obsolete.


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  • Nostalgia is not a process of retaining certain aspects of design, and in fact would only apply if those aspects of design were removed rather than retained. Please edit your post to clarify, if I have misinterpreted what you are trying to say. – choster Nov 9 '17 at 19:00

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