Is realism abused in UI design? You bet. Are realistic iPad interfaces a trend that will pass? Absolutely. Are they for everyone? Absolutely not. Minimal apps like iA Writer often sell like hotcakes because they abandon realism in favor of pure efficiency.
The point that I’m making in this article is that “realism” is not the dirty word that designers are currently making it out to be. As a designer, you shouldn’t abandon a really great interface idea in fear that the Uncanny Valley police will come and get you. You should definitely be mindful of this principle, note that even Apple’s interfaces intentionally shy far away from photorealism, but you shouldn’t be afraid that a little bit of texture will make users hate your app.
Successful UI designers know that a solid, usable foundation is the basis for any well-design application. How much extra styling you apply depends on your target audience and whether or not they will perceive it as helping or hindering the design as well as the context of the application.
Ask yourself the following questions: Does my metaphor make sense in this setting? Will the layout stay strong if the metaphor is taken away? Am I applying realism to improve the app’s acceptance and usability or because I’m prone to following trends? Does my target audience tend to love or hate similar ideas?
via Design Shack – UI Design: Should We Really Be Afraid of the Uncanny Valley?. Good points, a little bit of realism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just don’t take it too far.