What designers can learn from science fiction

Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction takes a look at the connection between sci-fi and real-life interface designs

The authors of this book set out to discover what practical lessons might be learned from examining interfaces from over 100 years of sci-fi films and TV.

Freed from the usual constraints, they argue, the interface designers of the sci-fi world have come up with interesting ideas that can be adapted for use in real-world designs.

Star Trek: The Original Series went for jewel-like interface buttons

The lessons learned aren't necessarily the obvious ones. For example, Minority Report has been a huge influence on the development of gestural interfaces. But while the future tech may look cool in the movie, the authors point out how Tom Cruise needed continuous breaks while shooting the scenes with the interface.

"Few people can hold their hands above the level of their heart and move them around for any extended period," they point out. "But those rests don't appear in the film - a misleading omission for anyone who wants to use a similar interface for real tasks."

Total Recall predicted the Xbox Kinect interface - hologram not included (yet)

If you’re a designer who loves sci-fi and real-world technology, you won’t want to miss out on this insightful exploration of both topics.

Make it so: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction, by Nathan Shedroff and Christopher Noessel and published by Rosenfeld Media, is out now priced $39 for paperback and £22 for ebook formats.

All images from Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction; Rosenfeld Media, 2012.

This showcase was originally published in .net magazine issue 234.

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