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Make It So

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Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction

By Nathan Shedroff & Christopher Noessel

Published: September 2012
Paperback: 348 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1933820-98-9
Ebook ISBN: 978-1933820-76-7

Many interaction and interface designers enjoy the interfaces seen in science-fiction films and television shows. Freed from the rigorous constraints of designing for real users, sci-fi production designers develop blue-sky interfaces that are inspiring, humorous, and even instructive. By carefully studying these “outsider” user interfaces, designers can derive lessons that make their real-world designs more cutting edge and successful.

Many interaction and interface designers enjoy the interfaces seen in science-fiction films and television shows. Freed from the rigorous constraints of designing for real users, sci-fi production designers develop blue-sky interfaces that are inspiring, humorous, and even instructive. By carefully studying these “outsider” user interfaces, designers can derive lessons that make their real-world designs more cutting edge and successful.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Bruce Sterling
Chapter 1: Learning Lessons from Science Fiction
Chapter 2: Mechanical Controls
Chapter 3: Visual Interfaces
Chapter 4: Volumetric Projection
Chapter 5: Gesture
Chapter 6: Sonic Interfaces
Chapter 7: Brain Interfaces
Chapter 8: Augmented Reality
Chapter 9: Anthropomorphism
Chapter 10: Communication
Chapter 11: Learning
Chapter 12: Medicine
Chapter 13: Sex
Chapter 14: What’s Next?

FAQ

These common questions and their short answers are taken from Nathan Shedroff and Christopher Noessel’s book Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction. You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.

  1. The topic of this book is a fun idea, but how is science fiction relevant to design?
    Design and science fiction do much the same thing. Sci-fi uses characters in stories to describe a possible future. Similarly, the design process uses personas in scenarios to describe a possible interface. They’re both fiction. Interfaces only become fact when a product ships. The main differences between the two come from the fact that design mainly proposes what it thinks is best, and sci-fi is mostly meant to entertain. But because sci-fi can envision technology farther out, largely freed from real-world constraints, design can look to it for inspiration and ideas about what can be done today.
    See Chapters 1 and 14.

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