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Make It So

Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction 

Published: September 2012 Paperback: 348 pages, ISBN 1-933820-98-5 Digital: ISBN 1-933820-76-4

by Nathan Shedroff & Christopher Noessel

Make It So

Shedroff and Noessel are leaders in their fields. Make It So is well-researched, pragmatic, and entertaining. The authors show us that science fiction can not only give us visions of the future but can help us design a better future as well."

—Brian David Johnson, Futurist and Director, Future Casting and Experience Research, Intel Corporation

Many 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.

Make It So shows:

  • Sci-fi interfaces have been there (almost) from the beginning
  • Sci-fi creates a shared design language that sets audience expectations
  • If an interface works for an audience, there's something there that will work for users
  • Bad sci-fi interfaces can sometimes be the most inspiring
  • There are ten "meta-lessons" spread across hundreds of examples
  • You can use—and not just enjoy—sci-fi in your design work
  • Over 150 lessons and 10 “meta“ lessons that developers can use to enhance their realworld interfaces

“Make It So” Blog

From Sci-fi interfaces

DuoMento, improved

Forgive me, as I am but a humble interaction designer (i.e., neither a professional visual designer nor video editor) but here’s my shot at a redesigned DuoMento, taking into account everything I’d noted in the review. There’s only one click for Carl to initiate this test. To decrease the risk of a false positive, this … Continue reading


Carl, a young psychic, has an application at home to practice and hone his mental powers. It’s not named in the film, so I’m going to call it DuoMento. We see DuoMento in use when Carl uses it to try and help Johnny find if he has any latent psyhic talent. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t … Continue reading

The bug VP

In biology class, the (unnamed) professor points her walking stick (she’s blind) at a volumetric projector. The tip flashes for a second, and a volumetric display comes to life. It illustrates for the class what one of the bugs looks like. The projection device is a cylinder with a large lens atop a rolling base. … Continue reading

Grade Board

When students want to know the results of their tests, they do so by a public interface. A large, tiled screen is mounted to a recessed section of wall in a courtyard. The display is divided into a grid of five columns and three rows. Each cell contains one student’s results for one test, as … Continue reading

Make It Sew is thrilled to announce the completion of…a follow-up book! From the back cover: Few people realize the indelible mark that crafting in general—and sewing in particular—have made on science fiction as a genre. Building on the success of the original work, Make It Sew: Crafting Lessons from Science Fiction scours the history of popular … Continue reading