Ridiculous User Interfaces In Film, and the Man Who Designs Them

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What do The Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible 3, Mr & Mrs Smith, Children of Men, and Agent Cody Banks 2 have in common? Absurd, futuristic, and totally fake software interfaces, designed in part by one man: Mark Coleran.

Designing a fake dashboard for an imagined supercomputer or a hovering control panel for a worldwide surveillance system is a different process than creating a genuinely usable UI. Your goal is to imply things: that a machine is powerful; that a villain is formidable; that the software is intuitive, but that the breadth of its powers borders on unknowable. At no point does real-world usability factor in, and nor should it—this is pure fantasy, for an audience raised on Start Buttons, desktop icons and tree menus. Here's a gallery of some of the most famous interfaces; see how many you recognize.

Coleran's UIs are a mix of proudly retro and boldly new, mingling compact pixel art, wireframes and the solid, militaristic reds, blues and blacks of software from the 80s with touch-free gesture systems and overelaborate visualizations. It's the kind of stuff you take for granted in action and sci-fi films, but rounded up in one place, it's a strangely impressive, almost cohesive view of the future of software, as designed by someone with no constraints. [Mark Coleran via Metafilter]


UPDATE: Mark Coleran weighs in. His main point is a good one: These interfaces are the result of the work of many people, not just one man.