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

Illustration for article titled Ridiculous User Interfaces In Film, and the Man Who Designs Them

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.

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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.

DISCUSSION

When I look at current OS' and watch a movie like the Minority Report for instance, I get so frustrated that MS, Apple, and even the Linux OS don't even try to attempt to come close to the interfaces imagined in television and movies! Even if it is just superficial eye candy there has to be a way for the manufacturers to make a "futuristic LOOKING" interface.