Star Trek and the Future of UX
Posted on 8 February, 2010 at 12:08pm
Matt Gemmell asked a very thought-provoking question on Formspring yesterday, and I liked it enough to repost it here. I really think a lot could be said about this topic, and this just scratches the surface.
Q: To what extent has sci-fi (TV, movies, books) influenced your UX work?
A: That’s a great question. I think you can look at science fiction as our collective fantasy about technology. If you want to understand not how people use their computers but how they want to use them, popular sci-fi is the first place you should look.
In the past few years I’ve really moved away from web app design or even traditional desktop app design, favoring touchscreen devices instead. The computers of the future don’t have mice (“Hello computer!”). Rarely do they even have keyboards. We crave ubiquity and personality in our interfaces; something always there, always responsive, controlled as directly and easily as any tangible system. Star Trek predicts all of this, and now more than ever you can see those predictions becoming reality.
Something that I think will be interesting to look for in coming years is the development of the human element in UI. Will we begin to realize our fantasies of the jovial robot butler, or the sweet voice of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry greeting us when we login? Only time will tell!