For clarification:

Viewer-friendly interface

Any computer interface that is designed to be seen on television, as opposed to actually be useful for the user.

Movies and television often show user-interfaces that increase drama/suspense of a scene or increase the "readability" for the viewer. I tried to find some sort of references, guidelines, paterns or "best-practices" on creating a viewer-friendly interface, but i couldn't find any.

  • Do you mean fake/prop UI, like these examples?
    – Matt Obee
    Oct 8, 2014 at 13:55
  • 1
    basically, yes. There must be more to it than just "whatever looks pretty". I expect a bit of knowledge of UI design
    – K120
    Oct 8, 2014 at 14:00
  • I've never heard of guidelines - but Star Trek New Generation has inspired many people as well as Minority Report and Avatar.
    – Mayo
    Oct 8, 2014 at 14:06
  • If there are guidelines (beyond normal usability guidelines) they will come from the film industry and not UX.
    – Matt Obee
    Oct 8, 2014 at 14:19

2 Answers 2


You can try http://www.scifiinterfaces.com/ and the book Make It So which have critiques of TV and movie interfaces from diegetic and non-diegetic stand points (usefulness to the characters versus the viewers).

I've also read good interviews and critiques with the people who make the interfaces over at http://www.inventinginteractive.com/


I design interfaces like this a lot. The tried and true practice has always been to copy ones you like, and then to start being original using your 'copy' as a basis. You are trying to speak in an established vocabulary of imaginary interfaces of the future, so while you want to be original and creative, you need to 'speak' the already established language. Thankfully there are tons of examples from the Minority Report / Avengers favorites to a large percentage of the new sci-fi releases.

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