Make It So
Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction
By Nathan Shedroff, Christopher Noessel
Publisher: Rosenfeld Media
Released: September 2012
Pages: 368

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.

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oreillyMake It So
 
4.2

(based on 6 reviews)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (5)
  • Helpful examples (4)
  • Well-written (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (5)
    • Novice (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Designer (3), Developer (3)

    Reviewed by 6 customers

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    5.0

    You too can

    By Rich

    from St. Louis, MO

    About Me Designer, Developer, Educator

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate

      Comments about oreilly Make It So:

      This is a book for professional designers of any system that has an interface with a human user as a primary component.

      The essence of the study of sci-fi interfaces is presented as a series of 'lessons' providing guidance for what we can use in other system that we design. For example, "USE ALL CAPITOL LETTERS AND A FIXED-WIDTH FONT TO EVOKE THE LOOK OF EARLY COMPUTER INTERFACES". This tells us both how to evoke a specific look and what not to do for a modern interface.

      For the vast majority of us, chapter 3, which talks about the WIMP ( Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointers) interface, will be most useful. The authors provide "lessons" or guidelines on fonts, colors, and shapes among other things.

      Perhaps the book's greatest strength is in how it can help designers of new interfaces for things not currently in common use, like 3D visualization or advanced medical devices. Several chapters cover interfaces based on gestures, spoken languages, and even direct brain interfaces. Maybe we are not ready for the latter, but it illustrates the depth of the subject matter.

      One of the most interesting chapters looks at how humans anthropomorphize the systems that they interact with. That is, how humans attach human traits to non-human systems and expect those systems to react in human ways. This is something every designer of any complex system must consider in order to make a system successful.

       
      3.0

      Good book, awful editing

      By Kurai

      from Italy

      About Me Designer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easy to understand
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Awful Editing
      • Too many errors

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate

      Comments about oreilly Make It So:

      The book is really good, I have to say it's a must for anyone working in interaction/interface design and UX.

      Unfortunately the .mobi version (the one I've installed on my Kindle) is poorly edited, with a very high number of errors and sometime even missing words. The PDF version is fine, but that I cannot read on my Kindle.

      Probably the .mobi version shouldn't have been included in first place, because it's really impossible to read.

      Should the .mobi version be updated (and made compatible with the Send to Kindle button), then the rating can go up.

       
      4.0

      A Brief View into GUIs

      By Asian Tango

      from Santa Rosa, CA

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Not comprehensive enough

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Make It So:

      We see how GUIs are designed from the beginning of sci-fi films to what we might see today. In the process, we see different uses and what each type of GUI is aiming for.

      It is a great read for any designer as it shows designers what one might not have noticed while watching movies. The goal is to show how one might design a certain interface and how to make it so that the audience might see it as plausible. The latter applies more so with non-existent technologies such as brain transfers and the like. The former may spark ideas of designs or explain why something might be done that way as we see early on.

      I like the ordering of the book and the case studies and lessons that it provides at the end of each chapter. My main complaint is a lack of mobile interfaces chapter which might pertain to people developing smartphone apps and the like. It is a great read, especially if you've watched many of the movies already.

       
      4.0

      An engaging survey of interaction design

      By Simon

      from New Zealand

      About Me Designer, Developer, Maker

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice

        Comments about oreilly Make It So:

        By drawing on examples from science fiction movies and TV, this book covers a wide range of interaction design topics, focusing mostly on the surface aspects of the interaction. This provides a more effective presentation than a dry textbook survey of the techniques themselves would do.

        For an equally engaging study of interaction processes that focuses on the sequence of activities in an interaction, look for another O'Reilly book: "Evil by Design".

         
        4.0

        Intriguing look at designing

        By typeglyph

        from Canada

        Verified Reviewer

        Comments about oreilly Make It So:

        While the content is fantastic, the authors did not write this to be an ebook, and O'Reilly did not edit this carefully. So ignore all the things that make the ebook a poor interactive specimen and concentrate on the content.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Engaging Examination of Sci-Fi Design

        By R&D

        from Atlanta, GA

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Expert
          • Intermediate
          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Make It So:

          Science fiction shows us potential futures filled with technological marvels limited only by our imaginations. So how can we learn from the way characters interact with technology on television and in the movies to make interfaces that work in reality? Make It So explores the bridge between fiction and fact, where sci-fi can inform the design of technology that can enhance our lives.

          The authors undertook a detailed survey of live-action and 3D animated sci-fi to find trends and insights. It seems that certain colors, styles, and features appear again and again, although there are always exceptions that reveal novel ways of viewing or interacting with technology. Case studies in the book examine how some of these creations translate to practical design and others have properties that prevent them from having much use in reality. While the fictional use of technology can lend a certain atmosphere or enhance drama, real-life users need interfaces that help them accomplish their goals without getting in their way. Make It So reveals lessons learned from sci-fi that could inspire creators of today's technology to bring the future to us.

          Disclosure: Free access to this e-book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

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