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DevConf.US 2022 is the 5th annual, free, Red Hat sponsored technology conference for community project and professional contributors to Free and Open Source technologies coming to Boston this August!!
Saturday, August 20 • 11:30 - 11:55
“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot”: UX in Science Fiction

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UX designs that once were science fiction are now integral parts of our lives. Star Trek communicators became the first flip phones. HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey navigates our cars and runs our kitchens. The Dick Tracy video wristwatch has morphed into Fitbits and smart watches.

As a UX writer, I notice that the UX designs in SciFi miraculously don’t require user guides. Frankly, you don’t see documentation in movies or on TV at all, unless it’s a joke about how difficult the instructions are to understand. That may be because SciFi interfaces are more stagecraft than good design, but I think there’s more to it. For one, the audience needs to understand what’s happening without any training. But also the artists that are designing these new user experiences are imagining the world that they want to live in, and that doesn’t include documentation.

Science Fiction in movies and television is the playground where artists can imagine new UXes that engineers and UX designers can some day make a reality. The best part of all this is that the designs on screen are open for everyone to see and experiment with. This talk is a deep dive into those SciFi UX designs with a focus on what they mean for our own futures and freedoms.

This presentation explores how SciFi has influenced both past and current UX designs.
  • The talk will shows lots of video clips and screenshots, so attendees can see UX designs from both older and recent media. I have gathered many examples and am excited to share them. 
  • The talk teases out which UX designs are a byproduct of filmmaking and which are actually innovative design. 
  • We’ll explore some of the more recent UX design trends in various media and investigate whether similar trends are already appearing in current designs. 
Attendees should leave this session feeling as if their brains have been opened up to new design possibilities.

avatar for Ingrid Towey

Ingrid Towey

Principal Technical Editor, Writing Coach, Red Hat
As a lifelong reader of comic books and science fiction, I am pleased that so much of science fiction has become a reality in my lifetime, but I am still anxiously awaiting my own personal jetpack and flying car. The clock is ticking!I have a Master’s degree in Folklore and 18 years... Read More →

Saturday August 20, 2022 11:30 - 11:55 EDT
Conference Auditorium