Extrovert vs Introvert User Interfaces

Yesterday I watched the pilot for the new TV series based on the Minority Report movie (don’t ask how). It has some nice sci-fi touches and is nicely tied to the movie but on the whole was pretty much just another future cop procedural not unlike ‘Almost Human’ – can’t see it lasting to be honest.

Anyway this blog isn’t where I rant about TV – I have Twitter and Medium for that – the thing I wanted to mention was how much I dislike the user interfaces that they showcase in the show – pretty much the same as those from the movie with a few tweaks. It is the same problem I have with a lot of the stuff in things like the Iron Man movies as well. I think it makes for some nice visuals for shows/movies but the whole thing looks bloody exhausting! All that arm waving, wrist twirling, jazz fingers. If you removed the UI imagery it would look like particularly bad ‘Vogueing’ from the 90s 😉


Now clearly gesture driven interfaces are a reality – at least to some extent – thanks to all that Gorilla Glass ™ we are carrying around in our pockets but extrapolating that model out in to some extended, augmented reality operating system seems, to me, just a bit too expressive and showy – a bit too Californian for my British sensibilities.

I’m a child of Star Trek: TNG I guess. I like the idea of ‘Conversational User Interfaces‘. I want to just ask for “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” 🙂

Things like Siri, Cortana and Google Now are obviously early incarnations of this idea (though none of them cope too well with my Brizzle burr just yet!) but to use yet another fictional example – from a film otherwise too quirky for my rather straightforward tastes – I really liked the way interfaces were presented in ‘Her’ even before the whole sexy voiced Scarlett as AI was introduced. It all seemed a bit more low impact, less in your face. More my pace.


The weird thing is I guess ‘wearables’ (dreadful term) become the defining hardware for both of these fictional interfaces. So I should probably be a little less dismissive of that whole world.

Anyway I am no ‘futurist’ (is anybody REALLY) but at work there are already lots of conversations about the next Census in 2021 which means that we are six or seven years away from disseminating the findings of that to the public – about the time since the iPhone was launched and that had a little bit of an effect on user expectations. So every now and again I enjoy a little speculation but maybe I should leave it to the sci-fi authors.

Anyway I’ll give Montgomery “Scotty” Scott the last word on the topic;

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