Hollywood, Interaction Design and the Silver Screen

Session Title

Hollywood, Interaction Design and the Silver Screen


Kaleem Khan

Session Type: Presentation

From the earliest days of Hollywood, filmmakers and audiences have been fascinated by technological tales. Directors’ visions of the future range from fanciful devices to futuristic interfaces.

This session examines the portrayal of interaction design, interfaces and architectures as seen by Hollywood. Movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Minority Report, and television shows like Star Trek have inspired and amused audiences for generations. As practitioners who deal with complex information and interactions on a daily basis, we design the future.

We can learn both from elegant depictions and catastrophic abominations of interaction design as envisioned by those who transport us into realities other than our own.

Attendees will learn how interactions, interfaces and experiences have been viewed by Hollywood directors over time and gain inspiration from some of the most creative minds in the world.

This session is recommended for anyone who enjoys movies and looks for inspiration in other fields. Popcorn is optional.


Kaleem makes things simple.

As a strategist, consultant and designer, Kaleem helps global companies, agencies, startups and governments create great experiences and solve complex problems.

Over two decades, he has worked with clients that include leaders in consumer electronics, mobile technology, Internet services, software, health care, financial services, telecom and security.

Kaleem is a member of an alphabet soup of professional user experience groups including ACM SIGCHI, IAI and IxDA. He is a UXnet ambassador, local leader of the UX Book Club, and steward of the UX Irregulars, a Toronto-based UX group with members around the world.

He is a founding partner of strategy and research consultancy True Insight.


  1. Posted September 16, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I really love this idea. In fact, this is the topic of a class I am teaching. It’s important to recognize how some of the interfaces in fiction don’t exist not just because the technology doesn’t exist (Star Trek transporters) but also because the interfaces are often inherently un-usable (to be a user of those Minority Report UIs you must have massive “gorilla arms” to hold your arms horizontal for hours and hours). Kaleem will bring a lot to this one, I suspect.

    The title, however, is a little redundant. Hollywood = Silver Screen. Sorry to be pedantic!

  2. Posted September 17, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Thanks for your feedback, Chris! Please continue to be pedantic and your offer your critique. You’re absolutely right about the (working) title. I’d love to compare notes with you on this topic at some point.

    And thanks for the vote of confidence!

  3. Posted September 22, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I’m very interested in the topic and will root for your presentation proposal to be accepted. You’ll see me in the front row.

  4. Posted October 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Valeska, thanks for the support. Much appreciated!

  5. Posted October 1, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    This session sounds like fun. It’s interesting to consider how depictions of the future say quite a lot more about the present. Perhaps films took over these depictions from spectacles like The World’s Fair? The 1933 Chicago World’s fair had some facinating images. Their deterministic motto makes me wonder whether they were really optimistic or resigned: “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms.” The New York 1939 World’s fair with its “world of tomorrow” theme explicitly set out to imagine the future (just when things seemed particularly bleak for the world). So much of the 30′s and 40′s seemed dedicated to imagining future domestic technologies. Does it seem like the futures we imagine now are all interfaces for public spaces and work?