Sci-fi futuristic screens always look needlessly complicated with gear-like circles in seemingly random spots on a screen. Very little color-coding is happening and you usually just see a bunch of designs and text in a light blue color on a black or transparent backdrop.

These sci-fi visuals are meant to evoke a style of unfamiliarity and tech complexity, but the real-life trend visually has always been to simplify the experience for the user of the technology.

The visuals in these films are also lacking a major trend in UI (User Interface) design – white space. As time has moved on, designers have realized the benefits of letting designs breathe on digital backdrops. We went from 90s eyesores cramming different textures and buttons onto a screen, to letting much of the design remain hidden at a time. White space isn’t good movie material, but an unrealistic representation of future UIs.

In Nostalgia Critic’s review of “After Earth” at 6:20 he points out this weird trope in sci-fi films to have people pointlessly waving their hands over holographic shapes:

Minority report popularized this trope with the idea of augmented reality screens. In reality while we might see a trend in transparent screens, actual graphics while still need a sense of consistency or grouping and not just randomly floating around.

Since this post is about fictional UI, I thought I could point you in the direction of the “imagination” page of this site – it’s got a bunch of fictional UI.

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