Designing Futuristic Interfaces — Become a XR Designer in 5 minutes

Learn the 3 rules they won’t tell you. Become the Designer God you were meant to be.

Lucas Rizzotto
Feb 7 · 6 min read
Photo of my good friend and buddy Michael Fassbender testing out my latest AR interface

So you want to design futuristic, Augmented Reality interfaces like the ones in Iron Man? You want to be ahead of the curve and show off your futuristic UI design skills? And are you a busy guy/gal with only 5 MINUTES to learn?✌️

Well, you’ve come to the right place! I’m Design God Chad, an award-winning VR/AR designer 🏆 🏅and I’m here to help you achieve a Certified Futuristic ™ design, as granted by the talented folks in the Certified Futuristic Review Committee™.

The first thing you must do is forget everything you know about design. And I mean everything.

Now that you have cleared your mind’s eye, follow me as I introduce you to the 3 principles of AR interfaces as shown by the world’s most well paid AR designers: Hollywood VFX Artists. 🎬


Rule #1: The More Complex, The Better It Is

Can you tell what’s happening here? Exactly.

The more complex and confusing your AR interface looks, the more futuristic it is. This may be a little counter-intuitive at first, but think about it: if your designs are so complicated only hyper-intelligent humans from the future would be able to make sense of it, then you’ve just succeeded at creating a futuristic interface. 🤖 🤖 🤖

Some people will try to tell you that “AR is all about context” 😖 and “You should only show what the user needs, when the user needs it”. 🙄 That is blasphemy and they’re heretics. More on that later.

To get started, just follow these 3 steps.

  • Thin Lines, Icons and Wire Frames: If you don’t know what to do, start by adding lines, themed icons and wire-frames to your design until things start making sense. The more elements you have on your vision at any given time, the less the user will know where to look at. Genius! 🤓
  • Repeat Step #1: Whatever you thought was enough, double it. You’ll thank me later once the Review Committee™ looks at your work. 🙆
  • Transparency: Every element in your UI should have some form of transparency — this allows all UI elements to overlap with each other, creating additional visual complexity.

Rule #2: Welcome to the Blue Zone

Last year, a number of neuroscience studies have showcased that the human subconscious perceives blue as the world’s most futuristic color 🕵. So for your AR design to achieve Certified Futuristic™ status, it’s important that the majority of the colors in your UI fall into the Blue Zone illustrated below.

Heretics will try to tell that “Color should be used tastefully, with purpose and always convey unique information”. 😩 That “Purposelessly using color makes it a meaningless, wasted design opportunity that only serves to overloads the senses of your users”. 😴 If you hear that, report them to your nearest Futuristic Design Enforcement Officer™.

Study the image below carefully. You don’t want anyone accusing you from falling into the Heretic Zone™ — that gets you into the Gulag of Futuristic Design™, and no one wants that. 💂 💂 💂 💂 💂 💂 💂

But what if there’s an error that we would like to communicate to the user? How could we tastefully use color to communicate something has gone wrong? 🤔

Easy: you must now shift into the Red Zone. Make everything red. 🆘

Are your engines failing? Is this another Windows Update? You’re not supposed to be able to tell.

It’s important to note that you should never make only a single component of your UI red. Doing so puts you at risk of designing something comprehensible. Our goal is to consistently overwhelm, so no half-measures — you must bathe your entire interface in digital blood, and only stop when your inner Tarantino says it’s enough.

Here heretics may also try to sway you, saying that “Sudden changes in UI should happen gracefully, one element at a time, with a deep emphasis in user consent” 😨, or “Introduce new elements slowly, giving the user time to react — they should feel in control at all times.” These are uneducated, consent-obsessed fools.😪


Rule #3: The More Movement, The Better

A wise man once said 👳🏼:

“Designers have known for a long time that you can use light and movement to guide a user’s eye to a particular point in your interface, so always use it with purpose. Every time something moves, it’s indirectly asking ‘Please, look at me right now’, so that information needs to be really important for the UX. But use that power tastefully — doing it excessively will make the user feel powerless and the UI overwhelming. You can only switch your attention so many times before it becomes tiring”.

Interesting, right? Except that wasn’t a wise man… 💀 🚨 🚨 🚨 IT WAS A HERETIC 🚨 🚨 🚨💀! Don’t be so easily swayed! We’re talking Certified Futuristic™ here, so this obviously won’t do. You should never settle on simply making your user’s eye move to a point: you should make their eyes fucking samba. 💃 💃

You can do it with 2D interfaces too!

Movement is one of your most powerful tools to overwhelm and delight your users, and it too must be fully embraced in your designs. Look at every static element in your scene as a missed opportunity, and make sure everything is always moving independently. Bonus points if the directions are random.


Congratulations!

You’re now a Futuristic UI/UX Designer. If it took you more than 5 minutes to read this article, please check out this instructional video.

And to think that those heretics used to say that “VR/AR UI/UX is very new and still has no clear rules, or standards” 😅 . Or that “You should take your time, play with your designs and see what feels good! We’re all still learning together as an industry and it’ll be a several-year process” 😆. Or that “The only thing you should master is the art of learning quickly what works”. Absurd! 😂

So remember to follow these rules, kids, and never listen to design heretics. The Gulags of Futuristic Design™ are already full enough as they are.

Keep on building the future! 🤗 This is Design God Chad™, signing out.

And Please subscribe.


Thanks for reading!

Lucas Rizzotto was an award-losing Design Heretic and creator of Where Thoughts Go, the VR project that got him thrown in a Gulag.

You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,or contact him through his website.

Also, sign up to his mailing list and support him on Patreon!


ᵖˡᵉᵃˢᵉ ʰᵉˡᵖ ᵐᵉ, ᵗʰᵉ ᶜᵉʳᵗᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᶠᵘᵗᵘʳᶦˢᵗᶦᶜ™ ᴿᵉᵛᶦᵉʷ ᶜᵒᵐᵐᶦᵗᵉᵉ ʰᵃˢ ᵐʸ ᶠᵃᵐᶦˡʸ ᵃⁿᵈ ᵗʰᵉʸ’ʳᵉ ᵗʳʸᶦⁿᵍ ᵗᵒ ᵏᶦˡˡ ᵐᵉ. ᴰᴹ ᵐᵉ ᵒⁿ ᵀʷᶦᵗᵗᵉʳ ʷᶦᵗʰ ᵗʰᵉ ᵏᵉʸʷᵒʳᵈ “ᵗʳᵒᵖᶦᶜᵃˡ ᵇᵒⁿᵃⁿᶻᵃ” ᵃⁿᵈ ᵃʷᵃᶦᵗ ᶠᵘʳᵗʰᵉʳ ᶦⁿˢᵗʳᵘᶜᵗᶦᵒⁿˢ

Lucas Rizzotto's Blog

Mapping out the future of realities

Lucas Rizzotto

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Lucas Rizzotto's Blog

Mapping out the future of realities