My Name Is Legion wrote:
The flip side of using flatscreen computer displays in Enterprise is that they were animated (and within budget, always the primary consideration) and due to good graphic design they appeared to be providing information to the crew. The major issue that's always existed with Star Trek - and this is particularly true of TOS - is that the equipment on the bridge is attractive but rarely appears to be doing anything useful.
Probably the most persuasive instruments on the TOS bridge were Spock's viewer and Sulu's targeting scope, simply because you couldn't judge the visual plausibility of whatever they were looking at.
A second way in which the Enterprise bridge is more persuasive is that the design employs the kind of basic ergonomics - heights, angles, size of panel layouts - that people have become familiar with in modern office environments and personal computers. The TOS is much more seat-of-the pants in that regard. Uhura occupies a station that's twice the size it ought to be and tilted up before her at an extreme angle that happens to look good on camera because that angle better shows off the backlit jelly-button "control panels."
The TOS bridge is my favorite Star Trek set, period, but that's not because of its plausibility so much as the esthetics and way the design "plays" - yeah, getting to and from Kirk's chair is ridiculous, but the eye lines and character movement from level to level are great.
Frank Lloyd Wright's designs were notoriously ignorant of ergonomics, and yet they still look more futuristic than much of what is built today, nearly a century after their design. Tell me what you think -- what looks more futuristic - the NX-01 bridge or Frank Lloyd Wright's designs for the interior of Klaatu's ship in "The Day the Earth Stood Still"? I know Wright's designs with their stand-up controls probably fail the ergonomics test. But their ambiguity and dissociation from what is familiar, yet vague connection with what we would expect from "controls" makes them look suitably futuristic to me. But I may be in the minority.