Human Computer Interaction (HCI)?

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What is Human Computer Interaction (HCI) ? The term human–computer interactionhas only been in widespread use since the early 1980s, but has its roots in more established disciplines. Systematic study of human performance began in earnest at the beginning of the last century in factories, with an emphasis on manual tasks. The Second World War provided the impetus for studying the interaction between humans and machines, as each side strove to produce more effective weapons systems. This led to a wave of interest in the area among researchers, and the formation of the Ergonomics Research Society in 1949. Traditionally, ergonomists have been concerned primarily with the physical characteristics of machines and systems, and how these affect…show more content…
We are interested in answering a particular question. How do principles and methods from each of these contributing dis-ciplines in HCI help us to design better systems ? In this we must be pragmatists rather than theorists: we want to know how to apply the theory to the problem rather than just acquire a deep understanding of the theory. Our goal, then, is to be multi-disciplinary but practical. We concentrate particularly on computer science, psychology and cognitive science as core subjects, and on their application to design; other disciplines are consulted to provide input where…show more content…
We are certainly even further from having a unified theory of experience than of task. The question of whether HCI, or more importantly the design of interactive sys-tems and the user interface in particular, is a science or a craft discipline is an inter-esting one. Does it involve artistic skill and fortuitous insight or reasoned methodical science ? Here we can draw an analogy with architecture. The most impressive struc-tures, the most beautiful buildings, the innovative and imaginative creations that provide aesthetic pleasure, all require inventive inspiration in design and a sense of artistry, and in this sense the discipline is a craft. However, these structures also have to be able to stand up to fulfill their purpose successfully, and to be able to do this the architect has to use science. So it is for HCI: beautiful and/or novel interfaces are artistically pleasing and capable of fulfilling the tasks required – a marriage of art and science into a successful whole. We want to reuse lessons learned from the past about how to achieve good results and avoid bad ones. For this we require both craft and science. Innovative ideas lead to more usable systems, but in order to maximize the potential benefit from the ideas, we need to understand not only that they work, but how and why they

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