Computers are everywhere. We are practically cyborgs that interact with at least four computers a day—our work pcs, smartphones, tablets, and even e-readers. HCI is on the rise as technology is becoming more integrated with how we go about our daily digital lives. It has always been a part of every aspect of technology and design, from the looks to the interactions. HCI is also a vital skill any designer or developer must have to create future-proof experiences.
This article will cover the what’s, why’s, and how’s of Human-Computer Interaction.
What is HCI?
HCI stands for Human-Computer Interaction, the study of the interaction between people and computers. It focuses on three main components: the user (human), the interface (computer), and the interactions between the two. By diving deep into the physical, emotional, and technological aspects of HCI, we can fully grasp user-centered design, UI and UX to create experiences that satisfy users by improving how an interface looks and is understood. This greatly helps increase productivity and efficiency, enhance user experience, and reduce risks that lead to many present and future problems.
Why is HCI important?
The goal of HCI is mainly to increase productivity and efficiency. A concrete example would be the invention of touchscreens. From accessing functions with a press of a button and by controlling the mouse to just directly interacting with a combined input/display device. By reducing user effort and cognitive load made what was once a 5 minute task to a 1-2 minute one. Time is of the essence in busy enterprises.
How is it different from UX?
While HCI and UX coincide, HCI focuses on the interactions between a user and technology and how that can be executed smoothly, backed up by research and long-tern study. UX covers the entire canvas that makes up of all those interactions. It is industry-driven that can be accomplished in a short span of time.
Studying HCI is the foundation to creating a great human experience. It works hand-in-hand with UI and UX, skills that mold an effective developer or designer. I can’t imagine still having to type console commands just to open up a software or to search for a file. How times have changed.