3.1 Introduction – Human Computer Interaction

The Human Computer Interaction refers to the discipline of the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. The HCI studies human and the computer in conjunction with each other by drawing on the supporting knowledge from both the computer and the human side. From machine side, techniques such as computer graphics, operating systems, programming languages and development environment are relevant while on the human side, communication theory, graphics, linguistics, social sciences and cognitive psychology and human factor integration are very relevant. The basic goal of HCI is the improvement of interactions between the user and the computers, by introducing new techniques and technology that would make the computer more usable and receptive to user’s need and requirements.

HCI is basically concerned with methodologies and processes for designing interfaces and interaction techniques, methods for implementing techniques for evaluation and comparing interfaces as well as developing descriptive and predictive models and theories of interaction. HCI long-term goal involves designing systems that minimize the barrier between the human’s cognitive model of the task they want to accomplish and the computer understands the user’s task.

As the technology has progressed, the technology HCI gave birth to always evolve with it.  Until the late 1970s, the human interaction with computers was only restricted to few devices with uses only limited to information technology professional and dedicated hobbyists.  By 1980s, this has changed disruptively with the emergence of personal computing, due to its devices and components being made affordable by technology. The experience of personal computing included both personal software such as productivity applications (text editors and spreadsheets and games) as well personal computer platforms (operating systems, programming languages and hardware), which made almost everyone in the developed world a potential buyer and user of a computer, highlighting the shortcomings of the computer interfaces with respect to usability for those who wanted to use the computer as a tool. Just at the time when the challenge of personal computing presented the practical need of HCI, cognitive science, which incorporated cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, cognitive anthropology and the philosophy of mind, had matured to such extent to present  people, concepts as well as vision for addressing such needs (Nebel & Lakemeyer, 2003).

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