RTU HCI Notes: Human-Computer Interaction

What is HCI ?

HCI (human-computer interaction)

Human–computer interaction (HCI) studies the design and use of computer technology, focused on the interfaces between people (users) and computers. Researchers in the field of HCI observe the ways in which humans interact with computers and design technologies that let humans interact with computers in novel ways.

It deals with the design, execution and assessment of computer systems and related phenomenon that are for human use.

HCI can be used in all disciplines wherever there is a possibility of computer installation. Some of the areas where HCI can be implemented with distinctive importance are mentioned below −

  • Computer Science − For application design and engineering.
  • Psychology − For application of theories and analytical purpose.
  • Sociology − For interaction between technology and organization.
  • Industrial Design − For interactive products like mobile phones, microwave oven, etc.



The intention of this subject is to learn the ways of designing user-friendly interfaces or interactions. Considering which, we will learn the following −

  • Ways to design and assess interactive systems.
  • Ways to reduce design time through cognitive system and task models.
  • Procedures and heuristics for interactive system design.


Goals of HCI

The goals of HCI are to produce usable and safe systems, as well as functional systems. In order o produce computer systems with good usability, developers must attempt to:

  • understand the factors that determine how people use technology.
  • Develop tools and techniques to enable building suitable systems
  • Achieve efficient, effective, and safe interaction
  • Put people first



Usability is one of the key concepts in HCI. It is concerned with making systems easy to learn and use. A usable system is:

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to remember how to use
  • Effective to use
  • Efficient to use
  • Safe to use
  • Enjoyable to use


Goals for computers

Human–computer interaction studies the ways in which humans make—or do not make—use of computational artifacts, systems and infrastructures. Much of the research in the field seeks to improve human–computer interaction by improving the usability of computer interfaces. How usability is to be precisely understood, how it relates to other social and cultural values and when it is, and when it may not be a desirable property of computer interfaces is increasingly debated.

Much of the research in the field of human–computer interaction takes an interest in:

  • Methods for designing new computer interfaces, thereby optimizing a design for a desired property such as learnability, findability, efficiency of use.
  • Methods for implementing interfaces, e.g., by means of software libraries.
  • Methods for evaluating and comparing interfaces with respect to their usability and other desirable properties.
  • Methods for studying human computer use and its sociocultural implications more broadly.
  • Methods for determining whether or not the user is human or computer.
  • Models and theories of human computer use as well as conceptual frameworks for the design of computer interfaces, such as cognitivist user models, Activity Theory or ethnomethodological accounts of human computer use.
  • Perspectives that critically reflect upon the values that underlie computational design, computer use and HCI research practice.

Visions of what researchers in the field seek to achieve vary. When pursuing a cognitivist perspective, researchers of HCI may seek to align computer interfaces with the mental model that humans have of their activities. When pursuing a post-cognitivist perspective, researchers of HCI may seek to align computer interfaces with existing social practices or existing sociocultural values.

Researchers in HCI are interested in developing design methodologies, experimenting with devices, prototyping software and hardware systems, exploring interaction paradigms, and developing models and theories of interaction.









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