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Human-Computer Interaction(HCI): Importance and Applications

  • Utsav Mishra
  • Jun 25, 2021
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The world of computing has evolved really fast with passing time. From data centres, we moved to the cloud, then to the edge and we are sure that much more is still going to come. We got introduced to 3D printing and virtual and augmented reality applications, some of which completely changed our lives. As discussing augmented reality, learn top trends in AR.


From the AI assistant on our phones to that speaker looking thing that can turn off the lights of your room on one single command of yours, technology has no barriers nowadays. But in between this technical revolution we must admit that the interaction and communications with technology is not always that easy, remember getting annoyed because of your phone’s autocorrect feature? That’s what I am talking about. 


The keyboard that was not easy to communicate with was suffering from a poor Human-computer interaction design. Do you know what it is? This blog is all about the thing mentioned above.



Human-Computer Interaction(HCI)


The study of how computer technology affects human labour and activities is known as Human–Computer Interaction (HCI). 


The word "computer technology" currently encompasses a wide range of devices, from traditional computers with displays and keyboards to smartphones, home appliances, in-car navigation systems, and even integrated sensors and actuators like automated lighting. 


HCI is linked to a design field known as Interaction Design or User-Centered Design, which focuses on how to make computer technology as simple and enjoyable to use as possible. The concept of "usability," which is generally characterised in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction, is an important part of the design profession.


Because it currently encompasses practically all types of information technology, the definition of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) must remain wide (IT). The study of creating computers and technologies to best serve their users is known as human-computer interaction (HCI) (i.e. humans). HCI is closely connected to User Experience (UX) design and is widely regarded as the forerunner of this more current approach.


(Must read: Dark side of IT)


Evolution of Human-Computer Interaction


Since its beginning, the area of Human-Computer Interaction has expanded considerably. To operate the early personal computers (PCs), you needed a lot of training and, predictably, there were a lot of problems in the user experience. Simple operations like moving the mouse or erasing text faced users with never-before-seen problems, all of which posed major barriers to the computer's use.


In the early 1980s, HCI emerged as an attempt to understand how and why computers could be made more user-friendly. The subject of research soon expanded to encompass nearly all aspects of information technology.


Importance of Human-Computer Interaction


HCI is critical since it will be necessary for goods to be more successful, safe, helpful, and functional. It will make the user's experience more enjoyable in the long term. As a result, having someone with HCI skills involved in all phases of any product or system development is critical. HCI is also necessary to prevent goods or projects from failing completely.


When creating clear intuitive systems that will be accessible by people with a wide variety of talents and knowledge, as well as those who have not finished any official training, HCI is critical. HCI makes software and gadgets more intelligible and useful for everyone by leveraging our everyday knowledge of the environment. 


As everyone has used genuine paper folders in their daily lives, displaying a visual of a small folder in a computer's interface helps the user comprehend the folder's purpose. Finally, if a system is well-designed using HCI approaches, the user should not have to worry about the system's complexities. Clear, straightforward, and natural interaction should be the norm.


(Must read: Human Augmentation)



5 Applications of Human-Computer Interaction


  1. Everyday Life


Today, technology has infiltrated every area of our life. Even if a person does not directly own or use a computer, computers have an impact on their lives. ATM machines, railway ticket selling machines, and hot beverage vending machines are just a few examples of computer interfaces that people may interact with on a regular basis without having to possess a computer. 


When creating any of these systems or interfaces, human-computer interaction (HCI) is crucial, whether designing an interface for an ATM or a desktop computer, HCI principles should be examined and taken into account to guarantee that the interface is safe, useful, and efficient.



  1. Industry and Business


HCI is significant for any company that relies on technology or computers in its day-to-day operations. Staff are more content and productive when working with well-designed usable systems since they are not irritated. 


HCI is particularly essential in the design of safety-critical systems like those found in power plants and air traffic control centres. In these instances, design flaws can have catastrophic consequences, including the death of many individuals.


(Related reading: How technology has affected businesses?)



  1. Accessibility


When building systems that are not just functional but also accessible to persons with impairments, human-computer interaction (HCI) is a critical factor to consider. HCI's basic idea is to offer everyone with secure, usable, and efficient systems, which includes people with a wide variety of abilities and levels of experience and knowledge. 


Any system that is built using HCI user-centered approaches and concepts will be as accessible as possible to people with impairments.



  1. Users who are untrained


Today, only a small percentage of computer users read the software's documentation, assuming one exists. Only the most specialist and complex programmes need intensive training and a handbook. 


Within a few minutes of engaging with a computer software, consumers expect to grasp its basic features. HCI equips designers with the ideas, strategies, and resources they need to create intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces that don't require training.


(Also read: Functions of Information Technology)



  1. Other Applications


Virtual reality is an excellent example of human-computer interaction in the workplace. The interaction between the computer and the user is meant to provide the user a new viewpoint. Virtual reality, when done correctly, can genuinely resemble the actual environment, and is an excellent example of good HCI at action. 


Voice search, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Search, is another example. These voice search apps and gadgets allow users to engage with a device or system that guides them to an Amazon purchase or a Google search.



Recent Development in Human-Computer Interaction


On an end-note, if we look at the future of Human-computer interaction, we will find that the things ahead are going to be really exciting. 


Looking into the possibilities of where HCI may lead us might seem like you're reading a science fiction storey. That's because HCI wants technology to be as normal and accessible as possible in our daily lives, giving us a glimpse into an apparently futuristic future. 


The following are some of the most recent prototypes developed by firms throughout the world employing HCI theories:


  1. Dexta Haptic Gloves


When utilising virtual reality, Dexta haptic gloves were created to simulate touch feelings of hardness, softness, springiness, and more. As the user interacts with things in their VR experience, the gloves replicate these feelings by locking and unlocking the user's finger joints to various degrees. As indicating VR applications here, learn the applications of VR in the military.



  1. Pre-touch sensing


It enables your smartphone to read your thoughts (almost). When they first come out, pre-touch phones should be able to detect how the user holds the phone or which fingers approach the screen in order to forecast what the user intends to do. This gives the impression that your phone can read your mind since it executes things before you give it a clear instruction.



  1. Paper ID


It is the next effort to digitise paper by converting it to a touchscreen. Paper will be able to "detect its surroundings and respond to gesture instructions, as well as link to the Internet of Things," according to this new technology. The goal is to connect the physical and digital worlds.


These were just a few applications of HCI that we can see in the near future. Considering it just a window to the future, we can be heavily assured that the door has much more to welcome.


(Recommended blog: Introduction to extended reality)

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    Sep 26, 2022