Human-Computer Interaction: Principles and Future Development
Computers were invented to make our lives more comfortable and trouble-free. The first computing devices occupied several rooms, and if we compare them with contemporary ones, we should admit that they have evolved a great deal. Computers have come a long way from being autonomous data processing machines to sophisticated programmable devices connected to a global network.
In fact, modern PCs are so powerful that they can help people in so many different ways. Personal computers, laptops, and smartphones are now cheap and affordable to almost any person. However, the evolution of computers wasn’t only about making them smaller and more powerful – we simply wanted our interaction with them to be simpler and more effective.
What Is Human-Computer Interaction?
People have been interacting with computer devices in various aspects of life for decades. Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a branch of science that studies different processes occurring in digital space between humans and computers. HCI is often considered an amalgamation of various scientific fields, such as computer programming, design, and psychological behaviorism.
HCI is meant to make computers more convenient and responsive to their users’ needs. HCI experts work at almost all software companies and the reason for that is quite simple – usability and friendliness of computer devices play a significant role in modern realia. The new approach is related not only to computers but also to consumer electronic devices, such as microwave ovens and washing machines. HCI specialists are playing an increasingly important role in various organizations these days. They help them improve business efficiency, teamwork, and management with the help of computers. As a result, HCI becomes an integral part of many significant processes taking place nowadays.
Human Psychology and Digital Devices Functioning
At the dawn of the digital revolution, only IT professionals with years of experience under their belts were able to interact with computers. Today, the average user of electronic gadgets doesn’t want to waste their time trying to understand the technology behind them. People are too busy and can’t afford themselves the luxury of spending long hours learning new programs and ways of their application. In fact, to be able to use computer devices, for example, to find the best writing service they don’t really need to have an in-depth knowledge of the software products they run on.
Advances in miniaturization and related technologies have made it possible to design complex information systems. Thanks to them, modern computer systems are becoming increasingly easy to learn and use. Therefore, software developers are trying hard to make the interaction between humans and computing devices as natural as possible. It is the design and development of such systems that HCI experts are primarily involved in these days. Progress achieved in humanization of HCI has made it possible to develop multi-touch screens with advanced functionality. Thanks to them, we can now interact with computers intuitively and without having to rely on multi-page instructions. The naturally-intuitive methods have become the next step in interaction with computers. At the moment, computers have enough power to understand what the user wants and anticipate their intentions.
The interaction between a human and a computer occurs through the user interface. The human-machine interface is both a method and means of enabling direct communication between an operator and a computer system. It provides the user with more possibilities to control the system and the way it functions. Designing a simple, minimalistic and clear-cut user interface is absolutely necessary for ensuring smoother interaction with any sophisticated modern information system. An interface can be thought of as a communication node or a point of information exchange between a man and a computer. Poorly designed interfaces can cause quite a few problems, which is why HCI specialists mainly concern themselves with developing high-quality graphic and web interfaces.
The fundamental principle behind HCI is to put humans first, and that is precisely why software developers place so much emphasis on the human factor. Human-machine interaction should be designed in such a way as to meet user requirements and expectations. Therefore, IT experts study the way people use modern technology in an attempt to ensure their secure and efficient communication with gadgets and computer networks. Using Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics as a basis, Jef Raskin, an expert in computer interfaces, formulated two principles of interaction between humans and computers. Here they are:
1. Computers cannot harm humans by their actions, nor must they damage them by their inaction.
2. Computers should not waste their users’ time nor require humans to do more work than it is truly necessary.
Future of HCI
The idea behind HCI is to develop a system that will help computers understand their users better. Also, it will make it possible to create a three-dimensional virtual space in which we will live, work, and interact with machines and one another. So, the way humans and computers interact will definitely undergo major changes in the future.
The widespread use of modern technology brings about enormous changes in HCI. It makes it easier for the mass consumer to use a variety of computers and benefit from the technology behind them even without operating them directly. Social and ethical principles of HCI will increasingly become similar to interpersonal human relationships. In time, the interaction between humans and machines will resemble a dialogue between people. In the near future, it will be impossible to imagine our goals, ambitions, and aspirations without the use of computers and virtual space. We should, therefore, understand that all these changes will lead to our dependence on machines. That said, we shouldn’t forget that HCI only allows us to focus on real values – our daily lives, jobs, families, health, education, and interpersonal communication.