Abstract such as input channels, output channels, memory

Abstract

Human-Computer
interaction (HCI) is the discipline regarding the design of computer related
technology and the interaction between humans and computers. It is a new field
of study, starting only in the 1970’s as the need of personal computers emerged.
Nowadays it is of great significance to learn about HCI especially for computer
engineering students, which is reason why I wrote this report.
As a basis of the study of HCI, we must first introduce the basics of how humans
and computers function individually. Both computers and humans have similarly
functioning components, such as input channels, output channels, memory and
processing unit. The main difference is the relativity and emotional side,
which computers do not have.
Design is the main approach experts use in order to achieve optimal interaction
between humans and computers, as there are some general rules and guidelines to
be followed; such as flexibility and consistency for the purpose of increasing
usability for users. Also mentioned is the relation to other fields of study
such as human factors and cognitive science.
I.                 
Introduction            Human-Computer Interaction is the
area of study concerning the communication between humans and computers. The
main focus is design of products or programs for the comfort and ease-of-use
for all people.The field of human-computer interaction (HCI) only started
in the late 70s to early 80s, as it was the start for ordinary people other
than professionals and scientists to use computers. For this reason, the use of
personal computers had to be simplified for the pleasure of users of all
backgrounds, as it was quite complicated. HCI is a derivation of the topic
human-machine interaction which has a richer history. The initiation of the
general idea was the Second World War, as there was a need for the study of the
ergonomics of machines and weapons. User performance had to be optimized to
make best use of current technology. Human factor had to be taken into
consideration, whether these where physical or cognitive.This research is aimed at students in the engineering and
design departments especially ones interested in computer, design and human
factor. It is an introduction to this field, promoting the importance of
ergonomics and user interface. Because HCI is a multi-disciplinary territory,
my research therefore presents information in many other fields not only in the
engineering field but also in cognitive science and psychology.Writing and discussing human-computer interaction rises the
overall concern about design in relation with computer engineering and science.
It is extremely important for ordinary students to expand their knowledge in
addition to their knowhow beyond what they learn as mandatory subjects and
classes in the field they are studying at schools and universities as
interdisciplinary subjects are the future. II.              
 Fundamentals          With the aim of explaining the
interaction between humans and computers, one must learn about how each operate
separately in different aspects as well as how the interaction started and how
it developed throughout the years.A.               
Human vs. Computer            Computers
and humans are quite similar in the way they operate. Computer experts and
designers try to imitate basic procedures that happen in the human body in
creating computers. This requires the need of using sensors and other input
methods in place of human senses. Also important to mention are that there are
differences and additional properties that exist between them.1.                  
Input and Output            The
interaction of human beings with the world around them occurs through incoming
and outgoing information. The terms output and input are relative in the
interaction of humans with computers but usually, one corresponds to the other.
For instance, hands or fingers could be an input to a touch screen, while they
are output for the person wanting to interact with the screen. Similarly is the
voice; it is used for humans to communicate as an output method while the
computer receives the voice command as an input. Looking closely at the
interaction that occurs from the computer, design or what the user sees on
screen in general is an input method to the human eye and eventually the brain
-both extremely complex organs- which affects the perception of information.
This is why design a key factor in the implementation of Human Computer
Interaction (HCI), which will be discussed later on in the report.2.                  
Memory            The memory
process in humans is mainly divided into two parts; the short term memory and
the long term memory. The first is used in temporarily needed information. Such
information could be accessed rapidly however it would also be lost fairly
quickly which is why it is only efficient in a short period of time. The second
has the purpose of storing data for longer periods of time. Basic
characteristics of this type include the enormous capacity, slower access rate
and slower forgetting time. Both memory types can be enhanced and diminished by
practice of lack of it. As per mimicry in the technological field, computers
also have similar types of memory. The RAM has a fast access rate while having
a rather small capacity, while discs and drives have a variably large capacity
with slower access rate. The greatest difference between memory and storage
types in both humans and computers is the psychological aspect to it. To
explain further, the state of mind and emotion of human beings usually plays a
role in what we keep and what we forget. 3.                  
Psychology             Although it is hard to imagine what
it would be like if computers experience emotions just as humans do, it is
quite likely that we would be hearing about that in the near future. By the
development of affective computing, scientists are trying to create an
emotional computer. This does not change the fact that humans are emotionally
driven beings, while machines generally only follow commands and orders from
users. Psychology greatly influences humans’ lives on a daily basis, it could
even affect the way a person may receive and process information. For instance,
if a group of people experience a certain incident, each of them would perceive
it differently and also interpret it differently based on their feelings,
opinions and previous knowledge and other relative factors. This is why the
neutrality of computers is a significant advantage and is the reason computers
are preferred in many scientific or mathematical calculations. In other words,
no matter what is going through a computer if a user gives it certain input and
processing formula, it will

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solve it fully objectively and without any outside factors leading to coherent
results.A.               
The History of Human
Computer Interaction            In spite of
the fact that the field of Human computer interaction is relatively new, it has
been developing rapidly in the past 30 years. At first it was founded as a
branch out of a more general field but it reached a point where it consists of
many other research fields. Creating this direction of research was the step
required for the further development not only in informatics and computer
related fields but also in cognitive sciences.1.                  
Start of the Interaction            HCI is
basically derived from previously developed fields such as cognitive science
and human factors engineering, which both will be discussed later on in the
report. The importance of making personal computers available to the public,
especially those with barely any background in the field, forced the study of
HCI as a necessity. Just like how engineers discovered the significance of
designing weapons in the world war II suitable to their body, comfort,
preferences,  and needs, computer
scientists also made notice of such factors when developing computers to be
sold commercially rather than for educational purposes only. In the beginning,
scientists’ main concern were the physical features of machines and their
influence on users’ performances. This mainly included the mechanical side of
the design rather than the informatics behind it. Research in that field
affected the development of Information Technology greatly, as it later became
a huge influencing factor in creating a successful software.2.                  
Development Up Until Today            HCI has
become a very broad field of research with so many subtopics deriving from it
making it a multi-disciplinary topic. It generally optimizes the use of
computers in different fields. Using knowledge of the amplitude of human
beings’ mental, interpretational and problem-solving skills, experts can now
manipulate their perception of graphical user interface for maximum efficiency
and ease of use. This requires a wide range of experts ranging from
psychologists and sociologist to computer scientists and engineers (Carroll,
2013).Norman’s model of interaction is one of the most significant
models to date concerning the interaction of humans and machines, since it is
nearest to the human-being’s common understanding. It mainly consists of a
cycle of collaborations between the user and the computer, in which the user
gives certain orders or tasks then awaits the processing period of the computer
then sees the result the computer presents in order to assess further tasks.
This cycle may also be called the execution-evaluation cycle due to the obvious
partition of phases. A bad mapping example according to Norman is the activity
of switching the lights of larger halls. One is usually baffled by the number of
switches in the same panel however a person with no prior experience has to
learn through trial and error which switch belongs to which light. This could
be fixed by a number of ways such as dividing panels according to room or type
of light, icons and color coding may be useful as well.   II.              
Design            Design is the leading method in the
process of how scientists could control the interaction between humans and
computers. It is used by experts to optimize usage as well as decrease the gap
in the understanding between computers and human.A.               
The Golden Rule of Design            In order to create good designs, one
should understand both computers and humans, for computer one must comprehend
limitations, capacities and technological advances while for humans one should
learn about the psychological side and studying human error.B.                
The Process of Design            The design process is divided into
stages, as shown in the figure below. The first one is determining what is
already present and what is additionally required to begin the design, from
that it is the analysis stage, in which evaluation of different tasks. The
third stage is the actual design procedure, according to guidelines and rules,
scientist would model different design in connection with given limitations.
The following stage is prototyping, which includes trying designs out in order
to find out what to modify and alter. The last two stages may be repeated
multiple times according to need until the both the client and designer are
both satisfied with, just then progress to implementation of the design is
scheduled.C.               
Guidelines and Rules            There are certain rules that must be
followed in order to reach maximum precision with least amounts of alterations.
Rules like mentioned should have few characteristics to enable usability, for
instance the ease of usage as soon as a new user gets to interact with the
designed software and how quickly he would be able to master all functions.
Another property is the flexibility of the structure and how broad in ways it
could be. The last quality is the degree of help the user would be able to get
in order to finish particular tasks. It is very important to keep the design
consistent throughout the whole project, this helps the user familiarize and
group functions to thoroughgoing efficiency. The ability to customize according
to users’ preference and needs is major in designing flexible software that
serve general users with different needs. An additional principle vital to
design is prohibiting users from entering incorrect data into any process which
prevents problems afterwards as well as allowing users from withdrawing actions
that might have been done by mistake, which saves a lot of time and effort.III.          
Relation to other Fields

            As previously mentioned, human
computer interaction is derived from other fairly wide fields, such as human
factors engineering and cognitive science. Both disciplines are not entirely
related to computer design created this field.  A.               
Human Factors            According to techtarget.com “human
factors (also known as ergonomics) is the study of how humans behave physically
and psychologically in relation to particular environments, products or
services” (Rouse, 2005). This study contributes to HCI by setting constraints
on the design of computer interfaces, while also demonstrating certain
standards. Such standards apply mostly on the hardware of computers rather than
the graphical interface. Hardware design includes arrangements of buttons and
other controls based on physical features, position and state of users. There
are three different ways controls and displays are usually grouped together;
functional, where they are grouped together based on function, sequential,
where they are organized based on the sequence one uses them in, and lastly
frequency, where they are arranged based on the recurrence of usage. Such
organization and design methods require studying the targeted users for any
equipment designed according to their jobs, education and also position.
Aviation equipment, for example, have a lot of buttons and complicated display
that require special education and practice. What also has be taken into regard
is the health aspect, which includes the guidelines concerning time spent using
screens, physical positioning and comfort as well as noise levels. All above
mentioned rules serve as basis for the study of Human-Computer interaction.B.                
Cognitive Science            There has been a debate dealing with
the definition of cognitive science as it includes many subtopics, but
generally speaking, it is science of the mind, which could either be defined as
the brain, a “representational system responsible for behavior, language and
thoughts”, as Ronald L. Boring mentioned in his paper, “or the central
processing system”(Boring, 2002). Cognitive science could explain many mental
phenomena, which the study of human computer interaction needs. Both fields
have common origin being human factors, which began in World War II, when
scientists were forced to study how the mind of the enemy works as well as
designing war equipment according to soldiers’ body and comfort. The reason why
human computer interaction needs cognitive science mainly to understand the
user, which is the most important factor in HCI. In addition to computer
scientists, cognitivist take up a huge sum of experts in HCI. They use
processing paradigms from cognitive science such as the model human processor
and GOMS (Goals, Operations, Methods, and Selection rules) model, which provide
a flowchart of processes in HCI. All in all, cognitive science represents the
mental side behind the study of human computer interaction, basically it always
answers the question “why” for every process or design change. For instance,
changing colors of certain software proving the effect of perception of certain
colors on the display, is a use of cognitive science in HCI (Boring, 2002).IV.          
Conclusion            The study of human computer
interaction starts with learning how humans and computers operate individually.
Both computers and humans have input and output channels; for computers these
are sensors, keyboard and display screen while for humans these are represented
in the human senses and gestures. The storage and memory are also similar as
humans have their brains as storage space with long term memory and short term
memory, which computers also have as RAM and hard drives. Concerning the third
topic in comparing how humans and computer perform, psychology, in humans, this
plays a big role in processing information based on previous experience and
emotion. On the contrary are computers, which usually follow commands blindly without
contributing in any way.Human-computer interaction has only been a research field
since the late 1970’s, which is regarded as a relatively new study. It started
when experts started producing personal computers to the public rather than to
professionals and skilled individuals. It wasn’t about getting the job done
anymore but getting it done efficiently with maximum comfort of users. This
includes the size and design, at first scientists were concerned with only
hardware, but later on the study included software and programs. Not only did
human-computer interaction drastically develop itself, but it has even reached
a point where other subfields have merged. Now HCI is used as the manipulation
of a user’s perception of colors and design. Design in HCI is not limited by creating software or
hardware, but also includes the interaction between users and the software. Its
main goal is improving different features of performance in many fields. In
order for anyone to create good design, one must understand the human and his restraints
(based on cognitive sciences) and the capability of technology of computers to
achieve this design. Good design does not depend solely on learning from the
study of human computer interaction and implementing its strict rules and
guidelines but also depends on good skill of graphical design.Human computer interaction is a daughter topic of human
factors engineering, which relates to design of machines based on physical and
psychological traits of targeted users. HCI is also a subtopic of the study of
cognitive sciences, which is concerned with the human brain and perception of
different stimuli.All in all, human computer interaction is of great
importance nowadays in the computer engineering and science fields due to
growing demands of computer development. It plays a huge role behind the scenes
and is one of the main reasons behind the success of computers and their
software.