Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Introduction to Models and Theories in HCI

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Trending Toward The Invisible: Dana Lynn[edit]

In response to the scientific fragmentation of HCI and the blending of software engineering and human factors there is no doubt that the field is experiencing a renaissance. As we move toward more ambient technology and invisible computing the intersection between humans and computers is less oblique and more transparent. Human-centric computer interaction design is where the computer is actually interacting with humans rather than vice versa. Innovative companies such as Google are proving this theory with products like Google Glass and Google’s self driving car. These examples are seemingly light-years from the boxy calculators and clunky PC’s that are shelved in the technology archives of places like Hewlett Packard and Apple computer.

The constraints and limitations of human and computer interaction are practically non-existent if not invisible. HCI however is progressively going beyond computational thinking.

“Computational thinking is about engaging with what the computer can and cannot do, and explicitly thinking about it.”

“If Computational Thinking involves, for example, understanding the power and limits of digital representations, and how those serve as metaphors in thinking about other problems, then those representations have to be visible.”

Humans no longer have to think about how they interact with computers. Computers are embedded into the fabric of our existence and have become acutely aware of the human presence.

If companies need to rethink their approach to human centered design, then the science of HCI should undergo the same litany. With computers being complex and human needs articulated through simple gestures or interactions, the two are like oil and water. They don’t mix. Ubiquitous computing seems to be the current trend and HCI needs to catch up. Technologies that are anticipatory, responsive and adaptive to the needs of human interaction are soon to become natural in form.

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Human Meets Machine - We are the Metaphore (Eric Andren)[edit]

Relating human to machine provides a great way to explain technologies on a level familiar to our being. It also provides a wonderful outlet for the connection of technology and nature and the expansion of technology into a direction better informed by the systems observed in nature each day.

By relating and realizing that the technologies or machines we create are more or less reverse engineered low functioning version of natural phenomenon we can allow the development of newer technologies to follow and be informed by these physical systems and increase usability.

We use metaphors in interface such as windows and other iconic representations like the file or trashcan. Metaphors are used to increase familiarity to make the user more comfortable and make the interface reach a higher level of usability. What would be more comfortable than an interface that reflected the systems we are influenced by since the moment we are conceived?

Tapping into this emotional outlet can create a marriage between human and system that reaches a level of unity provided by the phenomenon that created humanity and that we are slowly gaining a greater understanding of and infusing into our technologies.