Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a field of study that revolves around how people interact with computers. It comprises three parts: the computer, the user, and the way the two interact with each other. Initially, HCI was only concerned with the interaction between computers and users. However, it now also covers how users interact with all forms of information technology design. HCI began around the 1980s, the same period when personal computers surfaced. Previously, computers were sophisticated machines that could only be used by experts. The introduction of personal computers meant creating a computer environment where normal users could quickly and efficiently interact with personal computers.
HCI is designed to help come up with usable systems. Five components are used to define usability with HCI in mind (Hustak & Krejcar, 2016). The first is learnability. It checks how easy it is for a new user to learn how to perform basic tasks on a system. Efficiency is the second component. A system is considered to be efficient if a user can perform tasks on it promptly. The third component is memorability. This component focuses on how hard it is for users to remember the steps they need to perform routine tasks. The fourth component is the error rate. It revolves around how many errors a user makes while using the system. The final component is satisfaction. A user needs to be comfortable using the designed system.
Quite a lot of systems are designed without considering their usability. The above usability components illustrate that to avoid user frustration, time wastage, and errors, systems’ usability needs to be considered. HCI plays a significant role in identifying how developers and engineers can make computer systems more usable.
Hustak, T.& Krejcar, O. (2016). “Principles of Usability in Human-Computer Interaction.” Advanced Multimedia and Ubiquitous Engineering. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-47895-0_7
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