Table field but also in cognitive science

Table of Contents I.       Introduction.

2 II.      Fundamentals. 2 A.

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     Human vs. Computer. 2 1.      Input and Output.

2 2.      Memory. 3 3.

      Psychology. 3 B.      The History of Human Computer Interaction. 3 1.      Start of the Interaction.

4 2.      Development Up Until Today. 4 III.

         Design. 4 IV.         Relation to other Fields. 4 A.

     Human Factors. 4 B.      Cognitive Science. 5 V.     Conclusion. 5     I.                  Introduction                Human-Computer Interaction is thearea of study concerning the communication between humans and computers. Themain focus is design of products or programs for the comfort and ease-of-usefor all people.

The field of human-computer interaction (HCI) only startedin the late 70s to early 80s, as it was the start for ordinary people otherthan professionals and scientists to use computers. For this reason, the use ofpersonal computers had to be simplified for the pleasure of users of allbackgrounds, as it was quite complicated. HCI is a derivation of the topichuman-machine interaction which has a richer history. The initiation of thegeneral idea was the Second World War, as there was a need for the study of theergonomics of machines and weapons. User performance had to be optimized tomake best use of current technology. Human factor had to be taken intoconsideration, whether these where physical or cognitive.

This research is aimed at students in the engineering anddesign departments especially ones interested in computer, design and humanfactor. It is an introduction to this field, promoting the importance ofergonomics and user interface. Because HCI is a multi-disciplinary territory,my research therefore presents information in many other fields not only in theengineering field but also in cognitive science and psychology.Writing and discussing human-computer interaction increasesthe overall concern about design in relation with computer engineering andscience. It is extremely important for ordinary students to expand theirknowledge in addition to their knowhow beyond what they learn as mandatorysubjects and classes in the field they are studying at schools and universitiesas interdisciplinary subjects are the future.

II.                 Fundamentals                In order to explain theinteraction between humans and computers, one must learn about how each operateseparately in different aspects as well as how the interaction started and howit developed throughout the years.A.

                Human vs. Computer                Computersand humans are quite similar in the way they operate. Computer experts anddesigners try to imitate basic procedures that happen in the human body increating computers.

This requires the need of using sensors and other inputmethods in place of human senses. Also important to mention are that there aredifferences and additional properties that exist between them. 1.                  Input and Output                Theinteraction of human beings with the world around them occurs through incomingand outgoing information. The terms output and input are relative in theinteraction 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 theyare output for the person wanting to interact with the screen.

Similarly is thevoice; it is used for humans to communicate as an output method while thecomputer receives the voice command as an input. Looking closely at theinteraction that occurs from the computer, design or what the user sees onscreen 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 ComputerInteraction (HCI), which will be discussed later on in the report. 2.

                  Memory                Thememory process in humans is mainly divided into two parts; the short termmemory and the long term memory. The first is used in temporarily neededinformation. Such information could be accessed rapidly however it would alsobe lost fairly quickly which is why it is only efficient in a short period oftime. The second has the purpose of storing data for longer periods of time. Basiccharacteristics of this type include the enormous capacity, slower access rateand slower forgetting time. Both memory types can be enhanced and diminished bypractice of lack of it.

As per mimicry in the technological field, computersalso have similar types of memory. The random access memory (RAM) has a fastaccess rate while having a rather small capacity, while discs and drives have avariably large capacity with slower access rate. The greatest differencebetween memory and storage types in both humans and computers is thepsychological aspect to it. To explain further, the state of mind and emotionof human beings usually plays a role in what we keep and what we forget.  3.                  Psychology                 Although it is hard to imaginewhat it would be like if computers experience emotions just as humans do, it isquite likely that we would be hearing about that in the near future. By thedevelopment of affective computing, scientists are trying to create anemotional computer.

This does not change the fact that humans are emotionallydriven beings, while machines generally only follow commands and orders fromusers. Psychology greatly influences humans’ lives on a daily basis, it couldeven 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 perceiveit differently and also interpret it differently based on their feelings,opinions and previous knowledge and other relative factors. This is why theneutrality of computers is a significant advantage and is the reason computersare 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 andprocessing formula, it will solve it fully objectively and without any outsidefactors leading to coherent results. B.                 The History of HumanComputer Interaction                Inspite of the fact that the field of Human computer interaction is relativelynew, it has been developing rapidly in the past 30 years. At first it wasfounded as a branch out of a more general field but it reached a point where itconsists of many other research fields. Creating this direction of research wasthe step required for the further development not only in informatics andcomputer related fields but also in cognitive sciences. 1.

                  Start of the Interaction                HCI isbasically derived from previously developed fields such as cognitive scienceand human factors engineering, which both will be discussed later on in thereport. The importance of making personal computers available to the public,especially those with barely any background in the field, forced the study ofHCI as a necessity. Just like how engineers discovered the significance ofdesigning weapons in the world war II suitable to their body, comfort,preferences,  and needs, computerscientists also made notice of such factors when developing computers to besold commercially rather than for educational purposes only. In the beginning,scientists’ main concern were the physical features of machines and theirinfluence on users’ performances. This mainly included the mechanical side ofthe design rather than the informatics behind it.

Research in that fieldaffected the development of Information Technology greatly, as it later became ahuge influencing factor in creating a successful software. 2.                  Development Up Until Today                HCI hasbecome a very broad field of research with so many subtopics deriving from itmaking it a multi-disciplinary topic. It generally optimizes the use ofcomputers in different fields. Using knowledge of the amplitude of humanbeings’ mental, interpretational and problem-solving skills, experts can nowmanipulate their perception of graphical interface for maximum efficiency andease of use. This requires a wide range of experts ranging from psychologistsand sociologist to computer scientists and engineers. III.             DesignIV.

            Relation to other Fields                As previously mentioned, humancomputer interaction is derived from other fairly wide fields, such as humanfactors engineering and cognitive science. Both disciplines are not entirelyrelated to computer design created this field.A.                Human Factors                According to”human factors (also known as ergonomics) is the study of how humans behavephysically and psychologically in relation to particular environments, productsor services” (Rouse, 2005). This study contributes to HCI by settingconstraints on the design of computer interfaces, while also demonstratingcertain standards.

Such standards apply mostly on the hardware of computersrather than the graphical interface. Hardware design includes arrangements ofbuttons and other controls based on physical features, position and state ofusers. There are three different ways controls and displays are usually groupedtogether; 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 forany equipment designed according to their jobs, education and also position.Aviation equipment, for example, have a lot of buttons and complicated displaythat require special education and practice. What also has be taken into regardis the health aspect, which includes the guidelines concerning time spent usingscreens, physical positioning and comfort as well as noise levels. All abovementioned rules serve as basis for the study of Human-Computer interaction.

B.                 Cognitive Science                There has been a debate dealingwith the definition of cognitive science as it includes many subdisciplines,but generally speaking, it is science of the mind, which could either bedefined as the brain, a “representational system responsible for behavior,language and thoughts”, as Ronald L. Boring mentioned in his paper, or thecentral processing system(Boring, 2002). Cognitive science could explain manymental phenomena, which the study of human computer interaction needs. Bothfields 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 asdesigning war equipment according to soldiers’ body and comfort. The reason whyhuman computer interaction needs cognitive science mainly to understand theuser, which is the most important factor in HCI.

In addition to computerscientists, cognitivist take up a huge sum of experts in HCI. They use processingparadigms from cognitive science such as the model human processor and GOMS(Goals, Operations, Methods, and Selection rules) model, which provide aflowchart of processes in HCI. All in all, cognitive science represents themental side behind the study of human computer interaction, basically it alwaysanswers the question “why” for every process or design change. For instance,changing colors of certain software proving the effect of perception of certaincolors on the display, is a use of cognitive science in HCI.                                          (Boring,2002)V.               Conclusion                The study of human computerinteraction starts with learning how humans and computers operate individually.

Both computers and humans have input and output channels; for computers theseare sensors, keyboard and display screen while for humans these are representedin the human senses and gestures. Inputs and outputs are opposites of eachother, in other words, each input to the computer is output from the user andvice versa. The storage and memory are also similar as humans have their brainsas storage space with long term memory and short term memory, which computersalso have as RAM and hard drives.

Concerning the third topic in comparing howhumans and computer perform, psychology, in humans, this plays a big role inprocessing information based on previous experience and emotion. On the contraryare computers, which usually follow commands blindly without contributing inany way. With the exception of effective computing, computers do not haveemotions and are objective, which is an advantage.

Human-computer interaction has only been a research fieldsince the late 1970’s, which is regarded as a relatively new study. It startedwhen experts started producing personal computers to the public rather than to professionalsand skilled individuals. It wasn’t about getting the job done anymore but gettingit done efficiently with maximum comfort of users. This includes the size anddesign, at first scientists were concerned with only hardware, but later on thestudy included software and programs.

Not only did human-computer interaction drasticallydevelop itself, but it has even reached a point where other subfields havemerged. Now HCI is used as the manipulation of a user’s perception of colorsand design. 


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