Information Technology Reference
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a discipline devoted to the design,
evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems to be used
by the humans. The main focus is on the evaluation of interactive systems
and on the analysis of the phenomena arising from their use.
The heart of the matter is the concept of 'interface' between man and
machine. The true meaning of the term 'interaction' is varying in this respect,
because 'man' and 'machine' can have different interpretations in different
HCI studies both sides of the interaction: systems and humans. As a
consequence, HCI is a multidisciplinary field that involves computer science
(design of applications and their interfaces), psychology (application of
theories on cognitive processes and empirical analysis of the user's behaviour),
sociology and anthropology (interaction between technology, work and
enterprises) and industrial design (interactive products).
The main concerns of HCI are the execution of cooperative tasks by
humans and machines, the communication between man and machines and
human capabilities in using machines (interface comprehension, interface
usability, ergonomics and so on).
The study of communication between humans and computers relies
on several disciplines such as computer graphics, operating systems and
programming languages on the computer side, while social sciences and
cognitive psychology are involved on the human side.