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Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

What is Human Computer Interaction (HCI)?

In recent years, the interaction between computers and humans has developed into a central area of computer science. This Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) explores the use and design of computer technologies, targeting the interface between humans and computers.

“The meaningful, human-centered design of the now ubiquitous novel operating concepts for complex computer systems requires a scientific approach to the subject.”
– Prof. Dr. Michael Koch, spokesperson of the Human-Computer Interaction Division of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (German Informatics Society).

Interaction as a research focus

HCI scientists are primarily concerned with the way human users interact with computers. In addition to specialist knowledge from the world of computer science, these researchers also process content from psychology, cognitive science and ergonomics. HCI scientists also draw on insights from sociology and occupational science.

The interface between computer science, behavioral science, media science, and design is considered the research field of human-computer interaction (HCI). The computer scientists Stuart K. Card, Allen Newell and Thomas P. Moran popularized the term in their 1983 book, which was given the formative title“The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction.” Scientists, however, have been using the term since 1975.

The U.S. “Association for Computer Machinery” (ACM) defines today’s Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) as “a field of study that concerns the design, development, and integration of interactive computer systems for human use.” Thus, current HCI definitions assume an open dialogue between the user and the computer.

Conferences, meetings and studies

Researchers debate their current findings on user-computer interaction at scientific conferences. For example, a group of experts organizes the international conference series “Human Factors in Computing Systems“. On a national level, the German “Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.” has been organizing an annual conference on the topic since 2001. The responsible department of the professional society also publishes brochures on the interaction between humans and computers.

Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI), which first established itself as a field of research in the USA, has also existed as a subject of study in Germany for many years. It is an interfaculty and interdisciplinary subject. Therefore, HCI studies combine the theoretical basics of computer science with contents from psychology and sociology. Application-oriented contents from the areas of software development and design sciences are also part of the HCI study contents.

Tip: Currently the study is possible for example at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, which is specialized in technological contents, and at the Hochschule Darmstadt. In Aachen there is the renowned “Human-Computer Interaction Center”. In Darmstadt, the renowned“Research Group Human-Computer Interaction and Visual Analytics” works equally on the interaction between humans and computers.

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What is HCI?

It is the interaction between computers and humans and is a field of research nowadays.

What does HCI do?

It studies the design of computer technologies, it targets the interface between humans and computers.

What else do you learn when you study HCI?

You learn the basics of computer science with a few topics from psychology and sociology.

Do you have any more questions?

Please contact us

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