Ways HCI has historically engaged perception in research and design trends

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

In this article, I discuss how HCI historically engaged perception in research and design trends, how HCI is now engaging our understanding of perception, and what are some of the major goals and directions for the combination of HCI and Perception.



Human-Computer Interaction is based on research of several decades. Historically HCI is based on understanding the basic human biology, how the interaction function, how we interpret. Then later it started focusing on how to apply these things to design based on usability, technically and practically. HCI has a huge impact on innovative technologies for the future. It is mainly based on Usability and efficiency. For example, how long it will take to complete a task. All fields that touch technology use HCI. It’s in their methodology and a foundation for their theoretical understanding, rationale, and context. The purpose of HCI is to integrate technology development with an assessment of the impacts. Some of the issues with historical theories are New User Learning Problems, Command names, Evaluation Methods, Menu design, Icon design, prototyping, User models, programming, consistency etc.


When designing based on HCI, it’s important to focus on the Users who are going to use the product. Users can be engaged by using effective principals for interface design by considering Human Centered design for Human-computer interaction. Human-computer interaction gives a solution for complex scenarios and can be easily adopted and embraced.


Historically, there are 3 primary considerations within HCI about the role of the human.


1. Sensory processor

Humans are sensors. We touch, smell and hear data. These experience act as sensors for data collection. Usability should be in control of the human limits of the user.

2. Interpreter/predictor

Humans process information and we interpret information from data. Usability should fit with knowledge and capacity in order to achieve the usability.


3. Actor in the environment

This is based on execution of a task, motivation, and inspiration of behavior. Usability should fit within the task and social context.

Some of the technological concepts that were discussed in the lecture are cathode ray tube tv which was developed based on human sensory perception, how the user interface is determined based on how the user flow is followed by the user logically, and the color theory in which certain colors gives messages emotionally and functionally.

Perception is the most critical form of sensory input of the humans. Sight, hearing, and touch are the most important senses for HCI. Accessibility issue is taken care of with haptics using these senses. The goal of the human-centered interaction is based on research. When humans are considered to be a sensory processor, Evaluation methods will be depending on quantitative experiments such as gathering, collecting and storing data. The best example is the ability to distinguish between color, shapes, and size of information displays. The evaluation method for the interpreter is task analysis and cognitive walkthrough. This is closely related to the cognitive memory of the user. One of the directions based on HCI and perception is understanding the capabilities of the user. When we study the user’s capacity of the sensory inputs, we are understanding how they react and how their memory functions. It will help to improve the user as well as their performance. The whole purpose of designing to make things easier for the user that are not easier for them to do it by themselves.


Examples and design implications There are many examples that were tried in to apply our understanding of HCI in Data visualization and everyday HCI experiences. The design is implicated to things that we cannot see or even touch.


Example of how new forms of HCI can reduce the gap between humans' mental models and technology are and it’s design implications are:

1. Virtual Reality glasses such as Oculus, HTC Vive, etc. Sculpting in virtual reality is a popular trend that can be seen among CG artists. People have been using sculpting programs such as Zbrush and Mudbox for years but still, it hasn’t felt like traditional sculpting. Sculpting in virtual reality erased the gap between traditional and digital medium. Although, virtual reality sculpting is not marked yet. It manages to provide a unique experience to the artists.

(Source: https://www.wired.com/2014/05/oculus-rift-4)

2. Siri by Apple When designing an interface such as a speech-based intelligent assistant which is intended to be used by voice, there are some design elements that have to be incorporates such as a microphone button, voice sound waves on screen to show it hears you, etc. having the design elements well laid ours is one of the reasons why Siri is so popular even though it’s not as efficient as Google assistant.

(source: https://medium.com/space10/how-design-is-being-transformed-by-things-we-cant-see-b4bf278a45f6)

3. Google's Project Glass for augmented reality

Google glass is a pair of glasses that can project information or perform actions on a virtual screen. When it comes to product design, the look and feel of it is equally as important as the functionality. That’s where the google glass failed.

(source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quickerbettertech/2014/04/21/how-google-screwed-up-google-glass/#254418001eda)

4. Chatbots During the end of 2015, chatbots gained an increase in popularity among the people in tech. The most common goal is to reduce the number of questions that customer representatives receive. Some of the questions don’t need human involvement. Thus, saving time to attend to other customers who need help with complex problems. It also reduces the wait time for customers. Conversational chatbots interpret questions and respond appropriately.

(source: https://stories.uplabs.com/a-chat-to-solve-communication-problems-480383d05a7e)


#hci #design #ux

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