Conceptual Background

16 Feb

Human Computer Interaction

The first generation of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) was the Command User Interface (CUI), where the user had to type commands to tell the computer what to do. HCI then advanced to the second generation called Direct Manipulation, which allows the user to manipulate objects through a Graphical User Interface (GUI). GUI’s have been around since the 70’s and became commercially available in 1981 with the Xerox 8010 Star System. From here the GUI became standard with Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows machines. Future HCI is now moving into a third generation which Jacob et al. (2008) refers to as Post WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointers).

Grudin (1990) describes the history of interaction “as the story of the computer reaching out, where interaction moves from being directly focused on the machine to incorporating more of the users world.” This new generation of computing is moving away from the traditional GUI and the confines of the desktop computer into the background of our everyday lives, becoming invisible and everywhere. Computing is moving out into the environment, becoming embedded and supporting all aspects of our life. Harper et al. (2008) makes reference to the end of the interface, the introduction of sensitive and responsive environments and the shifting boundary between computers and the everyday world. AK could be referred to as an information appliance, a term coined by Jef Raskin. Its designed for a single application and so ubiquitous, that effectively the computer becomes invisible. According to Donald Norman (1998) “the only answer is to develop information appliances that fit people’s needs and lives”.

Traditionally HCI was focusing on performance rather than convenience. We can now see that as computing evolves it aims to further exploit human  skills and abilities. AK aims to do this by providing the information through implicit interaction and providing the information in such a way that it appeals to the peripheral human senses (Dourish, 2004).

Computing will be tuned into our needs and incorporated into our activities. Computing is attempting to incorporate itself more richly into our daily experience of the physical and social world. AK is drawing on the way we interact with the physical world; the way we receive information through our peripheral senses, use our capabilities for processing multiple information streams, we can move information in and out of the focus of our attention and the way we sense and manipulate our physical environment. AK also draws on the way we interact with the social world. Human interaction, for example conversations are not planned, you can unexpectedly receive information at any time. AK is similar to this concept in that it allows a smooth transition between the users focus on the task at hand and the information being provided. In comparison to a traditional desktop computer where you would plan out the process – turning it on, opening your browser going to a web page and getting information. Although AK can be considered within the context of Social computing it can also be seen as a form of Embodied Interaction, which draws together social and tangible computing. (Dourish, 2004)

Ishii’s (2008) work with Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) aims to provide “physical form to digital information, designing seamless interfaces between humans, digital information and the physical environment”. Tangible computing takes a variety of forms and adds a layer of digital functionality to physical objects (Rawat, 2005). Tangible computing takes a variety of forms. Weiser believed that technology would recede into the background of our lives through the use of ubiquitous computing or calm technology, which aims to seamlessly integrate computing into the objects and activities of everyday life. He wanted to develop devices that are organised around human needs and functions in the same way that I want AK to provide people with information as they go about their daily lives. The interaction is intimately connected to the setting it takes place in. AK will be designed specifically for the domestic setting where the person will be conducting tasks and going about their daily life.


One Response to “Conceptual Background”

  1. shawnjason1 February 17, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    Very interesting post. I am a doctoral student in North Texas and I am currently enrolled in a Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course. We are learning a great deal about human computer interaction and the design process. I am interesting learning more from those in the field. Thanks for sharing this information.

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