history and future of human computer interaction (hci) and interaction design

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This is the first presentation given for the master course at HITLab, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand. It shows the snippets of the history of the field of human computer interaction that led to its increasing popularity at the present.


  • the eld of HCI: some bits and pieces of its history aga szstek(at)gmail.com
  • what is HCI?
  • engineering, computer science psychology, sociology, ethnography design HCI
  • what is interaction design?
  • - Human Computer Interaction - User Centred Design - User Experience - Experience Design - Service Design - Design Thinking
  • - Human Computer Interaction - User Centred Design - User Experience - Experience Design - Service Design - Design Thinking
  • Interaction design: Preece, Sharp, Rogers
  • - Human Computer Interaction - User Centred Design - User Experience - Experience Design - Service Design - Design Thinking
  • - Human Computer Interaction - User Centred Design - User Experience - Experience Design - Service Design - Design Thinking
  • a short history of the HCI
  • before it all happened
  • basic calculating devices rst appeared in antiquity
  • the rst mechanical calculating aid was invented in the 17th century
  • the word: computer was rst recorded to be used in1613 by R. B. Gent in Yong Mans Gleanings I haue read the truest computer of Times, and the best Arithmetician that euer breathed, and he reduceth thy dayes into a short number. (source: Oxford Dictionary)
  • the word rst was applied to human computers: people who performed calculations often as employment
  • Konrad Zuse (1910-1995) - 1936: construction of an automatic machine (Z1) with a binary mechanical memory, a mechanical calculation unit and a programming unit - 1939: construction of a Z2 version with a still mechanical memory but with a relay-operated electromechanical calculating unit - 1941: an electromechanical computer (Z3) submitted in to an audience of engineers and scientists - 1944: construction of Z4 with a mechanical memory - up to 1951 this machine remained the only working computer in Europe
  • ENIAC (1943) - the rst electronic numerical integrator and computer in the US
  • mainframe computers
  • the dawn
  • memex design sketch (1945)
  • DEC PDP-1 (1959)
  • SketchPad by Ivan Sutherland at MIT (1963)
  • rst mouse by Douglas C. Engelbard at Stanford (1964)
  • NLS demo (1968)
  • rst HCI wave (1980s)
  • - computer scientists interested in changes in ways people interact with information systems - psychologists interested in implications of these changes
  • - rigid guidelines - focus on the ergonomics and human factors - anthropometry, mainly quantitative - interaction between a single person and a computer - lab studies - task-oriented experiments - usability testing and experimental psychology
  • Xerox Star (1981)
  • 1988 Donald Normans rst book on user centered design
  • 1995 Jakob Nielsen's 10 general principles for interaction design called "heuristics" as they are broad rules of thumb and not specic usability guidelines
  • Some fundamental problems: - experimental setups capable of explaining behaviors in constrained situations - dicult to generalize to new contexts and tools - ecological considerations - impossible to analyze group behavior
  • second wave (1990s)
  • - from human factors to human actors(Bannon, 1986) - focused on theory on work settings and interaction within communities of practice - situated action, distributed cognition and activity theory as important sources of theoretical reection - eld studies, more and more qualitative - context based - rigid guidelines, formal methods, and systematic testing exchanged for proactive methods such as participatory design workshops, prototyping and contextual inquiries
  • Kitchen stories style of research
  • World Wide Web (1990)
  • Ubiquitous Computing, Mark Weiser (1991)
  • basic structure of human activity by Engestrom (1987)
  • the notion of boundary objects
  • Some more fundamental problems: - context undened - users as designers - pragmatism versus emotions - role of the design process
  • third wave (2000s)
  • - expanding the reach to homes and larger environments - wide technology application - working on emotions and experiences - users as active participants and not passive subjects - importance of cultural dierences - following a solid design process - non-rational thinking supported (intuition, talent, etc.) - design as a way to innovate - phenomenology
  • 2005 Donald Normans book Emotional design
  • iPhone
  • UX over time
  • pleasurable troublemakers
  • in retrospect
  • this is one view on it
  • how about a dierent one?
  • Altair 880 (1975): focus on making technology work while bringing more functionality
  • iPhone (2007): making technology not only work but work beautifully and ow
  • IBM Simon (1993): rst smartphone
  • the third milestone?
  • technology working together as an ecosystem
  • the end of focusing on individual devices
  • integrating technology in a seamless manner
  • changing interaction
  • wearable senses
  • adaptable environments
  • robotics
  • we aready have examples of it
  • role of interaction designer
  • research design
  • user researcher
  • interaction designer
  • references Sharp, Helen. Interaction design. John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Koskinen, Ilpo, et al. Design research through practice: From the lab, eld, and showroom. Elsevier, 2011. Norman, Donald A. The design of everyday things. Basic books, 2002. Norman, Donald A. Emotional design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. Basic books, 2004. Buxton, Bill. "The long nose of innovation." Insight 11 (2008): 27. Bdker, Susanne. "When second wave HCI meets third wave challenges." Proceedings of the 4th Nordic conference on Human- computer interaction: changing roles. ACM, 2006. www.ideo.com www.beyond.com