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Psychology and Cognitive Science

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an area of research and practice that emerged in the early
1980s, initially as a specialty area in computer science embracing cognitive science and human
factors engineering. HCI has expanded rapidly and steadily for three decades, attracting
professionals from many other disciplines and incorporating diverse concepts and approaches. To
a considerable extent, HCI now aggregates a collection of semi-autonomous fields of research
and practice in human-centered informatics. However, the continuing synthesis of disparate
conceptions and approaches to science and practice in HCI has produced a dramatic example of
how different epistemologies and paradigms can be reconciled and integrated in a vibrant and
productive intellectual project.
Until the late 1970s, the only humans who interacted with computers were information
technology professionals and dedicated hobbyists. This changed disruptively with the emergence
of personal computing in the later 1970s. Personal computing, including both personal software
(productivity applications, such as text editors and spreadsheets, and interactive computer
games) and personal computer platforms (operating systems, programming languages, and
hardware), made everyone in the world a potential computer user, and vividly highlighted the
deficiencies of computers with respect to usability for those who wanted to use computers as
Human-Computer Interaction and Ergonomics
"Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of
interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies
theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall
system performance (definition adopted by the International Ergonomics Association in 2000).
Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and
systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people
(IEA, 2000)." (Wikipedia, 2005a).

"Cognitive ergonomics, also known as engineering psychology, concerns mental processes such
as perception, atention, cognition, motor control, and memory storage and retrieval as they affect
interactions among humans and other elements of a system. Relevant topics include mental
workload, vigilance, decision-making, skilled performance, human error, human-computer
interaction and training. (Wikipedia, 2005a).
"Human-computer interaction (HCI) is the study of interaction between people (users) and
computers. It is an interdisciplinary subject, relating computer science with many other fields of
study and research. Interaction between users and computers occurs at the user interface (or
simply interface), which includes both hardware (i.e. peripherals and other hardware) and
software (for example determining which, and how, information is presented to the user on a
screen)." (Wikipedia, 2005b).
HCI & Graphic Design
Humancomputer interaction (HCI) researches the design and use of computer technology,
focusing on the interfaces between people (users) and computers. Researchers in the field of HCI
both observe the ways in which humans interact with computers and design technologies that let
humans interact with computers in novel ways.
As a field of research, human-computer interaction is situated at the intersection of computer
science, behavioral sciences, design, media studies, and several other fields of study.

Human-computer interaction is a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and

implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major
phenomena surrounding them

This is a working definition

From the ACM SIGCHI (Association of Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group for
Human-Computer Interaction)

General design principles involve being aware of, and catering to, human abilities, skills and
differences (human factors). These apply to design of any human-machine system e.g. cars,
playgrounds, lifts, phones, computers.

Designing human-computer interaction is a particular area of human factors design with

specific principles and guidelines.

Designing user interfaces is specific area of HCI and concerns general principles & low level
Sociology and Anthropology
Sociology is the study of people interacting with others individually, in social groups, and in
social systems. The sociology program offers B.A. and B.S. degrees, as well as a minor in
sociology. We also have a graduate program where students can pursue a M.A. degree in
sociology. In this program, students can choose a traditional thesis option or the applied
Anthropology is the study of humankind from its beginnings millions of years ago to the present
day. The Anthropology major embraces a comparative and holistic approach to the study of
humans in different cultural settings and covers the subfields of cultural anthropology,
archaeology, and physical anthropology.
Human-Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary field of study interested in design,
evaluation and implementation of interactive technology. Since Human-Computer Interaction
studies the interaction between human and computer, it is associated with the study fields suach
as human behavior, psychology, cognitive science, computer science and software engineering as
well as ergonomics, graphic and industrial design, sociology, anthropology and educational
Computer Science and Engineering
Computer engineering is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and
computer science required to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineers

usually have training in electronic engineering (or electrical engineering), software design, and
hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering.
Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the
design of individual microcontrollers, microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers,
to circuit design. This field of engineering not only focuses on how computer systems
themselves work, but also how they integrate into the larger picture
HCI draws from computer science, sociology, and psychology to create better interfaces, to
improve human-human interactions, and to tailor computer technology to the needs of an
individual or organization.


Bdker, S. (1987). Through the Interface - A human Activity Approach to User Interface Design.
rhus: rhus Universitet, Computer Science Department.

Callahan, E. (2005). Interface design and culture. Annual Review of Information Science and
Technology, 39, 257-310.

Crossman, E. R. F. W. (1969). Man-machine communication and ergonomics. IN: Encyclopedia

of Linguistics, Information and Control. Editor in chief: A. R. Meetham. Oxford: Pergamon
Press, pp. 301-307.

Helander, M. (Ed). (1988). Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction. Amsterdam: NorthHolland.

Norman, K. L. (1991). The Psychology of Menu Selection: Designing Cognitive Control at the
Human/Computer Interface. Norwood, NJ.: Ablex.

Sieckenius de Souza, C. (2005). The Semiotic Engineering of Human-Computer Interaction. The

MIT Press.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.(2005a). Ergonomics.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.(2005b).Human-computer interaction.