Human-computer interaction is a discipline which researches the design and use of computer technology. It focuses on the design of interfaces which permit users and computers to interact. As a research field, the discipline is usually considered as part of computer science, behavioural sciences, design and media studies.
Humans interact with computers in different ways so as the interface between humans and computers is fundamental to facilitate this communication. Therefore, nowadays, applications, internet browsers and other technologies adopt graphical user interfaces to facilitate these interactions.
Human-computer interaction focuses on the ways humans make or do not make use of computer systems. Additionally, the discipline, by analysing these interactions, focuses on improving the usability of computer interfaces.
There are different types of research fields related to the discipline. These are focused on researching methods to design new computer interfaces, implement interfaces, and evaluate and compare interfaces considering their usability and other properties. As well as this, these research areas focus on researching methods to study the human-computer uses and their socio-cultural implications.
Human-computer interaction considers only the interactions between humans and computers and it does not deal with their relationship with other machines.
In order to design an interface for a better human-computer interaction, it is important to keep in mind three design principles. Firstly, designers need to focus immediately both on the user and tasks and select individuals to test the interface. Secondly, they have to adopt empirical measurements; finally, they have to use an iterative design which consists of four steps: design, test, analyze and repeat, until the design results in a user-friendly interface.
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