In order to get information from the computers people must give them information and commands, therefore human-computer interaction (HCI) consists of information input and output and command input through the so-called user interface (UI). In accordance with its very name HCI concerns both humans—hereinafter called users—and computers, so it is strongly related to ergonomics and human resource management on one hand, and computer technology on the other. Every domain of ergonomics is concerned, that is, physical (working environment, workstation layout), cognitive (perception, memory, learning, human errors), and organizational. Some points of contact between HCI and human resource management are employee profiles (as a basis to look for the interface design best fitted to the future users), task and workflow design, productivity, and learning period minimization.
The Hci From The Point Of View Of Human Resources
The following aspects of HCI, which appear to be among the most important from the standpoint of human resources, are introduced: the representation on the HCI of the concepts the users handle in their activity, the usability, an overview of the HCI technology available today, the specification of the HCI requirements on the basis of the users’ tasks, and the general principles to keep in mind during the HCI design.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Mental Model: In the context of HCI, the models that users and designers make of the operation of a user interface.
User Interface: The means by which users and computers exchange information. The HCI is based on the user interface.
Workflow: An oriented graph of tasks with relationships of prerequisite among them. The execution of some of the tasks can be subject to conditions. The goals of the tasks are usually related to steps in the elaboration of some product or document.
Usability: The degree of effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which users achieve their goals with a certain software’s user interface.
Metaphor: The representation in the user interface of the concepts that the users handle in their computer-assisted activity.
Task Analysis: The analysis of workflows and tasks with the aim of establishing the requirements of a user interface.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI): The information exchange between a person and a computer (which can be the entry point to a network of computers).
Task: A complex activity that a user performs in order to reach a goal.