The Human Computer Interface
By: Dustin Hudson
March 4, 2014
CIS 106: Prof. Howell
In today’s world, there are various types of technology that humans interact with on a day to day basis. Technology is an ever evolving industry that is constantly trying to meet the demands of its consumers. Whether you are trying to write a document in Microsoft Word, talking to your IPhone using Siri, or having your respiration rates being monitored by a machine at the doctor’s office, all of these technologies are designed to interact with humans. The science behind designing technologies to meet the needs of human interaction is known as the human-computer interface.
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Information in short term memory is only held for a very limited amount of time, typically up to thirty seconds. When you are designing a program, you must be aware of the limitations of a person’s short term memory, this is where psychology comes into play. Having a program that tests the user’s short term memory can make the program difficult to learn and hurt its chances of it being successful. The last type of memory is long term memory. A person can store almost an infinite amount of information there. However, just because a person has stored it there does not mean that they will be able to access it. A great example of a program that does not have a user rely so heavily on their long term memory is Microsoft Word. When you open Word, you are typically reminded of the most recent documents you were working on. That helps the user not have to remember not only what they were working on last, but also they do not have to remember where it is stored because they can simply click and open the document right then and there.
Haptics technology is a technology that allows the person to feel a response which is referred to as haptic feedback. The best example of haptic feedback is playing video games such as the Wii or the PlayStation Move. Whenever you are playing these games the controller vibrates during certain points in the game which gives the user a feel or feedback on what is happening in the game. Haptics has been widely used in aviation during flight simulations. The haptic feedback during aviation training had the intentions of giving the pilot a feel for the plane’s and its movements. The Apple IPhone gives this type of feedback as well by slightly vibrating which each letter you push on the keyboard while sending a text. This gives the resemblance of pushing the key on a real keyboard rather than just touching a screen. This technology is important and it is needed. It allows the user to use their sensory storage when using a device. This type of technology has also evolved and is now used with prosthetic limbs, remote operations, and on the job training (G. Anderson, D. Ferro, and R. Hilton 2013).
Having inconsistency when implementing the human-computer interface can be very consequential to a program. Although some companies use a system-first approach to developing a program, the program is being designed for an individual or group of individuals. In order for a program to be successful it must address the needs and meet the standards of the person who will be using it. For example, if you are designing a website and do not spend the time and research to understand human behavior, you may not know where the consumer looks the most when looking at a web page. Therefore you may put the information that is most important for your user to see in an area which they may look the least. Or you may even put a popup window in the area that your user looks at the most making it a nuisance. You may also incorrectly communicate the...