Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
It is widely agreed that the formal establishment of the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) took place in 1982 during the first conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which later became the annual ACM SIGCHI conference (Lazar, 2017). The shift from large, secure, and highly technical mainframes to personal computers that were more accessible to non-technical people created a need for the field of HCI. As computers became tools for use in jobs and personal life with limited training, it was crucial to consider ease of use and the interaction between humans and computers to prevent failure and non-use. Prior to this shift, computers were not commonly used outside of computing, engineering, and mathematics fields, and personal computers were not yet widely available for use in classrooms, homes, or for self-check-in at banks and airlines. As a result, the creation of HCI drew upon many different areas of study to improve the usability and effectiveness of human-computer interaction.
The field of HCI is interdisciplinary, drawing on various fields such as computer science, sociology, psychology, human factors engineering, rehabilitation engineering, and industrial engineering, among others. Research methods used in these fields are adapted and modified for use in HCI research. However, due to the diverse sources of HCI research, people often wonder what counts as HCI research and what types of contributions are considered research contributions. Wobbrock and Kientz identified seven types of research contributions in HCI. These include empirical contributions, artifact contributions, methodological contributions, theoretical contributions, dataset contributions, survey contributions, and opinion contributions.
- Empirical contributions involve collecting data using methods like experimental design, surveys, focus groups, and other means.
- Artifact contributions involve designing and developing new artifacts such as interfaces, toolkits, and architectures, often accompanied by empirical data on feedback or usage.
- Methodological contributions involve introducing new approaches that influence research or practice, such as new methods, modifications of existing methods, or new metrics for measurement.
- Theoretical contributions involve concepts and models that serve as vehicles for thought, such as frameworks or design spaces.
- Dataset contributions provide a corpus of data for the research community, such as repositories and benchmark tasks.
- Survey contributions involve reviewing and synthesizing work done in a particular area to identify trends and topics that need further investigation.
- Opinion contributions are written pieces that aim to persuade readers to change their minds, often drawing on the other types of contributions mentioned above.
A video explaining what Human-Computer Interaction is:
Read more about Wobbrock’s and Kientz’s seven types of reasearch contributions in HCI:
Lazar, J. , Feng, J. H., Hochheiser, H. (2017), Research methods in human-computer interaction: Morgan Kaufmann, 2017.