[ExI] The Field of HCI

ablainey at aol.com ablainey at aol.com
Fri Feb 1 00:07:59 UTC 2013

Some of my experience is in creating bespoke interfaces for the disabled. The only thing I can really say is make HCI something you already know how to use.
I think the hardest HCI device we have is the keyboard. It can take years to master and some of us are still perfectly capable of screwing it up even after decades of practice.
Whether the HCI is physical or virtual representation I find it is essential to keep it as caveman as possible. A mouse is little different to dragging a rock on the ground and proding it occasionally with a finger. Yet from simple movement endless complex control can be had.
Keep the ingenuity and novelness hidden in the technology, don't try to dazzle the user with it. No one wants a light switch that tells you how fantastic its inventor was eveytime you want to turn the light on. Or rotates when it looks like it should push.

One area you mention where I think the problems are being magnified is in gaming. We have pushed gaming interfaces beyond what is physically possible. In a 3d CAD program you can manipulate virtual objects as you would in the real world, but in the games world. You can do far more than the human body is capable of. All this needs to be done mainly with fingers and thumbs, so we have abstracted and combination actions which do not exist in reality. We dont drive with a fiddly little gamepad.
We can jump left. roll, change weapon, stab, lob a grenade, duck then run with a few deft wiggles of the thumb and button pushes. Which leads me to wonder how is our use of this kind of HCI changing our brains? Is it pushing a new generation to desire more functionality from the real world to match their HCI based mastery and normality of the virtual worlds? Maybe something to talk about with the students? How HCI can influence the real world and visa versa.


-----Original Message-----
From: Natasha Vita-More <natasha at natasha.cc>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 2:21
Subject: [ExI] The Field of HCI

Human-computer interaction is one field I am teaching two classes in (theory and prototyping) and I’d like to ask you all for any insights, suggestions, latest theories, methods, etc. that would be helpful to these undergrad students who want to their work at a master’s level.
Most of these students are working in HCI areas of apps, gaming, video, and interface design, 3D modeling, etc.  They have a very weak theoretical background, but they are anxious to learn.
If anyone has taught HCI at the undergrad or grad level, please let me know. And if you have not but can offer insights and suggestions, that would be much appreciated!
Thank you,

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