HCI and the Computer Scientist:
More Than Interface Design

Evelyn Rozanski
Department of Information Technology, RIT
epr@it.rit.edu

ABSTRACT

In his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum - Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity, Alan Cooper discusses why the computing industry is in denial about the usefulness of its products.

Over the past two decades, there has been a decided shift in how users interact with computers. Previously, program output tended to be static and text based, and applications tended to be data-driven. There were fewer users of software systems, and these users were generally adults at work. Now, GUIs are dominant, PCs are common in both the home and workplace, and the user population and their applications have broadened dramatically.

Given this change, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), the study and practice of usability, is an essential knowledge area that should be included in every computing professionalís education. Such professionals need to internalize HCI concepts, such as focusing on the user, understanding who they are, and how they do things. HCI helps developers understand and create software, and other technologies, so that users will want to use them, and will be able to effectively use them.

This presentation will introduce some of the key HCI concepts, challenges and issues relevant to software development and how they might be integrated into the computer science curriculum. Future developments in HCI that will impact the computing field will also be discussed.

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