Learn Human-Computer Interaction
eBook - ePub

Learn Human-Computer Interaction

Solve human problems and focus on rapid prototyping and validating solutions through user testing

Christopher Reid Becker

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  1. 322 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Learn Human-Computer Interaction

Solve human problems and focus on rapid prototyping and validating solutions through user testing

Christopher Reid Becker

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About This Book

Explore fundamentals, strategies, and emerging techniques in the field of human-computer interaction to enhance how users and computers interact

Key Features

  • Explore various HCI techniques and methodologies to enhance the user experience
  • Delve into user behavior analytics to solve common and not-so-common challenges faced while designing user interfaces
  • Learn essential principles, techniques and explore the future of HCI

Book Description

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a field of study that researches, designs, and develops software solutions that solve human problems. This book will help you understand various aspects of the software development phase, from planning and data gathering through to the design and development of software solutions. The book guides you through implementing methodologies that will help you build robust software.

You will perform data gathering, evaluate user data, and execute data analysis and interpretation techniques. You'll also understand why human-centered methodologies are successful in software development, and learn how to build effective software solutions through practical research processes. The book will even show you how to translate your human understanding into software solutions through validation methods and rapid prototyping leading to usability testing. Later, you will understand how to use effective storytelling to convey the key aspects of your software to users. Throughout the book, you will learn the key concepts with the help of historical figures, best practices, and references to common challenges faced in the software industry.

By the end of this book, you will be well-versed with HCI strategies and methodologies to design effective user interfaces.

What you will learn

  • Become well-versed with HCI and UX concepts
  • Evaluate prototypes to understand data gathering, analysis, and interpretation techniques
  • Execute qualitative and quantitative methods for establishing humans as a feedback loop in the software design process
  • Create human-centered solutions and validate these solutions with the help of quantitative testing methods
  • Move ideas from the research and definition phase into the software solution phase
  • Improve your systems by becoming well-versed with the essential design concepts for creating user interfaces

Who this book is for

This book is for software engineers, UX designers, entrepreneurs, or anyone who is just getting started with user interface design and looking to gain a solid understanding of human-computer interaction and UX design. No prior HCI knowledge is required to get started.

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UI/UX Design
Section 1 - Learn Human-Computer Interaction
This section is a starting place for considering and thinking about people (humans), technology (computers), and how we interact. We will discuss a wide set of topics that address how to think about, design, and even code the vast amounts of software that run our interfaces and ultimately run the world. Throughout the next 12 chapters, we will discuss how our lives have been fundamentally reorganized around technology and software interfaces.
This section comprises of the following chapters:
  • Chapter 1, Introducing HCI and UX Design
  • Chapter 2, Human-Centered Design Principles
  • Chapter 3, Interface Design Values
Introducing HCI and UX Design
Learn Human-Computer Interaction is a starting place for considering and thinking about people (humans), technology (computers), and how we interact. We will discuss a wide set of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) topics that address how to design, build (code), and test the vast amounts of software that ultimately run the world. Throughout this chapter, you will be introduced to the foundations of HCI, which will set the stage for growing your skills and joining HCI practitioners on software design teams.
The topics you will learn about in this chapter are as follows:
  • Prologue
  • Introducing HCI and UX design
  • Why HCI?
  • Exploring HCI jargon and their acronyms
  • Exploring the history of computers
  • Evolving from a T-person into a π person
  • The author's perspective
  • The HCI professions
  • Self-guided questions


The core of this book covers three pillars:
  1. HCI skills, theory, and historical context:
    Use of stories, contextual examples, and some brief history of widening your HCI knowledge.
  2. HCI Activities and practical challenges:
    A series of hands-on methods to deepen your HCI understanding.
  1. HCI Community resources and source materials:
    A vast set of knowledge and experience that I could never surpass but am happy to share and grow with you as you read in the share your experience:
As the author of this book, my background comes from the Design point of view via user experience (UX)/graphic design/human-centered research into computers rather than via computer science, mathematics, engineering, or computer coding, however, I have gained much of this knowledge over time. Therefore, the content of the book will focus more on the human component of HCI over the computer component.
However, the framing of skills and considerations are designed to improve either side. So read on.
Since you have continued reading, you are along for the ride, and we will start out by considering HCI from the beginning and why HCI inside software has become successful.

HCI challenges

Throughout this book, you will be given a series of challenges designed to get you to practice the skills and knowledge necessary to apply HCI in the world. Each challenge will take between 10 min up to 2+ hours. I highly recommend you create a folder in Google Drive or on your computer to store your work and label all your files. Activities will combine physical making (paper, pen, pencil, sticky-notes, etc) to more digital executions (Google Docs, Adobe XD/Figma/InVision) and will combine together over time. Take the challenges seriously as they can be applied to your HCI portfolio as well as be tangible representations of the skills and experience outline in this book.
As you continue to grow your HCI skills, understand that there is a lot to take in and no one book will capture the entire field. I promise to help you establish a solid foundation but you must also take this information I am covering and run with it.
Do not be scared to mark up this book with your notes, sketches, doodles, and underlines. Dog-ear pages, take a highlighter to quotes, tear out pages as long as it helps you approach HCI. Learn HCI is a learn-by-doing document and should be treated that way. The goal is to gain new skills in HCI.

Introducing HCI and UX design

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness, and then there was light, a binary relationship understood by all—zero (0) and one (1). Binary means related to or composed of two things. Binary relationships dictate a vast majority of our decisions: up or down, left or right, yes or no, like or don't like. Let's practice thinking about some binary concepts through a challenge. The challenges in this book are designed to get you to practice the HCI skills and knowledge necessary to function as an HCI practitioner in the real world. Each challenge will take between 10 minutes and 2 hours to complete.

Challenge 1 – Capturing conceptual relationships – binary and beyond

  1. Get out a sheet of paper or a Google Doc/Word doc.
Part 1: Binary concepts:
  1. Think of some binary relationships in your own life.
  2. Write them down.

    Binary relationships:
    _______________________________ versus ___________________________
Part 2: Other relevant concepts:
  1. Think of other conceptual relationships (such as logic/emotion, frontend/backend, and so on).
  2. Write them down.

    Relevant concepts:
    _______________________________ + ______________________________
Part 3: Write a short paragraph (~300 words) on why "concepts" are valuable to HCI designers:
  • Lots of concepts are useful to HCI designers and the creation of great software.
  • Documenting these over time will help you use many of the concepts we will discuss in the future.

If you do not like writing in books, you can do the following instead:
1. Create a Google Drive/Computer folder in which to create docs to capture any challenge/activity issued throughout this book.
2. Follow along and label your docs with the book chapters and the challenge title, using something similar to the following syntax, for example, 01-Binary-Relationships.doc.

The binary relationship in computing is expressed in a system of numerical notation that has two digits (zero - 0 and one - 1) or ON and OFF. Binary is how a computer operates a transistor, where "0" represents no flow of electricity, and "1" represents electricity is allowed to flow. In this way, numbers are represented physically inside the computing device, permitting calculation. A computer processes 1s and 0s in the trillions allowing the creation of software to be possible which is deeply connected with the practice of HCI. Computers utilize this essential binary truth to create something entirely new: computation. Computation is the ability of a computing machine (comprising both software and hardware) to evaluate a binary logic to produce a variety of solutions based on the computational outcome. Binary is the root of all computer processing. Luckily for you and me, binary code has been made easier to program over time through computer programming languages including HTML, CSS, C++, JavaScript, and so on, and we will be discussing how an HCI designer can use tools and computer coding languages to build software solutions throughout this book.
At its core, a computer is just crunching away a bunch of 1s and 0s. When the software systems and user interfaces we use and design get more complicated, it's still just 1s and 0s. The computer in all its forms has limitations, and how we use this binary processing power is also constrained. The constraints of the computer are incredibly useful as they start to define what is possible and impossible with computer technology. We will discuss in greater detail some of these computing constraints, including size, modes of interaction, connectivity, and others, as we explore all the possibilities of designing technology as an HCI designer.
HCI is a vast field of multidisciplinary study, as shown in the following diagram:
The areas of study in the field of HCI include the following:
  • Computer science and engineering: The computer component, including the concepts, theories, and coding languages that allow us to build computer software.
  • Behavioral science and psychology: The human component, including the concepts, theories, behavior, and ways people think about systems.
  • Design and media (product design, visual design, and content): The design and interaction component including methodologies, theories, concepts, and best practices that make up the products that are used by people.
  • Human factors and ergonomics: The interaction component of HCI, including the concepts, best practice, form factors, and physical constraints of products so that people can use them without any injury.
  • Other professions: HCI also extends...

Table of contents