Innovative Learning

Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Human computer interaction (or HCI) is the study of how people interact with computers and other technology. From an HCI point of view, the designer is the advocate for the user, making it as easy as possible to complete the tasks. A word that is often used to describe this process is "intuition." If a piece of software or a website is intuitive, it means that the user can just figure it out without any special instructions or prior knowledge.

In order for interaction to take place, a system must be mutually responsive (each side can change and respond depending upon what the other side does). TV is a perfect example of a NON-interactive system. You could be very active or sound asleep and the TV will not change what it is doing at all.

The following chart shows some of the basic properties to be considered when humans interact with computers:

Physically co-located Mixed Reality
Virtual distributed
face to face Agumented Reality, Live job aids interaction mediated via technology

no lag-time in responses   significant lag-time between responses

High (all senses) Medium
sight, sound, smell, touch, taste images/video and text
text only

High human (no machine)  
High machine (no human)

There is a difference between interactivity and interaction (Wagner, 1994). . Interactivity is the degree a delivery technology is capable of establishing a two-way connection between distributed participants for the exchange of audio, video, text, and graphical information.  Interaction, on the other hand, is a social property associated with behaviors where individuals and groups directly influence one another.

HCI Online Resources



Multi-user Virtual Environments


3 Important aspects of Group work – “production function, well-being function, member support”