CGT 512 Human Computer Interaction: Class Takeaways

Last class gave me a real refresher on User Experience.  It’s interest to see how important User Experience has become in this day and age.  Today, I’m going to discuss some of the concepts from last class that really struck home for me.

HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION

Literally the interaction between an individual and the computer.  Each side communicates in a way with one another.  Towards a computer, we interact with it via mouse or keyboard, or even directly on the screen itself.   The interface, or the screen in this case, is the boundary which we the people and the computer communicate via input and output.  We “input” information or commands to the computer, then  the computer interacts  with or responds to us by “outputting” information we want or need (or in bad cases, not want or need).  I think it’s important to understand fully how Human Computer Interaction works in order to build a design that functions well, is highly usable, and leads to a great experience.

UX, USABILITY, & FUNCTIONALITY

UX, Usability, and Functionality are three different ideas that, if interwoven well with each other in the design process, will lead to an awesome interface.  Of the three, the most important one to have in an interface is functionality.  The interface must work!  It does not matter how beautiful the interface is or how cool it appears; If the interface does not work then it fails as a product.  Next in line of importance comes Usability.  What Usability addresses is that the design must work well.  If the design already works then it shouldn’t possess a huge learning curve for users.  The last item in line is UX, or the User Experience.  This is where we start addressing the emotional impact of the design on users.  What kind of thoughts does the design invoke; that is this item.

Now, even though each of these has its own importance, it’s very vital to understand that all of these must be built together from the beginning of the START of the design, NOT just arbitrarily thrown in when the design is finished.   These concepts must be interwoven throughout the entire design’s life cycle.