Human Computer Interaction : Definition Terminology

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               Sometimes called as Man-Machine Interaction or Interfacing, concept of Human-Computer Interaction/Interfacing (HCI) was automatically represented with the emerging of computer
or more generally machine, itself. The reason, in fact, is clear: most sophisticated machines are worthless unless they can be used properly by men. This basic argument simply presents the main terms that should be considered in the design of HCI: functionality and usability [1]. Why a system is actually designed can ultimately be defined by what the system can do i.e. how the functions of a system can help towards the achievement of the purpose of the system. Functionality of a system is defined by the set of actions or services that it provides to its users. However, the value of functionality is visible only when it becomes possible to be efficiently utilised by the user [2]. Usability of a system with a certain functionality is the range and degree by which the system can be used efficiently and adequately to accomplish certain goals for certain users. The actual effectiveness of a system is achieved when there is a proper balance between the functionality and usability of a system [3].

                   Having these concepts in mind and considering that the terms computer, machine and system are often used interchangeably in this context, HCI is a design that should produce a fit between the user, the machine and the required services in order to achieve a certain performance both in quality and optimality of the services [4]. Determining what makes a certain HCI design good is mostly subjective and context dependant. For example, an aircraft part designing tool should provide high precisions in view and design of the parts while a graphics editing software may not need such a precision. The available technology could also affect how different types of HCI are designed for the same purpose. One example is using commands, menus, graphical user interfaces (GUI), or virtual reality to access functionalities of any given computer. In the next section, a more detailed overview of existing methods and devices used to interact with computers and the recent advances in the field is presented.

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