To put it into one sentence, HCI aims at making data exchange
between people and machines less stressful and less prone
to misunderstandings, and thus increase efficiency of tasks
that involve both: The human and the computer.
HCI research leads to a formalization of
usability that is systematically enhanced
and empirically supported. Moreover, from
the scientific approach evolves a variety
of tools and techniques that aid in the
development of better interfaces. These
are often suitable for immediate application
in commercial software engineering, where
usability should actually be regarded
as a crucial factor.
Some years ago, the only application for computers was number
crunching, and there were only a handful of specialists who
had to deal with the programming and problems of the early
Now, computer power is strong, small, and cheap, and non-expert
users are no longer the exception, but the rule. In this situation,
HCI is where you can increase efficiency. Usability determines
if a personal computer application becomes successful, if
a new technology will gain acceptance by the masses, if technical
advancements will pay in practice.
Taking into account maintenance, training, and efficiency,
the usability of a system has major impact on its total cost
of ownership! Or in other words: "The cost justification
for usability is very strong."
it really matter?