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Sample Essay

Words 1,430

In HCI, when a new user interface is designed or an existing one is evaluated, the most important principle that is kept in mind is the early focus of users and tasks. That is, it is established that how many users will be required to perform the task for which the interface is being designed or evaluated.  Furthermore the level of acquaintance with computers of the user will also need to be established as well as the definition of tasks the users will be performing and the way in which it will be performed.

Once the design requirement as established and an interface have been built, it needs to be tested with real users, who would be using the interface on daily basis. From this step quantitative usability specifics can be found out which can then be use to alter the interface if the performance level of the user is not matching the precise depiction of the real human-interaction. Once the user, tasks and quantitative usability measurements are done, an iterative cycle of Design, Test and Analysis is followed until a user-friendly and sensible interface is achieved.

Design Methodologies

Since the rise of HCI in 1980s, a number of diverse methods which outline techniques that can be used for human-computer interaction design have emerged. Most of these methods have stemmed out from a model of how designers, users and technical system interact. For example, earlier methodologies, considered the cognitive processes of the user as quantifiable and predictable, hence, gave encouragement to design practitioners to look at cognitive science in areas such as memory and attention, while working on a user interface design. Modern models, on the other hand, have focused more on the existence of a constant feedback system between the user of the interface, its designers and engineers while pushing for the technical systems to be designed around the experiences that the users require, rather than molding the user experience around a completed system. The User-Centered Design is one of the most practiced modern design philosophy that has its root in the ideas that users must be at the center of any computer system design. The designers and engineers then work alongside users in order to articulate the needs and wants of the users to create a system which can address these elements. In many cases, the user-centered design strategy is also informed by the ethnographic studies of the environment where the user will be interacting with the system. This practice is very similar to Participatory Design practice, whose philosophy place importance in the contribution of users toward the interface design through a series of idea sharing session and workshops (Jacko & Stephanidis, 2003).

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