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Lesson 2 Human-Computer Interaction
Objective Describe how HCI concerns influence signs and metaphors.

Human-Computer Interaction

HCI is a discipline that studies the interactions between humans and computers. As the functionality of the Web expands, there are growing numbers of studies that explore how real users interact with and respond best to the implementation of features like multimedia files, design styles and complex organizational structures.

Comfort and Efficiency

HCI is a useful combination of market research and psychology. This field has produced many valuable resources regarding usability, accessibility, and User-Centered Design (UCD). The primary objective of those working to establish these standards is to improve the safety, comfort, efficiency, and productivity of people using computer and other display screens as part of their work.
In some cases, governmental regulations, such as the Health and Safety Regulations 1992 in Great Britain, require employers to meet specific standards in screen design. Numerous business and academic organizations exist to study HCI and Graphical User Interface (GUI) design. For example, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center developed a set of HCI Guidelines in August 1992 that is referred to as the Code 522 Guidelines.

Learn about HCI

HCI and Usability are seen as increasingly important in site design. Some Web clients will be very aware of HCI issues. Some of the concerns of HCI and UCD include:
  1. Legibility of text and graphics
  2. Web site accessibility for the visually impaired or physically disabled
  3. How users read and interact with online content
  4. Identifying appropriate content and graphics based on audience needs
  5. Techniques for evaluating the usability of Web sites

There are a number of HCI and UCD principles to keep in mind when you are creating signs and metaphors. These will come into play primarily with the design choices made by the Creative roles but all team members should be aware of these standard principles.

Question: What do the acronyms HCI and UCD stand for?
Answer: Human-Computer Interaction and User-Centered Design.
In the next lesson, you will learn more specifics about HCI guidelines for visual and editorial design choices.