HCI critique

June 11, 2008

The study of HCI began at that time, as computer specialists began to worry about how users as embodied creatures could interact with computer programs. The early HCI workers focused on the empirically measurable aspects of user interaction. They were interested in the human body for the limits of response by its senses, nerves, and muscles: how fast the user could press a key in response to a stimulus, what size icons the user could discern and click on, what color combinations the user could discriminate. Their approach was an outgrowth of the long tradition of ergonomics, the study of how workers use machines, or indeed how workers themselves could become machines. Like earlier ergonomics, HCI analysis looked for principles that could be applied to all humans considered as productivity units, not as human beings living under specific conditions and with specific concerns.”

From: Bolter, Jay David and Gromala, Diane (2003), Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p. 126-7

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