Human-Computer Interaction

Research topics in keywords:

  • Theory of Human-Computer Interaction
  • Perception and Cognition
  • Usability, User Interfaces and User Experience
  • Mobile and Wearable Interaction

Human-computer interaction (HCI) happens at the user interface. Designing the user experience for an efficient (utility), effective (usability) and enjoyable usage is one of the key challenges of for researchers and practitioners. Usability, for example, comprises learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfaction.

We have to take into account the physiological, psychological and general abilities human users bring in for the interaction, the context of use, and everything else that has an influence on the user’s performance such as stress, fatigue and others.

Theory of Human-Computer Interaction:

Human-computer interaction beyond the state of the research is concerned with conceptualising, inventing and implementing novel forms of human-computer interaction or transferring technologies or interaction methods to new application domains. Novel formalizations of the problem space are needed, and often enough, novel means of evaluation the interaction method subsequently.

We are investigating how we can formalize the connections between interaction concept, human information processing and interaction, decision making and task performance.

One example is to assess the performance of text input on smooth surfaces in the domain of visual see-through augmented reality (AR).

Perception and cognition:

Perception concerns the human’s ability to sense his environment and to process it for later cognitive processes. Challenges include how to display information in a way that it can be perceived at all, is unambiguously perceived or cannot be misinterpreted. It is also concerned with accounting with human’s general abilities to sense (seeing, hearing, ...) and the individual differences in perception due to age, education, cultural background, sensory defects, and other factors. A user interface should be able to facilitate optimal perception, so that information perception is fast and clear for each user.

Cognition refers to the human’s ability to think, remember, reason, deduce and come up with solutions to problems. Correctly perceived information is only the basis for cognitive processes. If recall of information is required, or learning is not supported well, the cognitive load in the user’s mind increases and leaves less resources for deeper thinking or problem solving which is crucial both for everyday operation and handling of emergency situations.

Usability, User Interfaces and User Experience:

Useless error messages, impolite dialogues, wrong or misleading information - we are all aware of these problems when using computer systems.

The challenge of usability research and user experience design is to provide the user with an optimal point of interaction. This acknowledges that the performance of human-computer interaction is defined by the joint performance of both the computer and the user interface.

Consistency in design and wording, readability, clarity, and context of use are only some influencing factors. We research on the design of interfaces and evaluate their use with formal methods, ranging from prototyping over sketching, functional prototypes to the full design of user interfaces and apply methods from statistics to derive hard mathematical data for comparison.

We research especially of user interfaces in the key focus research areas, but also apply it in project-based development.