Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is how a human being interacts with the computer. The computer, to many, is usually our desktop, comprising of your basic peripherals. But every device that computes is a computer. And things won’t remain the same as it was many years ago.
I’ve seen a computer which boots up from a huge floppy device with absolutely no storage device. Then we were astounded with how the computer took form from that device to the current. I still remember telling my friends “why do you need this much storage? You wanna sleep in it or what?” Things have changed a little bit with our computer as we all know. Coming back to HCI, what’s most astounding in it’s history was the introduction of ‘Sound Recognition’, kinda good enough as an accessibility option. Many more people could finally compute. The golden age of computing is now, in the past two decades lots of great events have taken place. Computing has been cheaper every year. Processing that we have today was totally unimaginable and if possible, available only if you threw in a lot (I repeat a lot), of money.
We have lots of cores, shit loads of RAM, great storage, mostly portable too. Laptops had touchpads, mouse had to go, HCI changed. There were mobile devices that had touchscreen capabilities and stylus for scribbling. The artistically inclined used Wacom tablets to draw, Wacom had done a lot in this regard. Gestures changed a lot in the touchscreen area of computers. The user slowly learnt what the device manufacturers wanted them to, they behaved in a way the OEM wanted them to. Apple, Google, Microsoft have done a lot in this regard. Microsoft (Windows CE), Google (Android) and Apple (iPhone and iPad) with their devices have trained the users mind to react with their devices in a certain manner. The user without complaining learnt it coz it was fun, and obviously he paid money. Touchscreen was not enough, the hardware manufacturers had to do more.
Coming to the new change in computing, I am deeply amazed with what Microsoft had announced few months back that Kinect would come in for the desktop, wouldn’t it be great that this happens. Imagine Win8 and Kinect working together; imagine the Metro UI and Kinect. The possibilities are limitless, but yes we are talking a little far-fetched stuff, but not impossible. Yes I know the Metro UI is not a developer friendly UI, I love my keyboard and don’t wanna trade it. But how will the future generations work with the computer, no one knows. I guess we are just biased, we love a touch screen monitor and interaction in any futuristic movie, but don’t wanna trade it. Like I mentioned earlier, lot’s has happened in the last two decades and lot more has to happen. I remember my grandma telling that people would laugh when they heard that we could travel fast using a train, they thought that this is not possible, the TV set was an awesome electronic device, but to some it was the Devil’s instrument in your home. Man has not welcomed change well, but…
Things are going to change and we might just have to adapt to it.