What is HCI?

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is research in the design and use of computer technology. In industry, the job titles of people who work in HCI include UX/UI engineers, UX/UI researchers, UX/UI designers, product managers, and others. In HCI research, computing systems are considered from a sociotechnical lens: the design and performance of any system can only be understood and improved if both ‘social’ and ‘technical’ aspects are brought together and treated as interdependent parts of a complex system. As such HCI is actually at the intersection of several related disciplines: (1) computer science and engineering; (2) design/arts; and (3) social sciences (e.g., psychology and communications). All projects in our lab require teams to exercise technical, design, and social science skills.

HCI Process

Research in HCI often follows these steps:

  1. Understand – What are user needs?
  2. Design – Prototype and design a better future in which the user experience is improved
  3. Build – Build a system for the target user
  4. Evaluate – Evaluate whether the system satisfies the user’s needs

Lab Values

Cura Personalis – We care for the mind, body, and spirit of all people. We prioritize human values over technological capabilities.

Diversity and inclusion – We welcome people from all backgrounds into our lab and create a comfortable and supportive space, with soft toys and legos for all. We take special care to include people from groups who have historically been excluded from STEM. An inclusive environment leads to better technologies and a better society.

Continuous growth – We are always looking to learn, grow, and improve. We are kind but direct when pointing out a project or process that could be improved. Instead of “Why didn’t you get that work done?” we ask, “Why weren’t we able to get this work done?” And we celebrate our successes, sometimes with ice cream!