GUI, HCI, HFE, MMI

Interfaces, interfaces, interfaces. That’s what this section is all about. You may have access to the most powerful computer on Earth, but it is of little use if it doesn’t provide you an interface that lets you tell it what exactly you want it to do. In everyday life, we interact with many, many machines through user interfaces – not just computers and cellphones, but even alarm clocks, cars and microwave ovens.

User interfaces are as much of a psychology problem as a computer science problem, maybe even more.

I believe that user interfaces have an immense potential in the way we write computer programs. I’m talking about programs writing programs. We’ve come a long way since writing arcane commands on interpreter prompts but the more user-friendly programming interfaces become, the more people can translate their ideas into actions.

Finally, most computer interfaces today are 2-dimensional. In all probability, this is merely hereditary. Thinking “out of the box” requires a box, and boxes are 3-dimensional.

The following fields are closely interrelated:

  • GUI (Graphical User Interface)
  • HCI (Human-Computer Interaction, also referred to as CHI)
  • HFE (Human Factors Engineering)
  • MMI (Man-Machine Interface)

UPDATE: [2011-01-18] Rehashed this section and added:

Related:

References:

  • Handbook for Human Computer Interaction (2nd Edition), By Andrew Sears and Julie A. Jacko (CRC Press, 2007)
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