READ: Human Capabilities in HCI

Human Computer Interaction is a broad topic in the computer field. It is the most important part of any technology, it is not how usable something is, it is how easy to use it is that matters. HCI focus on the how humans interact with computers to get tasks done easily. These days, many advancements has been made to computer to ease communication with its human operator. From voice recognition, speech recognition, etc. Computers now study human being to be able to serve them better instead of human having to understand the computer in order to use it.

The Human Capabilities talks about what human can do for efficient communication with the computer considering the fact that humans have capabilities and limitations. Let’s take a look at those capabilities that humans have in interacting with the machine.

1. Sensory Capabilities

With the Human main senses; Touch, sight, taste, smell, hearing, humans are able to communicate with the computer easily. Although human computer interaction only requires three out of the five senses. Only the sight, hear and feel is used to interact with the computer. The taste and smell isn’t used now but may be used in the future, who knows.

The hearing sense is majorly used to detect sounds coming out of the computer. It is as important as the sight as your ears can detect sounds, analyze the sound, and make decisions as to where exactly the sound is coming from, what sound it is, how far the sound is from you. When using the hearing sense with the computer, you can detect sounds from the computer and determine what kind of sound it is whether it is a warning sign or a success beep sound.

The Sight plays most of the roles in interacting with the computer. The outpout displaying on your computer screen displays alot of information and Without your sight, you would not be able to see what information it is displaying and decide what actions to take.

The Touch senses also play it’s own part in human computer interaction although not much significant. We can determine the temperature of whatever we touch including the computer. The Human skin receives stimulus from whatever it touches and hence determine it’s state. You can actually tell if your computer has undergone stress by touching the body and feel the heat from it.

2. Cognitive Capabilities

Cognitive capabilities are brain based skills. this is the capability that houses all other capabilities because this is where the stimulus you receive from the senses like touch, vision, hearing is used to make decisions before taking actions. This is where informations are stored as well.

The brain works with the sight to interpret what the eyes see on the computer, works with the hearing to analyze sounds and determine where it is coming from and how far it is because the ear as an organ can only receive sounds but can’t take decisions on its own.

For example, when you see an incoming call displayed on your smartphones, you can either decide to accept the call or decline it. Or when you hear a prompt to press certain keys to take certain actions or press another to take another action, you Make a decision as what action to take. This is how the brain works with the sight and hearing to take decisions. The same thing goes for touch.

3. Motor Capabilities

communication with the computer is almost impossible without moving any part of the body. This is where motor capabilities comes to play as we need our body parts to communicate with the computer. We constantly move or rotate our head to read informations, our arms, joints etc to interact with the computer.

These Capabilities Should be taken into consideration by system designers when creating systems for easy use. It is how easy computer is to interact with that matters and not how usable the computer is. Even an advanced computer designed to do various difficult tasks will not be too useful if it is not designed to be easily interacted with. Humans generally get frustrated at the slightest difficulty from the computer so the system designer should work to minimize or stop these frustrations