Frequently Asked Questions about Human Computer Interaction
Human-computer Interaction (HCI) studies the relationship between computer technology and people. HCI is a multidisciplinary approach to observing how to best design computers and other forms of information technology for our everyday user needs and enjoyment. It borrows methodologies and techniques from Computer Science, Human-factors Engineering, and Cognitive Science to make our interaction with technology as beneficial as possible.
HCI is important to learn because it’s designed to close the gap between user and device to maximize efficiency, with some even using it to improve the happiness and satisfaction of users. This is applied through user-interface design, accessibility (e.g. screen readers), keyboards, and other tools that help us use technology more easily and effectively.
HCI courses offered through Coursera equip learners with knowledge in generating and prototyping design ideas; leveraging feedback from stakeholders; understanding principles of design and design-thinking strategies; and more.
Lessons on HCI are taught by instructors from major universities, including University of California at San Diego. Learners can enjoy exploring HCI with instructors specializing in HCI, Computer Science, Cognitive Science, Engineering, and other disciplines. Course content on HCI is delivered via hands-on projects, video lectures, readings, quizzes, and other types of assignments.
The skills or experience you may already need to have before studying human-computer interaction (also known as HCI) may include a basic knowledge of computer science, cognitive science and human behavior, and human factors engineering, which can include ergonomic design for user comfort. Some of the skills you may need to have before learning human-computer interaction may include the understanding of graphic and visual design. Specific skills you may need to have can include storyboarding, A/B testing, and rapid and paper prototyping. You also may want to have solid problem-solving skills, which you can use to improve and create innovative services and products.
The kind of people who are best suited for roles in human-computer interaction have a passion for this broad multidisciplinary field that includes computer and information technology design and the interaction between human users and computers. The kind of people who may do well in roles in the human-computer interaction field will understand that there's a way to design technologies, websites, and apps to bring joy, satisfaction, and efficiency to human users instead of frustration.
Learning human-computer interaction may be right for you if you want to work in the areas of user-centered design (UCD), user interface (UI) design, and user experience design (UXD). Learning human-computer interaction may also be right for you if you plan to work on the academic or scientific research parts of these fields. If you want to take your product management experience to the next level and learn the business, technical, design, and leadership skills necessary for product management roles at top technology companies, this may be your next step. You may also want to learn human-computer interaction if you need to create innovative products by further understanding user needs, rapidly generating prototypes, evaluating design concepts, and going through ideation and refinement to ensure a great user experience at every step of product interaction.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.