Some Thoughts Along the Way for HCI

Computers are important productivity tools for people in the 21st century, yet it has only made its appearance about a little more than half a century ago, and there is still plenty to be discovered in how humans can use computers more effectively and in more enlightening ways. To achieve this, merely knowing how computers are operated is far from enough, and that is where art and design comes in, which helps making better conventions out of computers’ capabilities. This is where Human Computer Interaction (HCI) as a cross-subject discipline comes in, and as a graduate student trying to understand HCI, I would like to share my personal thoughts on this topic. They might be in merely primitive forms, but they are where my interest for HCI rooted and flourished.

Throughout my youth, I supposed that I wasn’t an electronic game lover, as those big popular games like World of Warcraft or League of Legends never attracted me, and I once thought I was simply immune to games. This had been the case until in 2013 when I came into Jubeat, a music rhythm game, where you tap the notes that appears according to background music. When it suddenly occurred to me that I was so obsessed in this game that I even placed it directly on the dock of my tablet, I realized that anyone would likely have a game that attracts him specifically. Then the idea hit me that an effective way should exist for anybody through which he would willingly and enjoyably interact, utilize, or communicate with machines or programs. Technology not only makes life more convenient, but it also makes life more vivid, more attractive and more interactive.

Such an inspiration made me an explorer for quality technology that brilliantly makes men’s lives more convenient. On the one hand, it is usually the case that users find it difficult to keep pace with the increasing speed at which technology nowadays change, so it comes as an everlasting need for easing the access to technology. On the other hand, too many products in the market have functional yet outdated techniques, sophisticated interfaces, or mediocre designs. I then felt the desire to create such inspiring technologies myself, which features nice interaction abilities, which lead to my becoming a student at School of Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU to explore how artistic ways of thinking and existing technologies can together create beautiful fruits.

Slightly different from what I had previously expected, the process of  making new inspiring conventions in HCI in academia is far more challenging: academic research turns out to be a harsh and lengthy process–building ideas, designing and conducting experiments, and analyzing results. The exploration process is exciting, too. I am currently working on visualizing clinical data for health agencies, and also neuro-feedback applications, and there is still a long way to go before they can be claimed valid and reliable, but the good things are that I do not have to work alone, since can alway find people of certain fields that can help me in forming ideas and solving relative problems, and that I know I am trying to make things that helps people live better with the help of computers.

While I am still on my way of better understanding HCI, it is my hope that my explorations will benefit people’s use of computers in the days to come.

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