question about role of interaction design and human factors

6 Oct 2005 - 3:18pm
8 years ago
4 replies
864 reads
Michele Marut
2005

Hello,

I'm confused about interaction design vs people trained in HCI and/or
human factors.

I know sometimes both can be assigned to the same project at the same
time. If that is case what is the role of the interaction designer and
what is the role of the human factors specialist?

Thank you,

Michele Marut

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Comments

6 Oct 2005 - 5:07pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Oct 6, 2005, at 1:18 PM, Marut, Michele wrote:

> I'm confused about interaction design vs people trained in HCI and/or
> human factors.
>
> I know sometimes both can be assigned to the same project at the same
> time. If that is case what is the role of the interaction designer and
> what is the role of the human factors specialist?

My opinion is that they are checks and balances for each other. Both
are after good design, but have different methodologies for achieving
it. In general, interaction design is more qualitative; HCI and human
factors more quantitative. Designers are trained to come up with
solutions, HCI and HF people to test and verify those solutions so
that they are usable for humans. Practically, this has meant for me
that everyone is involved in creating solutions (making it useful),
the designers for making the solution aesthetically-pleasing
(desirable), and the HCI/HF folks for making sure it works (usable)
through testing.

Dan

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

6 Oct 2005 - 5:49pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I totally agree w/ Dan. I would add a few other distinctions or
clarifications in terms of process and methods, and values.

HCI and HF come from scientific and social scientific disciplines:
HCI = comp. sci + cog. Pscych.
HF = biomechanics + cog. Psych.

While IxD is informed by all those academic subjects, it is a design
discipline first and foremost and has a rich background in studio "design
thinking" where explorations of divergent thinking are digested before
convergent thinking is brought in to do the analysis of the total whole
picture. The others are analytical in nature and do not generally have
practices that are as exploratory.

That being said, a lot of IxD is centered around researching the user. I
would say that that research is the use of HCI, except IxD has created
methods by which to take quantitative information and qualitative
information to create empathy of understanding with the solution.

Lastly, IxD unlike its older siblings has a sense of aesthetic (beauty).
While HF was built on the idea of making things more efficient, IxD would be
willing to sacrifice pure efficiency for some aspect of pleasure within the
interconnected system.

-- dave

On 10/6/05 6:07 PM, "Dan Saffer" <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> On Oct 6, 2005, at 1:18 PM, Marut, Michele wrote:
>
>> I'm confused about interaction design vs people trained in HCI and/or
>> human factors.
>>
>> I know sometimes both can be assigned to the same project at the same
>> time. If that is case what is the role of the interaction designer and
>> what is the role of the human factors specialist?
>
> My opinion is that they are checks and balances for each other. Both
> are after good design, but have different methodologies for achieving
> it. In general, interaction design is more qualitative; HCI and human
> factors more quantitative. Designers are trained to come up with
> solutions, HCI and HF people to test and verify those solutions so
> that they are usable for humans. Practically, this has meant for me
> that everyone is involved in creating solutions (making it useful),
> the designers for making the solution aesthetically-pleasing
> (desirable), and the HCI/HF folks for making sure it works (usable)
> through testing.
>
> Dan
>
>
>
>
> Dan Saffer
> Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
> http://www.adaptivepath.com
> http://www.odannyboy.com
>
> _______________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Group!
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-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

7 Oct 2005 - 6:55am
Donna Maurer
2003

I don't think it's that cut and dried. In general, human factors people focus on either the
ergonomic, general cognitive or organisational psych aspect. HCI people focus on the
way people and technology interact. Human factors and HCI are further apart than HCI
and IxD. If you are in fields like aviation, health or military, human factors people
wouldn't have a clue about how to design an interface, but boy do they know about
people. Plenty of HCI people do great IxD.

But in practice, it always comes down to individual skills and experience. It may be
more to do with the perception of the person writing the job specs, and their
experience with people who wore these hats at a point in time.

My HF Masters encompasses traditional HF, a good wallop of HCI and I'm right now
doing a studio design subject, so I get all aspects...

Donna

-
On 6 Oct 2005 at 18:49, David Heller wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I totally agree w/ Dan. I would add a few other distinctions or
> clarifications in terms of process and methods, and values.
>
> HCI and HF come from scientific and social scientific disciplines: HCI
> = comp. sci + cog. Pscych. HF = biomechanics + cog. Psych.
>
> While IxD is informed by all those academic subjects, it is a design
> discipline first and foremost and has a rich background in studio
> "design thinking" where explorations of divergent thinking are
> digested before convergent thinking is brought in to do the analysis
> of the total whole picture. The others are analytical in nature and do
> not generally have practices that are as exploratory.
>
> That being said, a lot of IxD is centered around researching the user.
> I would say that that research is the use of HCI, except IxD has
> created methods by which to take quantitative information and
> qualitative information to create empathy of understanding with the
> solution.
>
> Lastly, IxD unlike its older siblings has a sense of aesthetic
> (beauty). While HF was built on the idea of making things more
> efficient, IxD would be willing to sacrifice pure efficiency for some
> aspect of pleasure within the interconnected system.
>
> -- dave
>
--
Donna Maurer
Maadmob Interaction Design

e: donna at maadmob.net
work: http://maadmob.com.au/
blog: http://maadmob.net/donna/blog/
AOL IM: maadmob

7 Oct 2005 - 7:38am
Dave Malouf
2005

On 10/7/05 7:55 AM, "Donna Maurer" <donna at maadmob.net> wrote:

> My HF Masters encompasses traditional HF, a good wallop of HCI and I'm right
> now
> doing a studio design subject, so I get all aspects...

Donna, but maybe your degree is either.

1) realizing that it needs to include x-disciplinary theories and methods to
create a more wholistic practitioner.

2) is mis-labeled (as most programs are, IMHO) and should really be a
product design masters, and not attributed to any single academic or design
discipline?

I do believe that it is important to attempt to create cleaner boundaries.
Speaking for myself here, I feel that one of the things keeping UX in
general from taking hold is that we ourselves do not have clean lines of
distinction and well it all looks flakey from the outside.

-- dave

David Heller
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixdg.org/
Dave (at) ixdg (dot) org
Dave (at) synapticburn (dot) com
AIM: bolinhanyc || Y!: dave_ux || MSN: hippiefunk at hotmail.com

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