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Computing Environments in Human Computer Interaction

Last Updated : 24 Nov, 2021
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Innovation is key to technological advancements. In order to be creative and implement ideas, we need to first understand concepts, functionalities, and other aspects of existing resources available. Thus, social, physical, cognitive environments need to be explored. A good understanding of these will help us in building better solutions to complex problems. 

1. Physical Computing Environment : 
Physical Computing Environment involves the hardware components, lighting facility, etc. It will affect various aspects of interaction design between components and other users. 

Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) are mobile, personal information appliances used for several purposes. Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) is fixed, public computing station used to perform financial operations. 

Issues in designing Physical Computing Environment are : 

  • Safety – 
    This is an important issue in activities involving personal and confidential information such as bank details, mobile number, etc. Computer related errors and other errors should be minimized as much as possible. 
  • Efficiency – 
    Systems should not make user work more which will thereby reduce its efficiency. 
  • User Space – 
    There should be enough space for user to work comfortably. Sufficient amount of flexibility should be provided to user so that he can adjust things according to his comfort. 
  • Work Space – 
    User should be able to carry work objects such as notebooks, pens, etc to place if needed. 
  • Lighting – 
    Ambient illumination has to be maintained so that it doesn’t disrupt user’s work. Lighting system should be well controlled as per surroundings. 
  • Noise – 
    Disturbing noises should be reduced as much as possible for user to work effectively and conveniently. 
  • Pollution – 
    In some industrial areas, due to a lot of pollution machinery doesn’t work properly. Proper cleaning facility should be provided for the maintenance of machinery. 

2. Social Computing Environment : 
This deals with how is system setup and how is interaction done. For ATM and other personal transactions, a separate isolated space should be provided for safety. 

Audible negative feedbacks can be embarrassing in public places, which should be avoided. 

3. Cognitive Computing Environment : 
Cognitive dynamic features should be considered in human-computer interaction design systems. Factors such as age, disabilities, etc play a major role in system design. The following points to be considered are – 

  • Age – 
    Some systems are specifically designed for children based on their cognitive ability. It’s easy for them to use and comprehend. Few systems are designed for adults which might be complex in nature. 
  • Conditions related to disabilities – 
    To be usable by a wider group of people, several disability factors should be kept in mind. For people having difficulty in seeing, auditory medium should be provided. 
  • Degree of technical knowledge – 
    There should be a requirement of minimal technical knowledge to use system by general users. For task-specific and complex operations, technicians are involved. 
  • Degree of focus – 
    There should be ease of use and user should not be asked to focus solely on system. The multitasking option should be enabled. 
  • Cognitive stress – 
    Different levels of cognitive stress is involved in different operations, ranging from mission-critical tasks to leisure time activities. Extra attention should be given to medical, defense, and important operations. 



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