Human-Computer Interaction Group
Prof. Dr. Tom Gross
The Human-Computer Interaction Group was launched on 1 March 2011 based on fundings won by the University of Bamberg in an innovation contest by the Free State of Bavaria. Details on the group's Cooperative Media Lab can be found here.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) aims at optimally supporting users through technology (mainly computer technology) by amplifying their strengths and compensating their weaknesses.
The Special Interest Group HCI of the German Informatics Society provides the following definition: "Das Gebiet Mensch-Computer-Interaktion umfasst die Analyse, Gestaltung und Bewertung menschen- und aufgabengerechter Computeranwendungen“ ("The field of Human-Computer Interaction comprises the analysis, design, and evaluation of human- and task-centred computer applications"; in German). In the context of HCI interactive systems are often mentioned—a interactive (computer-) system thereby is described as a unity consisting of software and hardware that receives input from users and gives immediate feedback. The usability of interactive systems can be evaluated along three factors: effectiveness (accuracy and completeness with which users achieve their goals), efficiency (resources expended by users to achieve these goals), and satisfaction (the users' positive attitudes towards the use of the system).
The research paradigm of the Human-Computer Interaction Group is Human-Centred Computing—that is, to develop technological concepts, prototypes, and systems based on an understanding of how people interact with and communicate through computing technology. It departs from an understanding of human, social, and cultural issues in order to make technology useful and usable. At the HCI Group's Cooperative Media Lab the faculty and students work on a conceptual and technological foundation as well as methods for the design, implementation, and evaluation of interactive systems. Platforms and toolkits as well as prototypes and systems are designed, developed, and evaluated. The website of the Cooperative Media Lab offers a comprehensive overview of the group's research.
HCI is not only a fascinating scientific area for students and researchers, but provides—especially with respect to usability—outstanding career opportunities: for example as interaction designer in a software company or internet agency, as human factors expert in the automotive branch, as user experience expert in the mobile and telecommunication market, or as usability consultant in a consulting firm.