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HCI Research: Future Directions that Matter

By Kalle Lyytinen


In this essay, I briefly review the dominant perspective in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research and its underlying research questions as currently pursued in the field of Information Systems (IS). I discuss its strengths and weaknesses and conclude that it is reaching the state of a decreasing rate of returns due to significant changes in computing environments and computer use. Three emerging themes are noted to address this challenge: 1) concern for environmental validity, 2) richer notions of cognition, and 3) growth and access to new sets of data. I suggest that these themes will shape the research in HCI in this decade, and, if addressed properly, will improve the relevance (and rigor) of future research. Research in HCI dawned in the late seventies when computers moved from the back office to the organizational frontlines in the form of time-sharing systems, and later in the form of office productivity tools on personal computers. The earliest topics focused on material features of computing, like keyboard design or ergonomic factors affecting user efficiency (e.g. screen size). Much of the later research that ultimately distinguished HCI as a separate field focused on how forms of computer interaction enabled or impeded user behaviors due to the availability of designed computing features (e.g. formats, query language constructs, etc). Likewise, early HCI research on information systems (the Minnesota experiments) examined human-computer interaction and task performance. The bulk of this early research relied on experimental approaches and consequently adopted simple stimulus-response models o

Year: 2010
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