Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is a rather new academic field – the space where humans and computers come together. It has a variety of names including User Experience (UX), User Design, User Interface (UI), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Human-Centered Computing.
To add to the confusion, HCI programs are housed in a number of university departments and integrated into more established disciplines (e.g., Design, Information Science, Computer Science, Business).
According to the User Experience Professionals Association, “User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UE works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users.” What it boils down to is this: there are a number of computer scientists, designers, and engineers who are primarily concerned with how human beings interact with computers, and how they, in their role as creators, can make that process more seamless, efficient, and productive.
Most Master’s program in HCI are intended for those with basic computer programming or coding knowledge, but being an emerging, interdisciplinary field, HCI programs are filled with graduates from all kinds of majors, from business to engineering to the humanities.