explore human-computer interaction in the Human Factors Engineering program

May 10, 2023

by Britney Rivers

The Human Factors Engineering certificate course has been hosted by the University of Michigan for over 60 years. A seasoned instructional team of Michigan faculty and industry experts facilitate world-class lectures and interactive workshops.

Lead instructor and University of Michigan research professor Dr. Paul Green contributes his knowledge of systems design to the program. Week 1 introduces human factors concepts and Week 2 dives deeper into intelligent design and human-computer interaction. Week 2 can be taken independently and offers an opportunity to explore the relationship between humans and computer systems. 

Fundamentals of Human-Computer Interaction

Week 2 of Human Factors Engineering establishes the basis for human-computer interaction. It looks into the challenges and possibilities of its special programming. Human-computer interaction (HCI) is focused on designing products and systems in a way that makes a difference to people. 

Essentially, HCI provides a set of tools and techniques that help organizations improve the usability, safety, or efficiency of systems. In many cases, it can help collectively improve all aspects.  

The Importance of Usability Testing

Human-computer interaction heavily relies on usability testing. Week 2 of Human Factors Engineering explores why usability testing is important and explains the process to conduct people-centered system testing. Lectures and workshops allow learners to discuss strategies to improve system performance through analysis and trial-and-error. Learners will also explore how to optimize interface design to effectively communicate information between the system and its users.

What You Can Learn

In today’s society, computers are integrated into daily life. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to expand, designers must investigate new ways to enhance the interaction between computers and humans. 

Dr. Green says, “The tendency is to think of a computer as something with a screen, a Qwerty keyboard, and a mouse. However, more and more products have computers in them—they are intelligent—and therefore, the ideas from human-computer interaction have broader applications than most think.” 

Many modern products, from simple machines to cars and airplanes, depend on computers to operate properly. Complex systems must be designed to both perform a function and be compatible with human users. In Week 2 of Human Factors Engineering, learners gain an understanding of people-centered design. Moreover, learners grow the essential skill sets to create systems and interfaces for users, affected communities, and society.  

An Interactive Experience

A major component of the Human Factoring Engineering course is the interactive workshops. Dr. Green explains, “In contrast to a traditional human factors class, we have some sort of interactive session every day in which students use tools, often computer software, to solve problems. Those hands-on sessions are extremely impactful in getting course attendees to appreciate what they learn and apply it when they return to their jobs.”

Hands-on learning and real-world application contribute to the full experience of the program. After participating in Week 2, participants can immediately apply human-computer interaction tools and knowledge to their work.

Who Should Attend

Computer technology is heavily integrated into corporate practices. Many organizations—from manufacturing and software development to military and aerospace—can benefit from aspects of human-computer interaction. Industries that depend on intricate systems can find value in HCI topics. If you are interested in prioritizing human-centered design in your products, services, and systems consider participating in Week 2 of the Human Factors Engineering certificate course.

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