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Many problems that have to be solved in present day human-computer interfaces arise from technology limitations, quite apart from those arising from lack of appropriate knowledge. Some of the progress we see in the most recently developed interfaces has occurred simply because bit-mapped screens, large memories, colour, compute-power appropriate to local intelligence, and the like, have all become inexpensive at the same time as rising human costs have finally been appreciated, and deprecated, by those who pay the bills. The new technical possibilities, and the now obvious economic advantages of providing good interactive computer support to enhance human productivity in all areas of endeavour has created tremendous pressure to improve the human-computer interface. This pressure, in turn, has dramatically highlighted our lack of fundamental knowledge and methodologies concerning interactive systems design, human problem solving, interaction techniques, dialogue prototyping and management, and system evaluation. The design of human computer interfaces is still more of an art than a science. Furthermore, the knowledge and methodologies that do exist often turn out to fall short of what is needed to match computer methods or to serve as a basis for detailed algorithm design. The paper addresses a mixed audience in reviewing the background and current state of human-computer interaction, in touching on the social and ethical responsibility of the designer, and in picking out some of the central ideas that seem likely to shape the development of interaction and interface design in future computer systems. It suggests areas in which advances in fundamental knowledge and in our understanding of how to apply that knowledge seem to be needed to support interaction in future computer systems. Such systems are seen as having their roots in the visionary work of Sutherland (1963), Englebart (1968), Kay (1969), Winograd (1970), Hansen (1971), Papert (1973), Foley and Wallace (1974), and D.C. Smith (1975). Their emphasis on natural dialogue, ease of use for the task, creativity, problem solving, appropriate division of labour and powerful machine help available in the user's terms will still be crucial in the future. However, the ability to form, communicate, manipulate and use models effectively will come to dominate interaction with future computer systems as the focus of interactive systems shifts to knowledge-based performance. Human-computer interaction must be regarded as the amplification of an individual's intellectual productivity by graceful determination and satisfaction of every need that is amenable to algorithmic solution, without any disturbance of the overall problem solving process.
Computer Science