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HCI is NOT only UX

…and UX is not only WebDev.

It is now about 1 year that I am browsing work announcement and the job market in general for HCI opportunities. Well, I am still not employed in that specific field. Why?

Simple reason, the job market, HR and HR Manager do not know what HCI really is.

First of all, I clarify what HCI is. HCI is the acronym for Human-Computer Interaction and it is the practice that determines everything about products usability and… friendliness. HCI is the practice that determines why the remote of your 4K TV, why the smart TV menu, the smart phone itself, the interface of the dashboard of your car, practically everything that is technology and interact with humans (you are most likely human, reading this article, by the way) looks like. The feedback you receive from technology, the button you press, everything is determined by HCI.

HCI is based on Human-Centred Design, Design Thinking, Usability Engineering, Prototype Evaluation…. It is a Design practice, yes, and it is a Computer Science practice, and a Data Science practice, too. The information that we collect from evaluations and testing are processed into knowledge, often classified, clustered, moderated, and so on.

HCI is everything, it is psychology and project management, too.

Maybe that is why it is so hard to find HCI opportunities. It is big, it is important. All that I always found were PhD opportunities in this field, but I cannot believe that companies do not consider this.

Or better, looking at some interfaces and products, well… yeah… many companies do not consider this field as important.

Second, and final, interesting point is that for the job market HCI is always and only UX. When you search HCI in any job opportunity website, you get to see UX. Honestly, it is correct, UX is part of HCI, but it is not the only thing HCI does. In the specific, when you find UX opportunities, they always relate to Web Development. Again, it is correct, the problem is that UX is not only WebDev. WebDev is probably a tenth of the sub-field called UX. UX still involves requirements, analysis, management, development, evaluation, iteration, delivery, and so on…

However, all these opportunities classified as UX are most of the time JavaScript programmer positions.

I love WebDev, I worked with it, it was my first (failing but learning) entrepreneurial experience, and I still code my website on my own line by line. However, it is limiting and insulting at some extent to limit the whole HCI experience to WebDev.

I would have not taken a Master degree with this specialisation, if it was a mere WebDev work, would I? I could be WebDev with my high-school diploma, because it is in Computer Science and it qualifies me for that.

I wanted to write this article to outburst some disappointment about the job market, and the people who run it. HCI is a proper discipline, a practice that is fairly new, but also the most important. Many startups are overlooking HCI, I notice it because all the “new” products have the same interface, and some of them are deserving a better human-interaction. However, they stick to old standards, they don’t look at requirements, they avoid the final user opinion. A small investment in HCI can give lots of benefits to any product.

Now, think about the unnatural usability of your products, while I go opening my own consulting firm.

If you have HCI positions, contact me. I will show you how to do it, properly.

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