Human-centred Computing (HCC) combines design principles with computing to help develop systems that support human capabilities and cater to human needs. As India strives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, HCC becomes increasingly important in developing technology solutions that holistically support human activities in healthcare, education, women’s safety, and others.
As technology increasingly become a part of everyday life, there is an increasing need to develop solutions that support the user without requiring the user to learn the technology. For example, many people with low exposure to technology are unable to use mobile payment apps and net banking facilities; HCC addresses this challenge by providing design and research methods to develop systems that are easy to use and can be widely adopted.
Scope and impact
Today, human dependence on computing solutions is an unavoidable necessity. To develop more innovative social-technical solutions in various domains, there is a pressing need to promote research activities in this domain. Going forward, technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will only become more prominent and impact almost every aspect of life or essential services like healthcare, travel, and education.
The impact of HCC has been visible in almost every sector where computing or technology has a direct interface with humans. From mobile apps or web-based solutions for seat reservations to intelligent systems helping doctors analyse health data or taking online classes, almost every area of life has been influenced by HCC. Experts believe that computer visualisation, human-robot interaction, mixed reality systems, mobile and ubiquitous computing, and so on will integrate HCC research and have a larger impact.
However, most of the current technology solutions have been developed in the West (as per their needs) and are then imported. What we need is to develop solutions that serve the needs of the diverse Indian population and specific Indian context. Students/researchers of HCC can help create knowledge and research methods to develop such solutions. HCC education will allow students to understand how to engage with users and their requirements, develop solutions that meet the requirements and evaluate them. Thus, developing robust and scalable solutions that are pluralistic and participatory in nature is the desired outcome of HCC research and training. Students can make research contributions in core fields of Computer Science, such as human-computer interaction, computer graphics, visualisation, and interaction technologies.
The writer Professor and head of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Human-Centred Computing at IIIT-Delhi.