Psychology’s role in Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience

Assumption College Undergraduate

psychology hci uxHave you ever thought about all of the research that goes into the way we interact with computers? Even how you’re interacting with this blog right now—from your eyes’ movements around the page to the way you react to its design—has been thought about and skillfully crafted.

As technology evolves and big data grows, the fields of User Experience and Human-Computer Interaction have been growing with them. Companies want to know what makes people click.

User Experience Design (UXD or UED) is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product. Human–computer interaction (HCI) involves the study, planning, design and uses of the interaction between people (users) and computers.

They’re two interrelated fields and they’re both growing. As the fields of UX and HCI grow, large companies seek employees with psychology degrees to help them hit those consumer sweet spots. Psychologists work with designers to identify the way that brains work when they’re using different media.

Erik Flowers, Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit, holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He writes in his blog, HelloErik, that there are many psychological aspects to this study:

“In its truest sense, UX is trying to break through all the abstractions of computers, screens, devices, eyes, ears, and get right to the source – the brain. The way I see it is if I can’t hit the areas of the brain that are going to facilitate the right experience, the design is not going to work. It doesn’t matter if I’m designing a digital product, a service, or an environment. Specific brain-buttons have to be pushed in order to give us the result we want. I find it very valuable to know what those buttons actually are and the functional neural anatomy of what makes a person, well, a person.See his infographic describing UX and the brain.

If you’re interested in going into this field, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is a great start. Very often students go on to graduate schools in psychology or computer science fields. Graduate programs in Human-Computer Interaction specialize in the cross-disciplinary fields of design, development, psychology and user experience studies.

Assumption’s psychology program offers interesting classes studying human behavior and it’s designed to allow flexibility to customize your education. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to engage in independent studies and research topics of their choosing.

Dive into a career in UX or HCI and explore these fields of psychology:

  • Behavioral psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Quantitative psychology & statistics
  • Applied psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • and more

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