Human-Machine Interaction (HMI)


Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) is the study of interactions between humans and machines via a human-machine interface. Human Machine Interaction is a multidisciplinary field with contributions from Human-Computer interaction (HCI), Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Humanoid robots and exoskeleton control.

Research in HMI has been happening for more than 50 years and good designs of HMI have gained high market value in areas such as entertainment, transportation, medicine and other industries.

The most important aspect of HMI is the interface, the point at which humans can interact or communicate with the machine. An interface can range from a simple pad lock to sophisticated systems of sensors, controls and displays. Therefore, for efficient communication with the machine, good interface design is very important. Features of good interface include the following characteristics: Clear, Concise, Familiar, Responsive, Consistent, Attractive, Efficient, and Forgiving.

In every HMI, there are four stages involved, these are: forming the intention, selecting an action, executing the action, and evaluating the outcome.

Forming the intention is having a mental model of the goal and what would be the resulting activity. Selection is the stage where the intention takes the form of possible actions at the moment. The execution is the act of entering the selections into the system. In the end, the results of the actions need to be evaluated that the intended goal is reached. Evaluation is used to direct further activity. Therefore, good, intuitive design, taking into account the features of an interface and the user’s stages of interaction with machines, make for good human-machine interface design that results in effective human-machine interaction and communication.


Donald A. Norman, Stages and Levels in Human-Machine Interaction in International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, vol. 21,4, October 1984, Pages 365-375.

CrossDynamix is an industry leader in technology consulting and can provide consultancy services for your HMI projects.

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