Evolution of Human Interfacing — From Cave Art to UI Design

Dec, 2017

- By Research & Development Department of Image Infotainment Ltd

Humans, unlike other species, have evolved into more intellectual beings for over thousands of years. It was possible only for humans, as they realised the importance of things around them and they started analyzing and deploying everything around.

Human Interfacing
A connection, situation, way or a place where two things come together and affect each other is termed as an interface. Humans always interface with every object they find around them. This interfacing with the objects around made them understand the things in detail. And interfacing with others made them establish some form of communication to help in socializing and sharing thoughts and ideas. Interfacing with objects and interfacing to communicate has helped we humans to grow into more civilized beings.

The Start
The need for socializing helped humans to develop new methods/forms of communication mediums like sign and iconic symbol languages during the prehistoric periods. Humans also used art and paintings to communicate ideas, thoughts, information, knowledge and stories. These mediums gave way for more effective mediums (forms of interfacing) to communicate with oral and written languages that allowed people to communicate with even more detail.

Languages and Art Forms in Interfacing
Further, languages helped humans to expand and grow into more civilized beings. As humans were grouping into bigger civilizations, they started to evolve new cultures and so the need for even better forms of interfacing gave birth to Music and Dance. Humans with better communication mediums evolved their intellect and started making life better with new discoveries and inventions.

Human-Machine Interfacing (HMI)
There have been a lot of technological innovations and discoveries for centuries in every big civilization that existed and new kinds of instruments, devices and equipments for different needs have been developed for every specific purpose. Any information about the detailing or practical usage of such devices/objects/instruments need to be communicated in an easily understandable fashion.
This need for easier and clear understanding of instruments made them to communicate that information in a better way by integrating art and technology into their development process. This gave rise to Human Machine interfacing.

Modern HMI
In the modern and post modern era that we live in, we interact and constantly interface with one or the other device/instrument more often than we interface with other humans. Humans have evolved with technology and new innovations have been made to simplify their works. Thanks to commercialization of business and commoditization of objects (calling them as product); any new innovation happened, the product was exposed to the people in even lesser time to own it. In no time, people are able to gain access to things and they could now experience, interface and interact with it in a manner that he/she could easily understand and use it in a more natural way without any help from other person for explaining what and how to use it.

Taking Radio or Television or Computer for example, these more advanced and modern innovations were created to help people simplify their activities. But for people to use such new systems, we need to communicate a lot of information about it like, what is it, what can it do, how to use it, and what are all the properties or functionalities it holds that as a user can tweak and use to his requirements.
With all the above said information about a device, it should also be presented to the end user in a way that it feels more comfortable to use (ease of use), and aesthetic and artistic in terms of the make. This new requirements of interfacing has put forth the importance of ‘Design’ in developing a product. More than calling it as developing a product, first it’s the design that makes the product appealing and usable.

Design and Digital Interfacing


The concept of design started integrating comfort, aesthetics and art into the product development, apart from technical detailing for ease of interfacing and communication. This resulted in even better form of interfacing with objects. In the world that we now live in, every device we interact with is designed and developed with new methods of interfacing that will not just communicate information and details instead of plain old form, but with ease, comfort of human physical use, art and aesthetics that humans relate to and easily understand. The latest buzz word in development of any product or service in the current times is ‘Design for User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)’ (the word Human is now replaced with User). Be it Print, Digital Media, Ads, Movies, Game, Products and so on, Human Interfacing has been at the core of all these to help humans interface in an effective way with the underlying product.

Even as humans innovated and evolved new ways of interfacing between people, they parallelly succeeded in innovating and evolving the interfacing with everyday objects that we live with. The modern day humans now have the power to interface and communicate globally from any place on the earth through the latest technology called Internet that has converted the world into a single global village (one big human civilization). To interface at this scale, more evolved and advanced interfacing methods have been created and these help humans take a big leap in the history of evolution.

Image Courtesy: www.engadget.com; commons.wikimedia.org/; www.wjones.com/