About the HCI Group
What is HCI?
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a combination of computer science, psychology, and design. At NASA, HCI refers to the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive systems that are efficient and easy to use. Tools and applications that allow people to spend more time doing valuable work help NASA fly missions and perform science activities faster and more safely. The HCI Group builds custom software applications that support mission operations and science planning for both manned and unmanned missions.
In the past, the HCI Group has worked on projects to plan science missions for Mars and to ensure the safety and reliability of the shuttle and the International Space Station. Smaller projects aimed at improving the day-to-day functions of individual NASA centers and new work aimed to improve flight reviews and hardware delivery are currently underway.
Apart from designing and developing brand new software tools, the HCI Group provides a number of valuable services, including requirements gathering, software architecture consulting, and data integration work to other NASA organizations.
Group members have backgrounds in:
  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Anthropology
What is our process?
To create usable and useful software, the HCI Group follows an iterative design process. We conduct research to identify requirements, and then we design interfaces, test them, and refine them iteratively. Once a satisfactory design is found, we implement, test, and deploy the newly created software to our clients.
User Research
We believe that the best way to determine software requirements is to sit down with the people who will directly use our software. Using observational and ethnographic methods in a context where work takes place, we are able to understand needs and goals.
Interaction Design
Starting with data from user research, we consider design principles and human and technological capabilities to arrive at a complete system design.
Usability Evaluation
Usability experts evaluate system designs. To supplement these reviews, we collect feedback directly from users. Doing this before implementing software allows us to make changes to the system design and deliver a better product.
Selected Awards
  • Constellation Group Achievement Award, Certification of Flight Readiness Software (2010)
  • Constellation Group Achievement Award, Acceptance Data Package Software (2011)
  • ISS Group Achievement Award, Mission Assurance System Failure Modes Effect Analysis Software (2011)