Humanware is the method of adding a human facet into the development of computer programs. The main goal of developing humanware is to make hardware and software as functional as possible.
A computer system is made up of three major components—hardware, software, and humanware. While software and hardware make up an actual computer, humanware is necessary for enhancing user experience (UX) by making improvements in the system’s user interface (UI). Humanware is the combination of hardware and software elements that make human interaction with a device as good as possible. Often, developing humanware begins by defining who the computer’s potential users are, what they are interested in, and what they need before designing the infrastructure.
You can think of hardware as cooking utensils in a kitchen. Software, meanwhile, can pertain to a recipe. The humanware component in this scenario is the chef. All the utensils and recipes in the world will be useless if you do not have a chef to bring food to life.
Much like the comparison, a computer cannot work with just hardware and software. It needs humanware to serve its intended purpose.
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Why Is Humanware Important?
Over the years, computer manufacturers have been striving toward improving UX continually. In a business sense, good UX effectively improves customer retention by 5%, which is enough to rake in a profit of as much as 25%. And since users lie at the center of all business operations, satisfying their needs should always be a priority.
That is the idea behind developing humanware. Before companies set their goals or start the design process, they first need to understand what their target users need. For example, when building a desktop, the humanware factor comes in when manufacturers consider the overall design. Even the visually or hearing-impaired should be able to use the system. That way, even the differently abled would be enticed to purchase and use the product. They may even recommend it to peers. Systems with poor UIs or are hard to operate, however, provide poor UX and so are not sellable.
To put it simply, factoring in humanware in manufacturing computers is essential because it fulfills user requirements.
What Are the Steps in Developing Humanware?
Developing humanware is a process. In general, it follows these steps:
Step 1: Defining Users and Their Capabilities
To understand what user capabilities must be present in a product, the development team must first identify their target users. That may require as many details as possible to address many needs. These details include demographics (age, location, career, familial status, etc.), motivations (mindset, power, incentivization, fears, etc.), previous product experience, and everything else that helps developers get to know target users.
This first step is often the most crucial. It takes some time to finish because developers need to be as exhaustive as possible. It also requires considering how customers will evolve.
Step 2: Specifying Usability Objectives
Using the target users and their needs as pegs, the development team then needs to come up with goals. This step requires developers to think of all possible humanware capabilities they can integrate into the system they are building. If possible, all these objectives must be measurable for future improvements.
Step 3: Building a Prototype
The next step is building a prototype. This device will allow developers to test if the product can indeed meet the goals they set. It involves asking actual users to test the prototype. The development team gets user feedback and incorporates suggestions or recommendations into the current design to address flaws. The prototype should undergo various testing cycles until the product passes quality and usability testing.
Every user has a different preference. And often, user requirements change, depending on a person’s current situation. Answering the question, “What is humanware?” can provide clues so developers can create the most beneficial products that many users are bound to patronize.