I've been reading up a lot on UX lately. The terms computer graphics, HCI and User experience keep coming up together. Could someone explain to me how Graphics, HCI and UX are all linked?


2 Answers 2


HCI- Human computer interaction
UX - User experience
Graphics (in this sense) - visual display elements

The link between these three when it comes to a product is simple: the user experience is based on how the user interacts with the device (typically some sort of computer, though not always). Visual elements displayed provide feedback and feeling to the product.

In general, the three are separate. HCI is how do I interact with the device. For a computer, that literally means the keyboard, mouse, microphone, and anything else you use as inputs to the computer. Graphics is typically just what you see on screen, though it can also refer to images and content displayed. Described as-is, graphics and the others have little in common. However, if you're discussing a gui (graphics user interface), that's much more in tune with the others. And of course UX is everything bundled together and how it makes us feel when using the product.

  • UX is really everything bundeled. That means anything related to the product influences the experience. Also manuals, packaging, unboxing-experience and the nice person on the support hot-line are parts of user experience. It's not limited to the produt itself.
    – Lovis
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 16:04
  • It's also worth noting that HCI is often considered to be Human Factors for computers specifically.
    – dmacfour
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 20:57

Computer graphics simply refers to graphics created and viewed using computers, so that is simplest.

For User Experience (UX), User Interface/Interaction (UI), Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and related terms, the following diagram from this quora question may help:

ux taxonomy

The diagram is not definitive, but it's pretty helpful.

HCI is the practice and study if human interaction with machines. This includes usability and machine interaction design, but also includes broader aspects of the human-machine interface such as biomechanics and psychological reactions to the interface.

UX deals with the entirety of the user experience relative to a product (not just the user interface). So it includes broader aspects of user experience such as emotional, physical, and behavioral perception of a product/service. For example, the location, shape and color of an ATM machine can affect the user experience, whereas the touch screen is the primary user interface for that ATM machine.

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