The role of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in finance

In a previous blog post, the Seeing Opportunity blog highlighted a number of ways innovations in technology have helped those in the world of finance — both consumers and service providers, and last month, we looked into human-computer interaction (HCI) and its role in business analytics.

So, where are the two connected? How does human computer interaction have a role in the technology of finance?

To Andrea Everard, University of Delaware Lerner College professor of management of information systems (MIS) and researcher of HCI, human-computer interaction is relevant to both, and it’s not about the technology, but rather how it’s presented that matters most.

“When I think of finance, I think of masses of data,” Everard said. “With this amount of data that is now available, you need computers to help out with the analysis and the reporting.”

“The use of technology is a given,” Everard continued, “But, it’s not about the technology. It’s how it is presented to the user that really matters. Can the user make sense of the data? Can the user take what is provided to him or her and make good, solid decisions? That, to me, is what is most important.”

“Users have to be able to use the data,” Everard said. “Otherwise, it’s just data.”

How can this understanding of HCI help those in finance?

Everard’s research in HCI focuses on the broad areas of electronic commerce and IT diffusion. In particular, she studies presentation flaws, online advertising and technology adoption.

Everard has studied how trust and credibility in electronic commerce can be determined based on a number of interactions, such as the impression of flaws, familiarity and delivery of advertisements and more.

One example of the role that HCI and innovation play in finance is their ability to increase financial literacy for everyone.

Everard says that HCI and innovation can increase financial literacy by presenting ideas and concepts in a useful and usable manner to users that are easily understood and interpreted.

“For example,” said Everard, “Using technology to provide simulations of financial data in different scenarios can provide users with a real sense of ‘what if?’”

“You have to provide the information not only in a way that is easily understood for the user but also using the means with which the user is most comfortable. With new data visualization tools, for example, the data can come alive to the user and the user will be that much more inclined to use the data to make decisions — rather than to go on a hunch or to guess,” Everard said. “Designing a financial literacy app, for example, is, once again, not about the technology but about how the information is presented, how it can be accessed, how the user can really use what is given to them. It’s about providing value to the user.”

At Lerner College, students earning a bachelor of science in MIS take FINC 311, Principles of Finance. This course provides a solid foundation in financial management, allowing future graduates to better navigate crossroads between finance and management information systems.

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