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Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Feedback Cycles

An important focus in HCI is the use of feedback cycles when interacting with the world. "Feedback cycles can be found anywhere, whether or not there's a computational interface involved. Everything from reading to driving a car to interacting with other people could be an example of a feedback cycle in action" (HCIxI).

Feedback cycles are how we learn to do anything and everything. We do something, we see the result, and we adjust what we do the next time accordingly.

When designing interactions between a user and an interface, we need to consider two of the many challenges people must overcome to successfully interact with that interface:

1. Gulf of Execution: the distance between a user's goals and the execution of the actions required to realize those goals.

2. Gulf of Evaluation: the distance between the effects of those actions and the user's understanding of those results.

Bridging the gap between these two processes and the user is the key step in designing an interface that minimizes the cognitive load needed by the user in order to accomplish a specific goal when interacting with an interface.

To learn more about these two processes, check out the Two UX Gulfs: Evaluation and Execution by the Nielson and Norman Group.


Whitenton, K. (2018, March 11). The two UX gulfs: Evaluation and execution. Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from,to%20accomplish%20a%20specific%20goal

Gulf of Evaluation and gulf of execution. The Interaction Design Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2022, from

HCIxI course from the Georgia Tech Human-Computer Interaction Professional Certificate Program

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