Human Interface Devices make up the class of computer hardware that uses Universal Serial Bus ports to easily allow humans to control computers. This universal device class benefits consumers by allowing input devices to function seemingly without hardware drivers.
Developed in 1994 by a collective of computer hardware manufacturers, the USB standard was developed for a fast -- up to 12 megabytes per second -- and easy way to connect peripheral devices to computers. Among all USB devices, HID-compliant peripherals are a common class.
USB mice and keyboards are the most common human interface devices, but the class has expanded to include joysticks, trackballs and any other tool that allows humans to interact with computers.
By holding manufacturers to HID compliancy set by USB and their own set of device standards, Microsoft was able to incorporate universal drivers directly into their operating systems starting with Windows XP. With this, consumer control devices such as USB keyboards and mice no longer required the inconvenient installation of separate drivers. The downside was that a corrupt system driver could cause all input devices to simultaneously fail.
A component of Microsoft's DirectX gaming engine, DirectInput was developed to allow HID-compliant devices like joysticks and racing wheels to easily function with computer games without separate drivers.