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graphical user interface (GUI)

Graphical User Interface (GUI) is the term used to describe the graphical user interface that facilitates the operation of computers. The graphical user interface is part of the operating system and makes it easier for the user to call up application programs, services and functions.

Graphical user interfaces are clearly structured and use graphical control elements. These are usually self-explanatory icons that the user activates by clicking on them. On the desktop, for example, the icons have a direct association with the desktop. There are icons for folders, hard disks, compact discs (CD) or a recycle bin. Special functions such as drag-and-drop also make it easier to move files and folders, comparable to rearranging file folders in filing cabinets.

Icons on the Windows surface

Icons on the Windows surface

The same applies to smartphones, whose services Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or the many other messenger services are represented with their icons on the touch screen. As for the user programs, they include several functional areas, such as the menu bar, toolbar, function bar, status bar, taskbar and scroll bars. These bars contain specifications, commands or graphical icons that can be accessed by mouse click. The icons are directly related to administrative or technical/scientific activities.

Graphical user interface of a smartphone

Graphical user interface of a smartphone

The graphical user interface makes less demands on learning and memory, as well as on operating effort, than dealing with keypads and instruction inputs as required by the command-oriented user interface (CLI). It makes it easier for even inexperienced users to work with the computer.

International standards have prevailed for graphical user interfaces, primarily Windows from Microsoft and Macintosh from Apple for personal computers, and Message Oriented Transfer Integrated File (MOTIF) from the Open Software Foundation (OSF) for Unix computers. Toolkits and libraries are available for creating graphical user interfaces. These include the Gimp Toolkit (GTK/GTK+), PyGTK, which is based on the Pythonprogramming language, and PyQT and X11 for Unix.

The further development of the graphical user interface goes towards the Voice User Interface (VUI), the Natural User Interface (NUI) and the Conversational User Interface (CUI).

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Englisch: graphical user interface - GUI
Updated at: 02.09.2019
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