Graphical user interface: what is it and what are its uses?

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Catherine Le Nevez

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If you are curious about the world of computing and have heard the term GUI, it is normal to wonder what the GUI or graphical user interface and what is it for? Therefore we will tell you what it is all about quickly and completely.

Among the most important parts of a computer program is its graphical interface. Since it provides all the information for the correct use of the program or system in which you are working, and acts as a visual guide to give a feeling of comfort for those who use it, a depending on the system we are using we will have a more complex or simple interface. This can be greatly appreciated in the different versions of Linux, where each has visual differences.

What is the GUI?

La so called GUI , is the graphic part of an operating system or program. This is a vital part of computer programs, as well as operating systems, and it varies from one to another. This is easily evident when we use Linux, because each version of Linux has a different graphics section, which makes them unique from each other.

Usually when thinking of a GUI, A series of intuitive menus and objects come to mind , where we can know what the App has. In addition to identifying what each button or box is for. Its use has been increasingly necessary, so currently there are very few programs that do not include a graphical interface.

In addition, this interface has had a large number of variations, so every company or developer creates his own GUI. This is because it is a way to give personality and originality to the project. Companies like Microsoft and Apple are clear examples of unique graphical interfaces.

Cases like Windows they are special, since each version of its operating system has its own graphical interface. However, they all have a certain relationship to each other, so it's possible to make a recent version of Windows look like an old one or vice versa.

Most important GUI features

  • When used, provide great flexibility between input devices.
  • They have an ease of understanding in use and learning
  • They have high resolution screens for better handling and visibility.
  • Provides various visual responses to user actions.
  • They maintain an ergonomic design, with specific functions, bars and menus.
  • The immediate execution of the operations will be performed very effectively.
  • Contains elements considered standard interface, such as the menu.
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What elements should a graphical user interface have?

By itself, parts of a graphical interface may vary in each, so we usually don't find two alike unless they are plotted. The parts that compose them are mainly objects and bars.

In the case of bars, are widely used to place various icons for certain activities. Most of them also contain text, the content can also vary depending on their location. If they are at the beginning of a window they can express the name of the program.

And in the case of the buttons, there are many sizes and shapes , so it is common to see symbols or images that represent something in particular. An example of this can be the start button, which is often indicative of the system we are using.

What types of GUIs exist?

  • Natural language interface , allows you to maintain communication between people and machines, using a natural or everyday language, this means that it is not necessary as a requirement to have skills to control it.
  • Question and answer interface , this is one of the most used, in practice the computer on its screen generates a question and the user enters his answer.

What is the GUI used for in computer science?

The main goal of the GUI is to connect the user with the program, in a pleasant way that he can be understood by all the public. In other words, it is a way of interpreting the code contained in a program, or behind each of its functions.

This way, you don't need to have computer skills to use it, nor do you need to know how to read the programming code. The use it has in general is appreciated in operating systems, because if a system does not have at least one simple interface. This won't have much audience, it has been proven that the graphical interface can make the difference between a widely used system or not.

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In our daily life, we can see how independent users develop new GUIs, specially designed for a specific operating system. This can be useful if you are tired of always seeing your computer the same way.

GUIs are available for all computers, including low-end or older ones. An example of this is when installing a lightweight theme on Windows. Thus, the equipment can be much smoother and does not lose aesthetics.

Advantages and disadvantages of user interfaces

Among the advantages we have:

  • It makes it easier for us to manage some procedures that we are going to perform.
  • Each of the its commands can be visible on the screen through a specific representative image.
  • Contains control mechanisms such as dialogs and windows.
  • Allows for more efficient interaction between the user and the system .

Among the disadvantages:

  • Use more resources from that system.
  • They have a higher cost.

Requirements for creating a graphical user interface

  • Design oriented to a specific goal , this means that each of the pages to be created must have a good structure and, of course, each of the elements must maintain a completely clear function.
  • Always use simplicity , that is, choose designs that are simple and easy to understand.
  • Consistency , use various graphics and also that the components are well cohesive with each other.
  • One interface must also keep updates aside , this in case there are errors or changes.
  • Is very important use fonts of a suitable size , easy to understand, as well as the colors in the texts.

Steps to create a GUI from scratch

  • First of all, we must think about the experience the user should have , here you have to see the problem of interaction, to know what kind of design he likes.
  • Keep the design simple is the best option for creating a user interface from scratch, inserting features and elements that are only in the greatest possible need.
  • It's better place the labels next to the icons that we will use.
  • At the time of planning, even one is fine hierarchy visible to the user , and of course this design must be efficient.

How to create a graphical interface using Matlab

  • Mainly we need to start GUIDE , for this we can enter through the 'file' option in Matlab, clicking on 'new' and then on 'GUI'.
  • Next, we will be presented with a window or pop-up window, with various options, which corresponds to the GUI home page.
  • Then, we choose the design we will work with , where we will see quantities of buttons and labels to choose from.
  • Once our GUI is organized, using the graphic controls we can archive it and our work is done.
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How are the user interfaces of web pages

The interface of a web page, in itself, is the set of graphic elements that allow users to view the presentation of the website, and then to navigate it.

Usually the interfaces on these pages are fast and accurate , maintaining a standard design, so that access is much more convenient.

The interface on the web pages allows for better content quality , so that the interaction is smooth and successful. However, there are cases where some interfaces require so many resources from our browser, that we will end up with a frozen screen.

For the above, we can testify when we use some web applications, such as Facebook. Well, its interface is so complete and dynamic that it makes our experience a total comfort. Of course, this is only possible in cases where we have the necessary resources to be able to fully run this interface .

If not, the our experience will be rather disappointing . This is why some web applications have their "light" version for browsers with few resources. In the case of Facebook, we also have a very simple interface, where we can have a good experience on teams with few resources.

Some examples of a graphical user interface

  • Music players They are a great example of a graphical user interface, as they allow the use of various keys and also perform movements with the mouse or mouse.
  • Another example is when we step in web pages containing "captcha", it is also part of the interfaces.
  • The famous game 'Tetris' is another great example to better understand, as it is an application to have fun.
  • The file explorer , which contains various presentations, similar to the Windows explorer.
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