Graphical User Interface:How Does GUI Work?


graphical user interface – Google Search The graphical user interface is a form of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and audio indicator such as primary notation, instead of text-based user interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation

What is GUI example?

Some popular, modern graphical user interface examples include Microsoft Windows, macOS, Ubuntu Unity, and GNOME Shell for desktop environments, and Android, Apple’s iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows 10 Mobile, Palm OS-WebOS, and Firefox OS for smartphones.

What is GUI? | How It Works? | Need & Uses with Examples & Advantages

How Does GUI Work?

The uses of a pointer that serves as navigation to interact with different visually appealing Graphical icons. Abstraction is a major concept that has been used in a GUI os. Users can use the pointer to click on the icon, which initiates a series of actions. Normally an application or functionality will get started. Then the user will have to provide input or tasks to generate the desired action from the machine. The GUI actually translates user language, which comprises simple one-line commands, single click and double clicks to machine language or assembly language. The machine understands machine language, and hence the machine responds to the task initiated, which is translated to use language and communicated to the user via GUI.

Types of user interface

Communication between a user and a computer is two-way. One of the jobs of the operating system is to provide a ‘user interface’, so that a human can communicate with the hardware that makes up a computer. When you buy a piece of software, it too will have a user interface, so that you can access and use the software. A user will give data and instructions to a computer and a computer will give information back to a user. The way that a computer and a user communicate is known as the interface. There are alternative terms to describe this. Another common term is the Human-Computer Interface, also known as the HCI. If you are going to describe the interface fully, you need to talk about the input devices, the software interface and the output devices. In this section, we will concentrate on the nature of the software interface. We will describe the different types of software interface that you might find as part of an operating system and identify their characteristics. 

There are five different types of interface that might come with an operating system. These are:

  1. Graphical User Interfaces (GUI)
  2. Command Line Interfaces (CLI)
  3. Form-based interfaces
  4. Menu-based interfaces
  5. Natural language interfaces.

We can summarise the five types of interface using a diagram.  Interface

Graphical User Interfaces (GUI)
Interfaces that are graphical in nature are known either as Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) or WIMP interfaces (Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointer). Typically, you would expect these types of interfaces to be available in multi-tasking environments (where you open and use more than one piece of software at a time) or in applications software that involve a considerable degree of complexity. You will all have used a GUI hundreds of times, when you used Windows, or Word, or a Star Office application, or Paint in primary school, or Explorer or FireFox to surf the web and so on. Each of these applications has its own window that it opens up into, and you can open up more than one window (and therefore more than one application) at a time. Only one application is ‘active’ at any one time. In Windows, you know which one is active because the active window has a bright blue bar at the top of the window, as opposed to a dimmed blue bar. There are also icons you can click on for fast access to the tools in the application. There are drop-down menus that ensure you don’t have hundreds of options constantly on display, taking up room on the screen. The pointer is usually a mouse or a finger on touchscreens although graphic designers and engineers often prefer to use a tablet and stylus for pointing. A mouse or tablet / stylus combination ensures that you can make selections quickly rather than having to use a keyboard, which is slower and prone to mistakes.

To summarise, you would typically expect to find the following in a GUI or WIMP user interface:

  • A ‘window’ for each open application. Many windows can be open at the same time but only one window can be active at any one time. There may be some way of indicating which one is active (perhaps by making the bar at the top of the active window bright blue).
  • Menus and icons. Available functions can be selected in one of two ways, either by using pop-up menus or drop-down menus, or by clicking on ‘icons’. An icon is simply a small picture that represents a specific function – clicking on it selects that function.
  • A pointing device, to make selections. It is typically a mouse, a graphics tablet and pen or a finger on touchscreens. The use of a keyboard to navigate through the application is minimised because it is a relatively time-consuming way of working.

Companies who make different applications usually try to keep a common ‘feel’ to the interface in each application. This helps users who are familiar with one application to quickly pick up a new application designed by the same company. When you learnt Excel, for example, you didn’t have to learn how to open, close and save a file, how to insert a picture, change the font and so on because you were probably already familiar with Word; both Excel and Word are made by the same company, Microsoft.


7 Key Benefits of Graphical User Interface

The benefits of effective user interface design are myriad, but here are 7 of the most compelling.

Advantage #1 – GUIs enable interaction through clarity and control

The primary objective of every GUI is to deliver the kind of clarity that will allow its users to rapidly begin engaging and interacting with it in meaningful ways. This doesn’t mean that GUIs cannot be designed to introduce a sense of mystery and intrigue, but it is essential to avoid confusion.


Well, because clarity inspires confidence, and confidence inspires additional engagement.

Remember, a single cluttered screen will always be considerably less effective than fifty crystal clear screens with an obvious motivation and purpose. As humans, we seek out comfortable environments that we can control and we don’t always respond well to being forced to perform a task in an overtly prescriptive way. So, with this in mind, one of the primary benefits of good user interface design is that it can be shaped to ensure that users remain in control of their experience every step of the way.

Oh, and if you are at all concerned about stating the obvious…don’t be. Seemingly obvious things are almost never obvious to all and in most situations, delivering as much insight as possible will always be appreciated.

Advantage #2 – Effective GUIs facilitate a seamless user journey

Most online interactions are not meant to be final and should instead facilitate and actively promote progression. By designing an effective user interface, you should find it possible to deliver seamless user journeys that consistently support logical next steps and encourage additional interaction in the process.

In simple terms, this means that when a user does something that you want them to do, don’t leave them hanging. Provide them with an additional logical next step that will help them to achieve their objectives.

Are you currently wondering how your interface can achieve this successfully?

Building on a variety of design disciplines is an excellent place to start, from typography and copy to information architecture and graphic design. Great GUIs use the best qualities of every discipline to shape an interface that helps your business to continue to move forward and ensures that your audience finds it simple to achieve their objectives during every visit.

Advantage #3 – Good GUI design can be shaped to anticipate audience needs

Of course, the greatest interface is no interface at all, but what exactly do we mean by that?

Being human means that we have the ability to directly interact with an array of physical objects within a familiar material environment. These interactions are often things that we do every day, so we understand the parameters of these experiences. As such, we find them simple, seamless and enjoyable.

But of course, we cannot interact with things online in the same way as we do in ‘real life’ and this is where interfaces come into play.

Interfaces exist to help users to interact with non-physical things within the digital space. The very best GUIs deliver intuitive and enjoyable experiences that have been designed for a very specific intended audience.

This level of specificity ultimately improves the usability and efficiency of the design by enabling the integration of relevant features that your users will want to use, such as voice control, gestural interaction and intuitive navigational structures.

Tailoring GUI design to the intended audience will improve key engagement metrics and enhance the overall likability and practicality of what you are offering to the people you most want to impress.

After all, the reason intuitive interfaces exist at all is to facilitate meaningful interactions with your content.

With all this in mind, one of the primary advantages of user interface design is the ability to ensure that every screen supports a single action that will deliver genuine value to the user. Screens that directly support more than one action can very quickly become confusing or unnecessarily complicated. Screens with a single clear purpose will always deliver tangible value and facilitate meaningful interactions.

Advantage #4 – GUIs capture attention, and keep it

We exist in a time of almost constant distractions and one of the core benefits of user interface design is its ability to use hyper-engaging visual elements to capture and hold a user’s attention for an extended period of time.

Purposefully avoiding the integration of redundant features and inclusion of extraneous information will result in a visually striking and highly functional GUI. An effective interface will remove the temptation to over-explain everything and instead help you to disclose information only when it is necessary.

This is important because:

Maintaining a focus on clear communication always results in a design that presents information in the simplest and most user-friendly way possible.

BUT this level of visual engagement gets even better.

GUIs can also provide users with instant visual clues and feedback which communicates that the action they have just taken has been registered effectively.

What does this mean in practical terms?

If a small animation appears on the screen when a user enters their email address to sign up for a mailing list, they will immediately understand that they have been signed up successfully and should expect to receive future communications from your site in their inbox.

Remember, audiences like reassurances, even when they are delivered in seemingly subtle ways.

Advantage #5 – GUIs deliver consistency . . . consistently

We particularly like things that behave in ways we can anticipate. We find it easy to develop a positive relationship with things that meet our expectations and well-designed GUIs incorporate elements that outwardly look as they will behave.

This means that users should be able to reasonably assume that if they click on a button that says ‘home’, they will be taken to a homepage that contains the type of information that one would expect to find on this type of webpage.

This core foundation of interaction is something that you cannot afford to get too creative with. Remember, sometimes an element needs to, and therefore should, behave in a completely predictable manner.

Advantage #6 – GUIs foreground storytelling and organisation with visual hierarchies

Fun fact: one of the least noticed design elements is actually one of the most integral. So, let’s jump into a few reasons why the development of a first-class visual hierarchy can transform your entire interface.

The establishment of a clear visual hierarchy helps to guide the eye through all the information contained on a page, which aids storytelling and creates a sense of harmony and balance. When a visual hierarchy appears out of sync, it almost always weakens a design.

Smart organisation will reduce the cognitive load placed on your users by removing the requirement for them to have to think about the connections between each element. Why? Because you have already done all the hard work for them. Your users should not be forced to figure everything out on their own, so give them those important visual clues by signposting important relationships and connections within your interface.

This might sound like a lot of work for something your users won’t necessarily notice, but this is what you should be aiming to achieve.

If you take one key takeaway from this section, let it be this:

Your users shouldn’t necessarily be consciously aware of how they are interacting with information, but it should be easy and seamless.

Advantage #7 – Effective GUIs heighten engagement with integrated contextualised clues

Colour is integral to good design but a well-designed user interface will help you to avoid relying too heavily on colour to differentiate between each core element on a page.

This is important because when you have the freedom to use colour solely to guide user attention and to highlight particularly important elements, the communication of key messaging becomes more effective.

Critically though, these contextualised clues can work much harder than just facilitating more effective communication by also ensuring that assistance is in-built and accessible whenever it is needed by users.

Your interface should NOT require your users to know in advance the kind of assistance they need before they visit a dedicated ‘help’ section to find the answer to their query. Instead, built-in assistance can be designed to appear when it is relevant and required to enhance the experience of every visitor. With the ability to boost conversions in the process, anticipating user needs is something that can deliver considerable benefits in the long term.

In short, the advantages of customised GUI design are myriad and it is not an overstatement to say that this can revolutionise the digital landscape for the better.

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