Understanding User Interfaces (UIs)

What are User Interfaces (UIs)? User Interfaces are a means in which people control software applications or hardware devices. An excellent user interface is “user-friendly.” In other words, it allows the user to interact with the software or hardware naturally and intuitively.

Explaining About User Interfaces

Almost all software programs include UIs or  GUIs (graphical user interfaces). In other words, the program has graphical controls. These graphical controls enable the users to select using the keyboard or with a mouse.

Typically, a software program’s GUI has a toolbar, buttons, windows, menu bar, and more controls. Software programs like Web browsers and word processors have almost the same interfaces. In addition to this, they provide clients a consistent user experience across different software applications.

Most hardware devices also include a user interface, though it is typically not as complicated as a software interface. A typical example of a hardware device with a user interface is a remote control. A standard TV remote has a numeric keypad, volume and channel buttons, mute and power buttons, an input selector, and other buttons that perform various functions. This set of buttons and the way they are laid out on the controller make up the user interface. Other devices, such as digital cameras, audio mixing consoles, and stereo systems, also have a user interface.

While user interfaces can be designed for either hardware or software, most are a combination of both.

Types of User Interfaces


GUIs refer to graphical user interfaces. It enables feedback from users on the performance or accomplishment of the tasks it provides. This continuous feedback makes changes or updates in operation quick and fast. Hence, without allowing error messages to occur.

Form-Fill Interfaces (Input/Output Forms)

Form-fill interfaces consist of onscreen forms or Web-based forms, displaying fields containing data items or parameters that need to be communicated to the user. The form often is a facsimile of a paper form already familiar to the user. This interface technique is also known as a form-based method and input/output form.

Natural-Language Interfaces

This type of interface is popular among inexperienced users. In other words, it allows them to communicate with the computer using their natural, everyday language. Natural-Language Interfaces do not require computer language or special skills.


A menu interface appropriately borrows its name from the list of dishes that can be selected in a restaurant. Similarly, a menu interface provides the user with an on-screen list of available selections. The user need not know the system but does need to know what task should be accomplished. 

Command-Language Interfaces

A command-language interface allows the user to control the application with a series of keystrokes, commands, phrases, or some sequence of these three methods. 

Question-and-Answer Interfaces

Question-and-Answer Interfaces provides a display of questions for the users. In other words, the user must answer the question(s) to allow interaction with the computer. The computer acts or responds to the user’s action by advancing to the next question.

To Wind Up

Regardless of the application, the goal of an excellent user interface is to be user-friendly. After all, we all know how frustrating it can be to use a device that does not work the way we want it to.

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