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Graphical User Interface: A Complete Understanding

Are you an early bird that goes jogging with an MP3 player clipped on your shirt? Or with a smartwatch that monitors your health? I bet there is a smartphone in almost everyone’s hand that keeps us informed and entertained in every walk of life. Many of us would use computers in our office to get our tasks done. Are you a techno-freak using Alexa or Google Assistance? If these kinds of electronic devices dominate your days, you are probably not new to the term Graphical User Interface. Let’s not take this unrivalled technology for granted. Gear up to learn some exciting things about it.

What is the Graphical User Interface (GUI)?

First, are you wondering what a user interface is? In simple words, it is how a human can communicate with a computer. We always need a user interface to communicate our commands to a device in a method that a machine would understand. As a curious reader, when you decided to learn about the Graphical User Interface, you had typed the text, either the website name or the keyword, in a browser, then clicked the result using a mouse pointer. Finally, here you are reading the content by scrolling the screen up and down. All of these are possible because of a graphical user interface in the form of windows, buttons or icons. Instead of using text-based command lines as in Command-Line Interfaces (CLI), just a few clicks and scrolls achieves the desired task making the device usage more interactive. 

The interface can either be in the form of icons or audio indicators that makes it user friendly to navigate. For this reason, the graphical user interface is not just limited to computers. Still, this technology finds application in smartphones, gaming devices, media players and many more household smart gadgets, industrial and health monitoring devices. 

Designing a user interface

When you are a new smartphone user, what would you look for in a mobile store? What would you enquire about a mobile phone to a dealer? You would want the smartphone model to have all the essential features but still expect it to be user-friendly. Am I right? The ease of using a new device involves a lot of logical design in software programming that would make human interaction with the gadget more accessible and meaningful.

For instance, once we have a new smartphone in our hand, we would want to personalize the screen appearance such as wallpaper, themes, fonts, etc.  An intelligent graphical interface design will aid the user to customize the window appearance to our preferences. Such interface designing is called “user-centred design.” These interface designs range from simple actions like moving a file or a folder in a computer or a tablet to creating a new website! 

Probing into UX and UI designs

What is UX designing?

Have you ever wondered why we get a fascinating and engaging experience using smartphones or tablet devices? This encounter is mainly because of conceptual UX designing. UX stands for User Experience design which is a multi-dimensional concept. The UX design aims to improve customer satisfaction through the ease of use and interactive nature provided by the product. It weaves ideas like usability, information architecture, designing interaction and visual methods. 

Can we imagine playing a video game without sound effects? How would it be to play a game on a smartphone without tactile feedback? The visual, audio effects, tactile feedback, etc., together contribute to the immense pleasure one gets in a gaming device. A UX developer must have a vision of how the user would feel using a specific platform or an application. So, developing the UX according to the needs of an end-user becomes beneficial for both the user and the developer.

What is UI designing?

UI or User Interface is the application view from the front-end through which the user can interact with the application. The UI design can be in graphical, text or video form allowing the user to control and manipulate hardware and software. 

Do you remember the old cellular phones bigger in size, bulky and with button controls? Realize how mobile phones have evolved into smartphones over the years! Thanks to the innovation in UI designs for such remarkable accomplishments. While UX designing focuses on the user’s impression, UI concentrates on the product. UI forms the guidelines behind the style and appearance of a product or application.

Innovative applications of graphical interface designs

Designing a GUI involves an application-specific approach. Here are some familiar places where we come across the usage of exceptional UX design and UI design in our daily life:

  • An Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
  • Unified Payment Interfaces (UPI)
  • Self-ticketing and self-check-in machines at the airports
  • Restaurants with touchscreen facilities for placing orders
  • Convenience stores with self-check-outs
  • Information Kiosks in public places
  • Touchscreen displays in tablets and phones with multi-touch operations

And a lot more.

Aniket Agarwal