An interface is where any two systems meet; the user interface is the place where the user and the computer system meet. A prompt is a message that indicates the point or purpose of the input and is produced by the computer. A parameter refers to additional information required for a command.
HCI - Human Computer Interaction
Human computer interaction (HCI) covers many fields including computer science, engineering and psychology. Based on studies of how people interact with existing interfaces, HCI is used to design user-friendly systems. Effective use of HCI techniques can create a system that can be used by non ICT specialists and experts alike. HCI plays a part in the design of all interfaces between people and computers, whether that interface is to a PC, VCR, power plant safety system or even a digital watch.
GUI - Graphics User Interface
A Graphics User Interface (GUI) is not text based. It uses Windows – pull down menus, buttons, scroll bars, icons, wizards, a mouse and multimedia elements. It operates under the statement ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG). An application can be opened using an icon or shortcut, navigating to the name of the application in the menu or the use of a hot key/function key.
CLI, Wizard, Form
A Command Line Interface (CLI) is a text based command that is keyed into a prompt. There is a set of valid commands and the commands may have parameters.
A wizard driven interface guides the user through the relevant process by controlling the order of data entry providing defaults which the user can accept or change.
A form driven interface has a layout that matches the physical forms used in applications with instructions etc… Appropriate validation checks may be applied.
Natural language interface
A natural language interface allows the user to interact using written ‘human’ language instead of computer language and commands associated with specific tasks. Verbs or phrases are used to instigate functionality e.g. creating, selecting, modifying data. Drawbacks of natural language interface are that it can be difficult to implement effectively due to unpredictability, ambiguity or variations in a person’s voice, it can be time consuming to calibrate, it may only work for a single user and it may not function correctly due to misunderstood commands.
Human perception and human memory
Human perception which is a past experience which influences how humans perceive objects and human memory which is how humans store, retain and recall information both short and long term. Human interaction can be effected by ergonomic factors such as furniture or computer equipment.