User Interfaces

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Graphical User Interface

A graphic user interface is the most commonly used type of interface, including windows, icons, menus and pointers, as well as basic functions users will be familiar with, such as the standard left-click (to select) , right-click (for information) and double-click (to load). Examples where a GUI is used, is in operating systems such as Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows

Advantages

  • It is simple to use and allows users to work quickly
  • In general, it looks more professional and attractive
  • Users have the ability to multitask, as they can open up multiple applications at the same time

Disadvantages

  • The large loading time for certain applications/functions mean it is slower than other interfaces for programmers to use
  • Advanced users may not be able to carry out all the functions they require on a GUI interface
  • Uses up a lot of hard disk space 
  • Requires a large amount of memory (RAM) to run
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Menu- driven Interfaces

A menu driven-interface requires the user to select various options from a list of choices available. They are often used on mobile devices and ATMs

Advantages

  • They are easy for the user to use, because they do not need to remember a set of commands
  • It is simple for users to navigate through steps
  • Menu interfaces don't neccessarily need to be visual; they are often used on phones which can be benefitial for visually impaired people
  • They don't require a large amount of processing memory

Disadvantages

  • If the menu is poorly designed it can be slow to use and may include too many options which can confuse the user
  • Users can get bored/annoyed if there are too many menu screens to work through
  • Users have to work through various steps even if they know where they want to get to, which can be very tedious
  • The menu may take up a large amount of screen space so users must continuously flick back and forth through applications
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Command-line interfaces

A command line interface allows the user to type specific commands into the computer system so it can carry out various functions. It is often used by experts, as they require considerable knowledge.

Advantages

  • It is a much faster interface in comparison to others
  • It doesn't require much RAM
  • It does not use as much CPU processing time than other interfaces
  • Only a low resolution, cheap monitor is required
  • It doesn't require an operating system to run

Disadvantages

  • It can be extremely confusing for a beginner user
  • Commands must be precise, because a small error the command will not work and if an instruction is mis-typed, the user must start from scratch
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