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GUI (pronounced goo-ee) is an acronym for graphical user interface. A graphical user interface is the way a computer receives commands and responds graphically with colorful pictures and fonts, rather than with all text and numbers. A GUI would include many objects that compare a computer program with real life, such as buttons, pull-down menus, file folders, and small pictures (icons) that represent programs. A mouse is usually used rather than typing to select objects you want to modify or open. On the other side of the spectrum is a text interface, where every program is represented by a word or phrase. People found out quickly that many words are hard to remember, so a graphical interface was created so you didn’t have to always remember the exact name of your program, it can be represented by a picture and title so you can easily access it.

A GUI is said to have started in 1945 with a man named Vanaver Bush. He first thought up the idea and predicted that users would soon have an easier way to explore a computer. Douglas Engelbart and many scientists worked on these ideas during the ‘50s. They made a few progressions but one of the most memorable was the mouse, a device with buttons that you rolled around to move a corresponding pointer on the screen. In 1973 a computer called the Xerox Alto came out. This computer was one of the first personal computers and also to use pictures and overlapping windows. Later came the Macintosh Apple, which successfully implemented a very user-friendly graphic interface. Microsoft was realizing that a graphical interface was the most effective operating system, so they developed Windows. The first versions were very poor, but eventually Windows became very easy to use and therefore more popular. Macintosh and Microsoft have been doing battle for a long time in court over Windows’ similarity to Macintosh’s OS.

Most people with IBMs now primarily use a version of Windows, and Apple fans a Mac OS. These two have stood out over the years as the simplest and most pleasing to users, mainly because they are pleasing to the eye and they use pictures to represent files. These operating systems let the user think of their computer as an element of life, rather than indulging in the nitty gritty of 0’s and 1’s and the complicated internal functions a computer must process. A GUI has been shown to be the most user-friendly and simplest medium between a person and their machine.


1997 Grolier’s Multimedia Encyclopedia

Internet- Ask Jeeves