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Graphical User Interface Essay

2033 words - 8 pages

Modern society heavily depends on the abilities of computers, information processing, and Information Technology. As such, since access to information occurs mainly through digital means and media, the way information is arranged and presented is crucial. Because this need for fast access and easy arrangement arose, software companies started to work on various graphical user interfaces (or GUI for short). Dictionaries define a GUI as a way of arranging information on a computer screen that is easy to understand, through the use of icons, menus and a mouse, not only text. Introducing such software allowed a human-computer interaction on an elaborated visual plane, and took computing to an entirely new level of experience. The first GUI started to emerge, in the early 1980s, and within the last 3 decades have completely dominated the way human-computer communication occurs. It is acknowledged that the first company to use a proper graphical user interface for home use was Apple. In 1984 they released a computer, which used boxes and taskbars, and a pointer device, known as the mouse. Following this event, other companies started releasing GUI based operating systems, and eventually, in 1995 Microsoft presented Windows 95, which soon became a dominant power on the market, and along with its later installments, led Microsoft to be the IT giant of the 20th century. Since its appearance, the GUI has greatly influenced the IT-centered society, together with the role computing and digital devices play in its growth, and there are several arguments to support that.
First of all, abstract thinking is not intuitive, and it can be hard for some people. Even nowadays, it is hard to imagine shopping online without simply clicking on the ‘Buy’ button and filling a form. However, before graphical user interfaces became a standard, computers were controlled through the means of a text-based interface. This meant that a person had to enter text commands to interact with the device. Resulting, one had to know various commands that could be entered and specific, technical jargon that – for a ‘normal person’, not proficient in the art of computing – was simply hard, or even impossible, to comprehend and memorize. On top of that, the data displayed on the screen was usually presented in the form of a column of text, employing the aforementioned jargon and syntax of ‘computer language’, hence, computers were rather reserved for enthusiasts and professionals than the public, which at that time didn’t find them useful or attractive.
When an operating system that focused on presenting information in a graphical way appeared, a revolution took place. Suddenly, a common person – even one, that has never dealt with such a device before - could approach a computer, and be actually able to perform operations on it, additionally, using a pointer device instead of typing complicated commands on a keyboard. If he wanted to move a file from one place to another, he would...

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