A user interface
|“||specifies the conventions for communication between the user and the computer program.||”|
|“||[is t]he physical or logical means by which users interact with a system, device or process.||”|
There are a number of different kinds of user interfaces:
- The command language inteface is where the user issues commands to the computer through typed commands. If the program is used infrequently, it may be difficult for the user to remember the commands and how they can be used together to perform more complex tasks.
- A menu-based interface avoid this problem by displaying the command options on a screen; the user can then issue a command by pressing a key indicated as corresponding to a particular menu option, or by moving a cursor on the screen until the appropriate selection is highlighted. Newer interfaces make use of graphics and icons.
- The graphical interface, characteristic of windowing programs, presents the user with a visual representation of some metaphor, such as a desktop, and allows the user to control not only menu choices but also the size, layout, and contents of one or more on-screen windows or working areas.
- ↑ Finding a Balance: Computer Software, Intellectual Property, and the Challenge of Technological Change, at 18.
- ↑ NIST Special Publication 800-152, at 137.