Function Of Graphical User Interface Computer Science Essay

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This assignment is about Graphical User Interface. The function of graphical user interface is to allows users to interact with computer using images. It benefit to user to easy to use the computer because just a click of mouse then u can do a lot of activities on computer.

The content of this assignment is about history of Graphical User Interface that who created idea of Graphical User Interface? How the every computer improves and come out a better Graphical User Interface?

The content of this assignment also about technology of Graphical User Interface, which is the structure of graphical user interface: Windows, Menus, Icon and pointer. Besides that, the theoretical Background, which how they designed the graphical user interface with artificial design.

At the end of this assignment I will compare Graphical User Interface with Command-line and give some critical comment about Graphical User Interface in my conclusion.

Objective Of this Research

The objective of this research is to understand the Graphical User Interface that to know more information of the Graphical User Interface. Beside that to know how it transform form the most previous version of graphical user interface to now, which is more friendly-user. Because from the transform of Graphical User Interface, we can know more about how the technology at that time, and the creative thinking and idea they made and used it into improve the Graphical User Interface. It can be a reference or a motivation as they can come out a great idea in a lower technology era so we now in the high-tech era must come out a more better idea for future.

This research also for understand the structure of Graphical User Interface to know the basic component that a Graphical User Interface must have which is window, menus, icon and pointer. Beside that I also want to do research about what the theoretical background to design the graphical use interface, it is very important because it let us come out a more better interface for use interaction and can avoid the mistake that happen for the past.

History Of Graphical User Interface:

1.1: The Father Of Graphical User Interface


The father of graphical user interface - Douglas Englebart. In1948,Douglas Englebart was done his degree in electrical engineering and get a nice job at the NACA Institute. One day he had an epiphany that he want to work something that can bring benefit to all people, he recalled Bush's article entitled "As We May Think," and start thinking about the ways to make a machine that could augment human intellect.

In 1955,Douglas Englebart done his PhD and work in Stanford Research Institute. In 1962, Douglas published his seminal essay name "Augmenting Human Intellect." That argued the computers can provide the faster method to "increase the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems."

How Graphical User Interface Evolution

2.1: 1973Year

In 70s, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center(PARC) come out the first GUI. The first personal computer which used graphical user interface was Xerox Alto.


2.2: 1981-1985

Xerox 8010 Star(released in 1981)

The first system that content fully integrated desktop computer which is include applications and a Graphical User Interface. It was known as "The Xerox Star."


Apple Lisa Office System( Released in 1983)

Lisa OS, it was developed by Apple, but later was beat down by Apple's Macintosh operating system.


VisiCorp Visi On (released in 1984)

The first desktop's Graphical User Interface developed for the IBM PC was Visi On. It is special designed for big corporations and have a high price tag.


Mac OS System 1.0 (released in 1984)

The first operating system graphical use interface that created for the Macintosh was System 1.0. It had a number of features of a modern operating system, windows based with icons. The windows can be moved around just with the pointer device and files and folders can be copied by dropping and dragging on the target area.


Amiga Workbench 1.0 (released in 1985)

The GUI included features such as multi-state icons (selected and unselected), pre-emptive multitasking, colour graphics and stereo sound.


Windows 1.0x (released in 1985)

Microsoft come out the whole graphical user interface and come out Windows 1.0, its first GUI based operating system. This system featured 32Ã-32 color graphics and pixel icons and also the icon of the animated analog clock.


2.3: 1986 - 1990

IRIX 3 (released in 1986, first release 1984)

Based on UNIX, they come out the 64 bit IRIX operating system. Supporting for vector icons is one of the important of this version of Graphical User Interface.


Windows 2.0x (released in 1987)

In this version, the management of the windows had improved. It can done lot more action example like the windows could be minimized, resized, maximized and overlapped.


OS/2 1.x (released in 1988)

The GUI used in OS/2 was called "Presentation Manager". This version of the GUI only supported monochrome, fixed icons.


NeXTSTEP / OPENSTEP 1.0 (released in 1989)

In 1988, the first NeXT computer was released, and the NeXTSTEP 1.0 GUI release in 1989. The GUI's icons pixel was (48Ã-48) and it content more colors.


Windows 3.0 (released in 1990)

This version more improved, itself supported standard and 386 enhanced modes, which use higher memory capacity and hard disk space, so it able to use higher screen resolutions and great graphics.


OS/2 2.0 (released in 1992)

The first Graphical User Interface that was subjected to usability, international approval and accessibility testing. Object-oriented design used for developed the entire Graphical User Interface. Every folder and file was an object which could be linked with other files, applications and folders. It also supported templates, drag and drop functionality.


Windows 98 (released in 1998)

This version of icon styles were almost same as Windows 95, but more than 256 can use in for whole Graphical User Interface for rendering. Windows Explorer was almost completely and the time "active desktop" come out for the first time.


Mac OS X (released in 2001)

In the early year of 2000, Apple come out a new Aqua interface and in 2001, Apple released the interface with their brand new operating system named Mac OSX.

macosx101 (1).png

Windows XP (released in 2001)

Microsoft come out the Windows XP. The Graphical User Interface itself is skinnable, users can design the interface outlook. The size of icons were 48 x 48 by default, and it content in millions of colours.


Technical Of Graphical User Interface

Graphical User Interface Structural Elements

3.1: Window

Window is an area on the screen that displays information, with its contents being displayed independently from the rest of the screen. It is very users-friendly especially for manage the windows: it can be hidden and shown by a click of mouse on the icon or application, and by dragging it you can moved it to any area. Windows can be placed behind or in front of other windows. The size of the window can be change, and navigate the inside with scrollbar. Multiple windows can be open at a time. This feature is very useful especially when working in a multitasking environment, but system memory is limited the number of windows that can be opened at a time.

Types of specialty windows:

Container Window  is a window that opened while invoke the icon of a directory or mass storage device or folder and which is presenting an ordered list of other icons that could be over some other data files or executable programs..

Bowser window allows the user to move backwards and forward through a sequence of web pages or documents. 

Text terminal is a windows that make interaction with text user interfaces 

Dialog box or Message window is a type of basic window that are opened by a program for display information to the user or get information from the user. Normally, there have a button to be click before the program can be continued.

3:2 Menus

Menus allow user to perform orders by selecting from a list of choices. Choices are selected with a pointing device within a Graphical User Interface, if able, keyboard may also be used.

Menu bar is normally displayed at the top of the screen or windows with horizontally across. A pull-down menu is normally related with this menu type. The pull-down menu will appear when a user clicks on a menu option. A menu has a visible title. When the user selects it with mouse or a pointer device, its contents will revealed. Within the pull-down menu, the user is able to select the items. The content of the menu will disappear when the user clicks anywhere of the screen.

3:3 Icons

An icon is a picture that represents objects such as a program, web page, command, or file. They are a quick way to run programs, execute commands, and open documents.

3:4 Interaction elements

Interaction elements are interface objects that represent the state of an ongoing operation or transformation, either as visual remainders of the user intent example like the pointer


A cursor is an image used to show the position on computer monitor that respond to input from a pointing device or text input.


The pointer echo movements based on the pointing device.


A selection is a action that user choose something from a list.

Adjustment handle

A handle is an indicator of a for a drop and drag operation. Usually the shape of pointer will be changed when placed on the handle, to announced the user it support drag operation.

Theoretical Background

This theoretical background is done by some researcher, they found that to design a good Graphical User Interface there have some basic psychological factors that need to consider. Three primary contributing human factors are Gestalt Principle, the limits of absolute memory, and the physical limits of visual acuity.

Visual Acuity

Visual acuity is about the details that able of the eye to resolve .The retina of eye can only focus on a very small area of a screen, at any one time. This is because, visual acuity will decreases by half when it distance greater than 2.5 degrees from the point of fixation. So, the thing that user able to see clearly is a circle of radius 2.5 degrees around the point of fixation.

In the Graphical User Interface world, this rule named the rule of 1.7, which mean at a normal viewing distance of 19 inches, 5 degrees translates into about 1.7 inches. Let assume on a format for a standard screen, 1.7 inches is an area about 14 characters wide and about 7 lines high, this is the total of information that a user able to resolve in at any one time, and it is limits the effective menus, dialogs boxes, size of icons, and some other else.

Information Limits

Once the user has a desired the fixation point, there will some limit to the amount of information that a person able to process in a time. A Graphical User Interface design rule is the range of options or choices should never ever be more than six. According "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two" by George A. Miler, he showed that this is the limitation for a user to resolve. Miller introduces a concept of recoding as a method that people for store information. Miller said that if expanding the identification criteria from one to more dimensions it will make a people might handle more choices and remember more. Later researchers expanded on Miller's recoding concept to develop another concept that people put the information together to remember more information. This concept given a big impact on graphical user interface design, especially the number of menu items and icons there need to design to put.

Gestalt Principle

The Gestalt Principle is about the method of top-down approach used by user to organizing data. The Graphical User Interface designers of Gestalt school of are trying to find that criteria cause people to group certain items together in a display.

The top-down approach also allows features that development of emergent. An emergent feature is a global property of a set that is not clear when one views each item nearby. Since global processing normally automatic, one can argue that an emerged feature it help a user reduces the attention demand as operates a multi-element display.

Opinion Comments For Graphical User Interface

Advantages Of Graphical User Interface

Less skill

This type of user interface is easy to use, especially for a beginner, most anybody can use a computer with a well designed Graphical User Interface, so from the previous computers that only benefit to the technically savvy and highly paid expert changed to benefit for almost everyone. 


Graphical User Interface systems able the user to multitasking by multiple open applications and transition between them with just a click of the mouse. This is important when come to a situation that needs a copy and paste from one application to another. This feature is benefit to businesspeople and students when their doing their document that need inside a integrate graphs or spreadsheets.


Graphical User Interface systems provide a good visual environment with visual to work on the computer, which makes graphical user interface a desirable feature for most end-users. The visual component also improved the learning. Users can direct see the results of actions they take inside an application.


The speed for user to use computer is more faster because in graphical user interface all control can done just with a click from mouse then will get instant feedback on their actions. Example when need quite a program, u just need to click "x" usually at top right of programs.

Disadvantages Of Graphical User Interface

System Resources

Graphical information require more memory resources than a non-graphical one, as example the sizes of a word documents normally measured in kilobytes, and image files, normally measured in megabytes. So that. Graphical User Interface systems need a large size of memory and fast processors to display the images and manipulate them interactively.


Less control over the operating and file systems of a graphical user interface user comparable command line interface system, but this statement are only apply fro specialists.

Lack of Scripting Capabilities

With a Graphical User Interface, there is no way to directly cause a serius of computer-wide events to operate at once. You cannot easily create system events. But in command prompt, you can enter scripts that cause events to operate on your computer at certain times.


Command line

Graphical User Interface


New users have to use a long time to memorization the command for able to operate a command line interface.

The time for a user to learn the graphical user interface is shorter than command line cause they can done the action just with a click of mouse.


In a command line interface, user have much control of their operating system and file system.

Graphical user interface can do a lot control but for advanced tasks for operate system still need a command line.


They do not able to view multiple things on one screen in command line interface.

Graphical user interface users have windows that enable a user to control, manipulate multiple things, and view at once and is much faster to navigate when compared with a command line.


A command line users only use the keyboards to navigate a command line interface.

A GUI may be easier to use because of the mouse.


A command line interface user can script a serius of commands to execute a program or perform a task.

Although a user of Graphical User Interface can create tasks, shortcuts, or other similar actions, but it does not even come close in comparison to a command line.

Command line Vs Graphical User Interface


The goal of Graphical User Interface is to allow the user to focus on the task at hand. To do this, the Graphical User Interface must make the interface between the computer and human. The Graphical User Interface also make user easy to learn and use the computer rather than using computer with Commands line.

Besides that, Design a Graphical user Interface also have to refer to the three primary human factors that directly which are visual acuity, the limits of absolute memory, and the grouping of information, it very important because the it able for creator to create a graphical user interface more suitable and really help a human to learn and work. By using of these factors result in Graphical User Interface design principles that manage the amount of information for present, a best way to group those information, and the proper placement and sequencing of this information on the screen. A good Graphical User Interface should present information that is contextual and consistent.

At the end, Graphical User Interface are benefit to user, and lead the world into a electronic era.