Graphical user interface

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A graphical user interface (GUI), often pronounced gooey,[1] is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with programs in more ways than typing such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices; household appliances and office equipment with images rather than text commands. A GUI offers graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation to fully represent the information and actions available to a user. The actions are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical elements.[2]

The term GUI is historically restricted to the scope of two-dimensional display screens with display resolutions capable of describing generic information, in the tradition of the computer science research at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The term GUI earlier might have been applicable to other high-resolution types of interfaces that are non-generic, such as videogames, or not restricted to flat screens, like volumetric displays.[3]




A precursor to GUIs was invented by researchers at the Stanford Research Institute, led by Douglas Engelbart. They developed the use of text-based hyperlinks manipulated with a mouse for the On-Line System. The concept of hyperlinks was further refined and extended to graphics by researchers at Xerox PARC, who went beyond text-based hyperlinks and used a GUI as the primary interface for the Xerox Alto computer. Most modern general-purpose GUIs are derived from this system. As a result, some people[who?] call this class of interface a PARC User Interface (PUI) (note that PUI is also an acronym for perceptual user interface).[4]

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