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Encyclopedia > User interface

The user interface (or Human Machine Interface) is the aggregate of means by which people (the users) interact with a particular machine, device, computer program or other complex tool (the system). The user interface provides means of: Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. ... Wind turbines The scientific definition of a machine is any device that transmits or modifies energy. ... A computer program is a collection of instructions that describe a task, or set of tasks, to be carried out by a computer. ... A modern hammer is directly descended from ancient hand tools A tool or device is a piece of equipment which typically provides a mechanical advantage in accomplishing a physical task, or provides an ability that is not naturally available to the user of a tool. ... For other uses, see System (disambiguation). ...

  • Input, allowing the users to manipulate a system
  • Output, allowing the system to produce the effects of the users' manipulation.

Contents

Input3 is the term denoting either an entrance or changes which are inserted into a system and which activate/modify a process. ... // Information processing In information processing, output is the process of transmitting information by an object (verb usage). ...

Introduction

To work with a system, the users need to be able to control the system and assess the state of the system. For example, when driving an automobile, the driver uses the steering wheel to control the direction of the vehicle, and the accelerator pedal, brake pedal and gearstick to control the speed of the vehicle. The driver perceives the position of the vehicle by looking through the windscreen and exact speed of the vehicle by reading the speedometer. The user interface of the automobile is on the whole composed of the instruments the driver can use to accomplish the tasks of driving and maintaining the automobile. “Car” and “Cars” redirect here. ... The Trikke is a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) This article is about the means of transport. ... Speedometer gauge on a car, showing the speed of the vehicle in miles and kilometres per hour on the out– and inside respectively. ... An Instrument is a tool, intended for a purpose other than mechanical work, in particular a refined one. ...


The term user interface is often used in the context of computer systems and electronic devices. The user interface of a mechanical system, a vehicle or an industrial installation is sometimes referred to as the human-machine interface (HMI). Yet another term used in "operator-interface console" (OIC). This article is about the engineering discipline. ... Wind turbines The scientific definition of a machine is any device that transmits or modifies energy. ...


HMI is a modification of the original term MMI (Man-Machine Interface). In practice, the abbreviation "MMI" is still frequently used although some who still use the term may claim that MMI stands for something different now (e.g. "Management and Manufacturing Information" or "Mammal-Machine Interface"), in order to avoid controversy.


Whether it is called MMI or HMI, the terms refer to the 'layer' that separates a human that is operating a machine from the machine itself.


In science fiction, HMI or MMI is sometimes used to refer to what is better described as direct neural interface. However, this latter usage is seeing increasing application in the use of (medical) prostheses-the artificial extension that replaces a missing body part (e.g., cochlear implants). Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A direct mind-computer interface or direct neural interface is literally that - a direct cybernetic link between a mind and a computer. ... A United States soldier demonstrates Foosball with two prosthetic limbs Jon Comer, Professional skateboarder, gets air with a prosthetic leg. ... Cochlear implants are hearing devices that can help people with certain kinds of hearing impairment or who are entirely deaf. ...


The system may expose several user interfaces to serve different kinds of users. For example, a computerized library database might provide two user interfaces, one for library patrons (limited set of functions, optimized for ease of use) and the other for library personnel (wide set of functions, optimized for efficiency). The tower of a personal computer. ... For other uses, see Library (disambiguation). ... This article is about computing. ...


In some circumstance computers might observe the user, and react according to their actions without specific commands. A means of tracking parts of the body is required, and sensors noting the position of the head, direction of gaze and so on have been used experimentally. This is particularly relevant to immersive interfaces. An immersive digital environment is an artificial, interactive, computer-created scene or world within which a user can immerse themselves. ...


Usability

The design of a user interface affects the amount of effort the user must expend to provide input for the system and to interpret the output of the system, and how much effort it takes to learn how to do this. Usability is the degree to which the design of a particular user interface takes into account the human psychology and physiology of the users, and makes the process of using the system effective, efficient and satisfying. All Saints Chapel in the Cathedral Basilica of St. ... Usability is a term used to denote the ease with which people can employ a particular tool or other human-made object in order to achieve a particular goal. ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, spirit, soul; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Usability is mainly a characteristic of the user interface, but is also associated with the functionalities of the product. It describes how well a product can be used for its intended purpose by its target users with efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction, also taking into account the requirements from its context of use. These functionalities or features are not always parts of the user interface (e.g. are you able to reverse with your car or not), yet they are key elements in the usability of a product.


See mental model, human action cycle, usability testing A mental model is an explanation in someones thought process for how something works in the real world. ... The human action cycle is a psychological model which describes the steps humans take when they interact with computer systems. ... Usability testing is a means for measuring how well people can use some human-made object (such as a web page, a computer interface, a document, or a device) for its intended purpose, i. ...


User interfaces in computing

In computer science and human-computer interaction, the user interface (of a computer program) refers to the graphical, textual and auditory information the program presents to the user, and the control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer keyboard, movements of the computer mouse, and selections with the touchscreen) the user employs to control the program. Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... // Human–computer interaction (HCI), alternatively man–machine interaction (MMI) or computer–human interaction (CHI), is the study of interaction between people (users) and computers. ... It has been suggested that Keystroke be merged into this article or section. ... Operating a mechanical 1: Pulling the mouse turns the ball. ... It has been suggested that Touch panel be merged into this article or section. ...


Types

Currently (as of 2005) the following types of user interface are the most common: 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • Graphical user interfaces (GUI) accept input via devices such as computer keyboard and mouse and provide articulated graphical output on the computer monitor. There are at least two different principles widely used in GUI design: Object-oriented user interfaces (OOUIs) and application oriented interfaces[verification needed].
  • Web-based user interfaces accept input and provide output by generating web pages which are transported via the Internet and viewed by the user using a web browser program. Newer implementations utilize Java, AJAX, Microsoft .NET, or similar technologies to provide realtime control in a separate program, eliminating the need to refresh a traditional HTML based web browser.

User interfaces that are common in various fields outside desktop computing: A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface which allows people to interact with a computer and computer-controlled devices which employ graphical icons, visual indicators or special graphical elements called widgets, along with text labels or text navigation to represent the information and actions available to... Graphic design is the applied art of arranging image and text to communicate a message. ... Nineteen inch (48 cm) CRT computer monitor A computer display, monitor or screen is a computer peripheral device capable of showing still or moving images generated by a computer and processed by a graphics card. ... An object-oriented user interface (OOUI) is a type of user interface. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A screenshot of a web page. ... An example of a Web browser (Konqueror) A Web browser is a software application that enables a user to display and interact with text, images, and other information typically located on a Web page at a website on the World Wide Web or a local area network. ... “Java language” redirects here. ... “AJAX” redirects here. ... Microsoft . ... Desktop computer with several common peripherals (Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone and a printer) A desktop computer is a computer made for use on a desk in an office or home and is distinguished from portable computers such as laptops or PDAs. ...

  • Command line interfaces, where the user provides the input by typing a command string with the computer keyboard and the system provides output by printing text on the computer monitor. Used for system administration tasks etc.
  • Tactile interfaces supplement or replace other forms of output with haptic feedback methods. Used in computerized simulators etc.
  • Touch interfaces are graphical user interfaces using a touchscreen display as a combined input and output device. Used in many types of industrial processes and machines, self-service machines etc.

Other types of user interfaces: This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... In computing, a command is a directive to a computer program acting as an interpreter of some kind, in order to perform a specific task. ... Tactition is the sense of pressure perception. ... This article is about haptic technology. ... A simulation is an imitation of some real device or state of affairs. ...

  • Attentive user interfaces manage the user attention deciding when to interrupt the user, the kind of warnings, and the level of detail of the messages presented to the user.
  • Batch interfaces are non-interactive user interfaces, where the user specifies all the details of the batch job in advance to batch processing, and receives the output when all the processing is done. The computer does not prompt for further input after the processing has started.
  • Conversational Interface Agents attempt to personify the computer interface in the form of an animated person, robot, or other character (such as Microsoft's Clippy the paperclip), and present interactions in a conversational form.
  • Crossing-based interfaces are graphical user interfaces in which the primary task consists in crossing boundaries instead of pointing.
  • Gesture interfaces are graphical user interfaces which accept input in a form of hand gestures, or mouse gestures sketched with a computer mouse or a stylus.
  • Intelligent User Interfaces are human-machine interfaces that aim to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and naturalness of human-machine interaction by representing, reasoning, and acting on models of the user, domain, task, discourse, and media (e.g., graphics, natural language, gesture).
  • Live User Interfaces (LUI) utilize the power of human interaction to leverage the user interface. With LUI a live customer service representative is able to navigate with the user through the interface, and show him images, maps and videoclips from within the website. He can also help the user to perform on-line purchases and complete complex forms with him.
  • Multi-screen interfaces, employ multiple displays to provide a more flexible interaction. This is often employed in computer game interaction in both the commercial arcades and more recently the handheld markets.
  • Noncommand user interfaces, which observe the user to infer his / her needs and intentions, without requiring that he / she formulate explicit commands.
  • Reflexive user interfaces where the users control and redefine the entire system via the user interface alone, for instance to change its command verbs. Typically this is only possible with very rich graphic user interfaces.
  • Tangible user interfaces, which place a greater emphasis on touch and physical environment or its element.
  • Text user interfaces are user interfaces which output text, but accept other form of input in addition to or in place of typed command strings.
  • Voice user interfaces, which accept input and provide output by generating voice prompts which are transported via a telephone network and heard by the user using a telephone. The user input is made by pressing telephone keys.
  • Zero-Input interfaces grab inputs from a set of sensors instead of querying the user with input dialogs.
  • Zooming user interfaces are graphical user interfaces in which information objects are represented at different levels of scale and detail, and where the user can change the scale of the viewed area in order to show more detail.

See also: The Attentive User Interfaces (AUI) are User Interfaces that manage the user attention deciding when to interrupt the user, the kind of warnings, and the level of detail of the messages presented to the user. ... It has been suggested that Neural mechanisms behind shifts of attention be merged into this article or section. ... Insert non-formatted text hereBatch processing is the execution of a series of programs (jobs) on a computer without human interaction, when possible. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... A spiral mouse gesture in the computer game Black and White. ... Modern stylus, used for touch-screen enabled devices such as the Nintendo DS and personal digital assistants Styli used in writing in the Fourteenth Century. ... Example of a LUI A live user interface (LUI, pronounced Loo-ee) is a type of user interface which allows people to interact with a computer and computer-controlled devices, utilizing the power of human interaction. ... Social interaction is a dynamic, changing sequence of social actions between individuals (or groups) who modify their actions and reactions due to the actions by their interaction partner(s). ... Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, consists of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. ... In human-computer interaction, a command verb is a word with special and specific meaning that appears in a user interface. ... Definition Tangible User Interface can be defined as an interface, which places a greater emphasis on touch and physical environment or its element between human and digital information. ... TUI (Text User Interface) is a retronym that was coined sometime after the invention of graphical user interfaces, to distinguish them from text based user interfaces. ... A Voice User Interface (VUI) is the term used to describe the interaction with computers though voice/speech platform in order initiate an automated service or process. ... The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the concatenation of the worlds public circuit-switched telephone networks, in much the same way that the Internet is the concatenation of the worlds public IP-based packet-switched networks. ... For other uses, see Telephone (disambiguation). ... Example of a ZUI In computing, a Zooming User Interface or ZUI is a graphic environment that allows users to interact with system objects. ...

  • Archy, a keyboard-driven user interface by Jef Raskin, arguably more efficient than mouse-driven user interfaces for document editing and programming.

Archy is a proposed radically new system for interacting with many kinds of computers. ... Jef Raskin outdoors, photographed by his son Aza Raskin. ... Computer programming (often simply programming) is the craft of implementing one or more interrelated abstract algorithms using a particular programming language to produce a concrete computer program. ...

History

The history of user interfaces can be divided into the following phases according to the dominant type of user interface:

  • Batch interface, 1945-1968
  • Command-line user interface, 1969-1983
  • Graphical user interface, 1981 to present — see History of the GUI for a detailed look
  • Tangible interfaces / Ubicomp

For further information, see the following external link: Chapter 2. History: A Brief History of User Interfaces Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays the 1981 Gregorian calendar). ... The graphical user interface, or GUI, is a computer interface that uses graphic icons and controls in addition to text. ... Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp, or sometimes ubiqcomp) integrates computation into the environment, rather than having computers which are distinct objects. ...


Modalities and modes

A modality is a path of communication employed by the user interface to carry input and output. Examples of modalities: In human-computer interaction, a modality is the general class of: a sense through which the human can receive the output of the computer (for example, vision modality) a sensor or device through the computer can receive the input from the human In less formal terms, a modality is a...

  • Input — computer keyboard allows the user to enter typed text, digitizing tablet allows the user to create free-form drawing
  • Output — computer monitor allows the system to display text and graphics (vision modality), loudspeaker allows the system to produce sound (auditory modality)

The user interface may employ several redundant input modalities and output modalities, allowing the user to choose which ones to use for interaction. A graphics tablet (or digitizing tablet) is a computer peripheral device that allows for a relatively simple method of inputing hand-drawn graphics or art into a computer in real time. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ...


A mode is a distinct method of operation within a computer program, in which the same input can produce different perceived results depending of the state of the computer program. Heavy use of modes often reduces the usability of a user interface, as the user must expend effort to remember current mode states, and switch between mode states as necessary. In computer software, a mode is distinct method of operation within a computer program, in which the same user input can produce different results depending of the state of the computer. ...


References

See also

It has been suggested that Easy Access be merged into this article or section. ... In human-computer interaction, computer accessibility refers to the usability of a computer system by people with disabilities or age-related limitations. ... // A brain-computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain-machine interface, is a direct communication pathway between a human or animal brain (or brain cell culture) and an external device. ... Dildonics (or human factors) is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use (definition adopted by the International Dildonics Association in 2007). ... Human factors is an umbrella term for several areas of research that include human performance, technology, design, and human-computer interaction. ... The framebuffer is a part of RAM in a computer allocated to hold the graphics information for one frame or picture. ... // Human–computer interaction (HCI), alternatively man–machine interaction (MMI) or computer–human interaction (CHI), is the study of interaction between people (users) and computers. ... Information visualization is a complex research area. ... An interface defines the communication boundary between two entities, such as a piece of software, a hardware device, or a user. ... Knowledge Visualization is a sub discipline of Information Design and Instructional Message Design (pedagogy; didactics, pedagogical psychology). ... Incomplete list of literature about the design of user interfaces: Soren Lauesen: User Interface Design, A Software Engineering Perspective, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-3211-8143-3 Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant: Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-3212-6978-0 Jef Raskin: Humane... ncurses is a programming library providing an API, allowing the programmer to write text user interfaces in a terminal-independent manner. ... Usability is a term used to denote the ease with which people can employ a particular tool or other human-made object in order to achieve a particular goal. ... User experience is a term used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A Virtual artifact (VA) is an immaterial object that exists in the human mind or in a digital environment, for example the Internet, intranet, virtual reality, etc. ...

External links

  • The Interaction-Design.org Encyclopedia is an open-content, peer-reviewed encyclopedia, also covering User Interface research.
  • Its bibliography covers a wide area of User Interface publications

  Results from FactBites:
 
User interface - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1353 words)
Batch interfaces are non-interactive user interfaces, where the user specifies all the details of the batch job in advance to batch processing, and receives the output when all the processing is done.
Gesture interfaces are graphical user interfaces which accept input in a form of hand gestures, or mouse gestures sketched with a computer mouse or a stylus.
Telephone user interfaces, which accept input and provide output by generating telephone voice which are transported via the telephone network and heard by the user using a telephone.
User Interface Design Tips, Techniques, and Principles (1902 words)
Too many developers think that they are artistic geniuses – they do not bother to follow user interface design standards or invest the effort to make their applications usable, instead they mistakenly believe that the important thing is to make the code clever or to use a really interesting color scheme.
First of all the more intuitive the user interface the easier it is to use, and the easier it is to use and the less expensive to use it.
User interface-flow diagrams should optionally be developed to further your understanding of the flow of your user interface.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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