“GUI”, you might have heard this term at least once in your lifetime. And if you are someone from a non-technical background then you must have definitely thought that what exactly is GUI? So here I am at your rescue to help you get familiar with the term and also share some facts regarding the origin and development of GUI.


By now you know the full form of GUI which stands for Graphical User Interface. So let’s start by understanding the meaning of every term here. First, let us see what is the meaning of ‘Interface’?  The interface is a point where two things meet. In general terms, you may have used this word as a point of interaction between two different entities. For example, if we say that “Amit is the interface between Vijay and John”, this means Amit is the only point of contact for any communication between Vijay and John. Now we move onto what is user-interface?

A user-interface is the single point of contact between the user and the machine. An easy example of this is the ‘Calculator’. A user uses a calculator for calculations so it is the classic example of user interaction where you type in the numbers and you get the required outputs. Now we will see what is GUI? Graphical User Interface works as a point of interaction between the user and the machine; it can be a computer, laptop, or even your smartphone. The icons you see on your screen such as photos, contacts, messages, folders, icons of mobile apps, etc. are examples of GUI. 

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Elements Of GUI

To get an in-depth knowledge of the Graphical User Interface you will have to understand the basic elements that are essential in the working of a GUI on your laptop or desktop. There are basically four main features that are commonly found in any GUI. They are Windows, Icon, Menu, and Pointer. Now starting off with the very first feature which is:

1. Window

It is the display screen of your desktop. Let suppose you switch on your desktop and go to My Computer, the screen that pops up is a window. So in brief a window is the display that is visible to a user after a certain action is performed by the user on the monitor. Few examples to mention are: Opening the web browser (Google Chrome) and the screen that opens is a window. Similarly tapping on any application on your device opens a relevant window for further actions to be performed.

 2. Icons

If I were to explain to you in a very simple language then the icon is the label of any software or application on your device. It is the representation source of a particular application on your desktop. Just to elaborate more with an example: Now we all are in a smart gadget age and you will agree that everyone in present times uses smartphones. The labels for differentiating in calls and messages or a WhatsApp or Instagram application are the icons of those apps.

3. Menu

Again keeping it very simple for you to understand, I think we all must have been to a restaurant or a coffee shop. Now the list of items mentioned on a pamphlet for you to choose from is called the menu of that restaurant. Similar logic is used in creating a menu for the particular device, be it a laptop, desktop, or smartphone. There are a number of actions that a user can perform by selecting the required option from the menu bar. You must have used the desktop once in a lifetime and you must have clicked on the START menu as well. All the options available in front of you are part of the start menu of your desktop.

4. Pointer

This term is again very simple to understand. If a user wishes to click on a certain menu or open any application on the monitor then the tool required to perform this action is called a pointer. It is displayed as an arrow symbol on the computer screen. The device that we use for this action is a mouse. And similarly while using a smartphone or any smart device the touch screen enables the user to use its finger for selecting any application or to click on any menu on the device. Thus in this case your finger becomes the pointer. 

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So the interface that provides these four features to a user is called a Graphical User Interface. Now moving on further I am going to also throw some light on the types of GUIs. The three widely used GUIs in the latest laptops and desktops are: 

1. Windows Operating System

The Windows OS was launched by Microsoft and the first commercial operating system of windows was Windows95 that was made available for manufacturing in 1995. The computers of that era had the windows95 as their default operating system. And it’s been 25 years and this operating system has evolved since then by the launch of the latest and upgraded versions. The latest version of Windows OS is Windows 10 as of February 2020. This is the simplest operating system and easy to understand. For anyone who is getting to know the laptops and desktops and how to use them this operating system is the most user friendly of all available in the market. Even your granny can learn how to operate your laptop with windows as the interface.

2. Linux Operating system

The next type is the Linux OS. This operating system is the open-source operating system which means the code for this operating system is available on the internet free of cost and anyone from anywhere can use this interface on their device openly. Now, this also adds to the development and upgrading of this operating system as the programmers and developers from all over the world are in a constant motion to bring and are developing a better version of Linux than the previous one. It was launched first in 1991 and is older than the Windows OS.

Now if we talk about the usability or the user-friendly criteria of Linux then it is a bit difficult to understand for a non-technical background user because it is vastly used by programmers or network administrators and you need to have the knowledge of C language to be able to use this operating system. This concludes very clearly that why Windows is a more famous operating system than Linux.

3. MAC Operating System

Mac operating system which also known as the Macintosh operating system was first launched in 1984. This OS is designed by Apple Inc. and was first seen in the series of computers developed by Apple. This GUI based operating system has been upgraded to many versions since its release and is exclusively used in Macbooks and Mac desktops. It is also used in all the latest iOS smart devices such as iPhones and ipads that are manufactured by Apple Inc. 


If we talk about the latest smart devices like smartphones, tablets and smart TVs as well, they are all being equipped with some GUI. The very popular GUI among smartphones is the Android GUI. Just briefing about Android, it is a mobile operating system that is based on a modified version of Linux and other open-source software. It was designed primarily for touch screen mobiles and tablets. Android was released in 2008. Since then there are many gadgets that are Android equipped like tablets, phones, smart wearable, and TVs as well. Android is mostly developed by Google. This OS for mobile phones was a wave of smart gadgets back in times which are now being upgraded to the latest version namely Android 10 with all the latest features in it. 

Lastly, just winding up the topic a Graphical User Interface is nothing but the mode of communication between a user and its device. Since the late 90s till present times we are constantly growing and developing the latest and best for our generation which will help them evolve and make this world a sustainable and healthy place to live with making most out of the greatest gift of humans that is technology.

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