Characteristics of Graphical and Web User Interfaces

The graphical user interface differed significantly from its text-based forefather. The Web interface differs from a GUI interface in significant ways also. In this chapter, the following characteristics of GUI and Web interfaces are reviewed:

  • Interaction styles.
  • The concept of direct manipulation.
  • The characteristics of graphical interfaces.
  • The characteristics of Web interfaces.
  • Web page versus Web application design.
  • The general principles of user interface design.

Interaction Styles

An interaction style is simply the method, or methods, by which the user and a computer system communicate with one another. Today the designer has a choice of several interaction styles in graphical system or Web page and application design. They are as follows:

  • Command line
  • Menu selection
  • Form fill-in
  • Direct manipulation
  • Anthropomorphic

The choice of interaction styles to be considered may be limited based upon the type of system being developed and the characteristics of the input and output devices to be used for the interface. A brief description of each interaction style follows. A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each one is shown in Table 2.1.

Command Line

The command-line interface is the oldest and original user interaction style. It requires the user to press a function key or type a command into a designated entry area on a screen. The commands may be single characters, abbreviations, words, or multiple ...

Get The Essential Guide to User Interface Design: An Introduction to GUI Design Principles and Techniques, 3rd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.