User Interface can be defined as the way in which a person interacts with a computer, tablet, smartphone or other such device, composed through screens containing menus and icons, keyboard shortcuts, movements mouse and gestures, command language and online help as defined available in the online encyclopedia of the American magazine PC Magazine (2013).
Among the most known and used interfaces, CLI, GUI, NUI stand out.
CLI – Command Line Interface
It is an interface for computers operating textual systems or applications, in which the user responds to visual requests, enters commands and receives system responses, all through a keyboard without the existence of graphical interfaces and need for a mouse.
In the glossary of the Computer Hope website (2014), those responsible for the content defend the idea that CLI requires specific commands and therefore it is more difficult to be learned due to the need to memorize different commands. Regardless, this interface can often be more feature-rich and thus, it should not be ignored, as it is widely used today.
GUI – Graphical User Interface
The American magazine PC Magazine (2013), defines GUI as a method of interfacing with the computer that enables the user
view graphic content through a screen, and still use the mouse to interact with icons, buttons, toolbars and still move or resize windows.
With the advancement of the Macintosh in the mid-1980s and Windows in 1990s, GUI-based systems replaced systems based on CLI, thus eliminating the need to use specific commands in sequence for carrying out tasks and also made it possible for sources to be able to be altered, resized in a visual way, providing a WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get for creating printed materials. (PC MAGAZINE, 2013).
NUI – Natural User Interface
Natural user interface is a term that covers a number of technologies such as speech recognition, touch screen, and kinetic interfaces such as Kinect. It originates from the concept of graphical user interface.
Initially, NUI scholars proposed that interfaces could be designed to be intuitive for users, basing them on behaviors common. The goal was to have interfaces that would not need the learning curve that are normally needed to operate a GUI base.
Like the GUI, the NUI application is very present on devices current. Kinect is a great facilitator of NUI interfaces because it allows interfaces through common movements of the human body. In addition to Microsoft Kinect, it is very important to highlight the existence of other applications and devices that tend to the NUI concept, for example, some Google services:
- Google Glass: glasses that allow the user to view and interact with a content through the lens and the interpretation of voice commands.
- Google Watch: watch that allows the user to have access to several information such as messages and emails through a quick movement without having to remove the phone from your pocket.
- Google Now/Nest/Home/Assistance: system kept on Cloud Computing present in various devices, including present in the mentioned devices previously. This system is a sort of personal assistant that responds to commands user voice and even suggests information, for example, access routes through learning according to time of use, capturing information like browsed pages, locations visited, GPS monitoring, etc.
Microsoft and Google, are just two of the current thousand of players providing NUI interfaces. It’s is present in many things we use daily, including our smartphones with finger recognize, face recognize, voice command, gesture command, etc.
Do you think that is all? Other User Interfaces are coming
It’s true these tree are the mostly and very present among us, but there are a lot of people around the word searching for new possibilities, working with themes as Virtual User Interface, Multiple User Interface and Organic User Interface. This last one in special, for exemple, proves that every research can provide some result. We are currently, receiving one of the first commercial devices that respond that OUI demand. Organic user interface (OUI) is a kind of user interface that uses a non-flat display, where objects are controlled by users manipulating an actual physical shape. To make this concept a little more clear, lets think about all devices we manipulate in our daily live: smartphones, tablets, notebooks, smartwatch, car system, industrial system, etc. All of them with 2D screen, it means, flat screens. OUI are all interfaces that have more than 2 dimensions. It’s still get curse in our context but the most simple exemple of it are the flexible screens.
Before you go, don’t lose this video. I’m pretty sure you will be at least curious about how interesting that experience be!