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2. Command Driven Interface

Early Computers :

Early computers had a Command Driven Interface, similar to the one below. These are very 'unfriendly', especially for beginners. There are no clues as to what the user has to do. Commands to get the computer to do anything, had to be typed in and users had to remember all the commands.


Command Driven Interface


Graphical User Interface (GUI)


To make computers easier to use and more 'user friendly' , GUI's were developed. GUIs use graphics to control the computer’s actions such as ticking boxes, or selecting a button.

With a GUI, compilicated Page Setup commands have been replaced with easy to use buttons and drop down menus.





The toolbar is a common part of most HCIs. A toolbar is a menu made up of a series of icons that you can select as you need them. Toolbars make communicating with the computer easy since they make commonly used functions easily available to the user.

tool bar


Keyboard Shortcuts

As well as allowing users to give commands by clicking on icons or pictures, most good programs provide 'keyboard shortcuts'; keys used in combination to execute - carry out - the same command. These are provided as an option, because for experienced users they are much quicker.







A common type of HCI is a WIMP, short for

W Windows The screen shot shows a window. In the window, different file types are represented by different icons.

Along the top is a tool bar with buttons represented by icons. Above this are pulldown menus where further commands are available.

Any of the files or menu options can be selected by the mouse pointer.
I Icons
M Mouse
P Pull down menus



Because they are user friendly. ‘User friendly’ means that it is easy to learn how to use the software. Open a window, point at an icon and click on it. That’s how simple it is to open a file. What could be easier or more user friendly?


What you have to do!

Answer the following questions.

  1. What does HCI stand for?
  2. What does WIMP stand for?
  3. Which toolbar do you use most often?
  4. How does the toolbar help you complete tasks quickly?



What you should be able to do now!




Continue to Help and Tutorials







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