Graphical User Interface (GUI)

What Does GUI Stand For?

GUI stands for graphical user interface (GUI).  

What is a GUI?

A graphical user interface (GUI) is a layer of technology with which a user engages that allows them to visually interact through things like icons, menus, and other graphics.

How Does GUI Work?

Human interactions take place using pointing devices such as a mouse, keyboard, stylus, or touch. GUI examples include computer monitors, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, or other consoles. 

The program on the device continuously checks the screen to find the location and movements of the pointing devices on the screen. It monitors the frequency and timing of the movement, determines what the user intended, and then takes these actions. 

8 Advantages of Using GUI

GUIs provide numerous benefits to users, including:

  • Providing faster, more seamless user interactions
  • Enabling clarity and control
  • Anticipating what the user needs
  • Providing accessibility for users with disabilities
  • Providing increased engagement through attractive visuals
  • Increasing adoption with users of all capabilities levels 
  • Removing the need for programming experience
  • Increasing the ability to multitask

Types of GUI

Common GUIs with which you may be familiar include desktop and mobile operating systems such as these:

Desktop Operating Systems

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Apple’s macOS
  • Linux

Mobile Operating Systems 

  • Apple’s iOS 
  • Android


Character user interface (CUI) enables users to interact by typing lines of text, called commands, into a computer. In contrast, a GUI uses a visual interface to interact through icons, menus, and other graphics. MS-DOS is an example of a CUI.


Web user interface (WUI), also known as a web app, enables users to interact with software that runs on a server through a Web browser like Chrome or Firefox. A GUI allows users to interface with operating systems outside of web browsers.


The user interface (UI) is a general reference to the point where users interact with a device. It includes graphical and non-graphical interfaces with touchpoints using screens, keyboards, a mouse, or stylus, or command prompts (text). GUIs can be accessed on desktops, mobile devices, an application, or through a web browser. A GUI is a subset of the more general UI and refers only to visual or graphical interfaces.

GUI and Python

Python is a programming language that developers can use to create GUIs. The language focuses on readability to reduce program maintenance costs. Python encourages program modularity and reusing code. There are multiple Python frameworks used to develop GUIs, including:

  • Kivy
  • Libavg
  • PyForms
  • PyQt5
  • PySimpleGUI
  • Tkinter
  • wxPython

GUI & Java

Java is a general well-recognized object-oriented programming language used by developers for GUI creation. It is widely used for developing application GUIs for desktops, consoles, and mobile devices because it is fast, secure, and reliable. Common Java frameworks include:

  • Blade
  • Dropwizard
  • Google web toolkit
  • Grails
  • Hibernate
  • JavaServer Faces  
  • Play
  • Spring
  • Struts
  • Vaadin

Which programming language is the easiest and best for GUI design?

Over the years, deciding on which programming language or framework allows developers to more easily design a GUI has come down to preference. Some developers lean toward Python, while others like Java. Both Java and Python are two of the most widely adopted languages measured in the Programming Language Index

What is the Future of GUI?

As a human-digital technology conduit, GUIs are likely to stay for the near future, but other forms of interfaces are quickly emerging such as:

  • Tangible user interfaces (TUI) allows computer surfaces to recognize objects in real life by placing an object on-screen so that users can interact while they are in a digital world and vice versa.
  • Emotion control interfaces that allow users to, as it says, control objects through their emotional responses. This would be done by connecting physical objects and virtual data to enable them to be manipulated.
  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) interfaces are quickly gaining in popularity. In the entertainment world, virtual reality glasses already have uses in gaming, among other things. AR and VR are likely to expand into other aspects of daily life and work. 
  • Brain-computer interfaces are already on the horizon, allowing humans to control computers and devices by using their brains. Some companies have already demonstrated this technology is possible. It may seem far-fetched, but this could be done through a brain-computer interface that would expand the capabilities of people around the world.

Updated: December 19, 2022

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