Graphical User Interface (GUI) is a type of user interface which allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators such as secondary notation, instead of text-based user interfaces, typed command labels, or text navigation. GUIs were introduced in the early 1970s in the context of the Xerox Alto and evolved in the Apple Lisa/Macintosh, and Microsoft Windows operating systems, as well as with the development of graphical standards such as X Window System (X11).
GUIs are used in most desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices, as well as for certain embedded systems, such as industrial controls and virtual reality systems. They may also be used in other devices such as company information kiosks, digital signage, and videoconferencing systems.
A GUI represents the information and functionality of an application through both graphical devices such as windows, icons, and menus, and speech output. Users typically use a mouse, joystick, or finger on a touchpad/screen to manipulate objects on the GUI.
Graphical user interfaces play an important role in the development and deployment of applications used in modern computing. A GUI helps to make an application easier to use because users can interact with it in a more intuitive and natural way, rather than having to memorize or interpret commands. They also allow for a more aesthetically pleasant experience by providing visual feedback.
GUI features vary from one operating system to another and may include icons, menu bars, toolbars, buttons, dialog boxes, and other visual components. Development tools are also available specifically designed for creating GUI applications.
In modern computing, GUI applications are often created with software frameworks that use the same framework code to create different versions for different operating systems. Examples of such frameworks include Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and Java Swing.