What is a user interface

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User interface. (user interface) Also user interface, human-machine interface. B. is the set of properties and functions through which the user is connected to the system, especially to the processor and the memory of the system. Since from the point of view of economic use of the computer it is important to use the performance of the processor and memory as much as possible, the type of B. is of decisive importance. High-performance interfaces allow the computer to be fully utilized, but in turn represent significant cost factors. Weak interfaces are cheap themselves, but generally do not allow the system to be fully utilized. The interface itself is embodied both by hardware, namely the peripheral devices (especially the screen and keyboard), and by software, namely the programs that establish the connection between internal processing and input and output. The following principle applies: If less powerful hardware is used, this poor performance must be compensated for by increased software expenditure, which puts additional strain on the processor and the memory. If, on the other hand, powerful hardware is used, the internal components are relieved. From this point of view, the devices used for input and output as well as the programs that support input and output can be designated as B.

Only when technical and ergonomic conditions have been optimized as a whole, one speaks of a functional B. It is about an optimal adaptation between human and system, whereby in modern terms the human side has a much greater weight than the machine-technical aspects.

(The above definition is - slightly abbreviated - taken from the Computer Encyclopedia by Hans Schulte rororo)