What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Graphical User Interface (GUI)?

By Harvey Spector

A graphical user interface gives users the ability to interact with images and icons instead of text.

GUIs make it easy to place more information within a single program, Web page or computer home screen without the need to clutter it with text. With the right graphics, people are able to use complex programs with ease. GUIs are not simple though, and they are difficult to make. Additionally, a poorly designed interface makes things more difficult, rather than easier, for the user.

The Learning Curve

Initially, a GUI may seem confusing, especially to someone who doesn’t have any earlier experience with one, but after acclimating to one user interface, it is possible to get used to several others. When looking at the Adobe Creative Suite programs, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash use similar images for their GUIs. This means that when users are used to one of the programs, they are already somewhat familiar with the user interface of another. This extends to Web pages as well. Many Web pages use the logos for social media websites to give users a fast way to share to content. Not only are these logos used throughout different websites, but they also share the same format across Web pages to make them easily recognizable.

Time Required Making a GUI

Although they are easy to run, GUIs are far from simple to create. Python.org demonstrates just a few ways a person is able to make a GUI in a single programming language. Text-based interfaces don’t need images, and therefore using them to represent something in a program is easier than using other interfaces. To make an image represent an action for a program is a bit more difficult. Not only does a programmer have to use the right image, but he must also tie that image to the action and place the image in the proper location. This process gets much more complicated when there are many images that do vastly different things across a single program.

Slower Than Other Operating Systems

A GUI has many moving parts. Due to these parts, a GUI tends to be slower than a Command-line Interface (CUI), such as the one shown on Teach-ICT. A CUI does not use images and it is simpler in design to the point since it does not need much to run. There are countless images of folders, icons and different screens on a GUI that constantly use a computer’s resources.