Let’s Learn IT: Interfaces


Interfaces are points where two systems, subjects etc, meet and interact. You can also say that it’s a device programme enabling a user to communicate with a programme.

An interface is also a surface forming a common boundary, as regions or areas.

A system is set of things working together as parts of mechanism or an interconnecting network.

Some include;

- A hardware interface;

This is an interface used to interconnect two devices together. It includes the plug and socket, the type, number and purpose of the wires and the electrical signals that are passed across them.

- A software interface;

This refers to a wide range of different types of interface at different levels; an operating system may interface with pieces of hardware. Application or Programs running on the operating system may need to interact via streams, and in objects oriented programs, objects within an application may need to interact via methods.

- A user interface;

This is a point of interaction between a computer and humans; it includes any number of modalities of interaction where data is transferred between the user and the computer system. User interfaces also have five main interfaces which include;

-Command line;

These are the oldest of the interfaces discussed here. It involves the computer responding to commands typed by the operator.

-Graphical user interfaces (GUI);

These are interfaces which allow the user to interact with devices through graphical icons and visual indicators such as secondary notations.

-Menu driven;

This is commonly used on cash machines, ticket machines and formation kiosks. They also provide a simple and easy to use interface comprised of series of menus and sub-menus which the user accesses by pressing buttons, often on a touch-screen device.

-Form based;

These interfaces are commonly used on websites to gather data from a user, or in call centers to allow operators to quickly enter information gathered over the phone.

-Natural language;

This interface is a spoken interface where the user interacts with the computer by talking to it. Commonly used by phone systems as an alternative to the user pressing numbered buttons the user can speak their responses instead. (this is interface is used in phones like iPhone application called Siri).

Compiled by Bayingana Kelly-Ryan, S4 student, Lycée La Colombiere School, Kigali