Vocabulary Practice: Interfaces

Read the text again and answer the questions with some of the words in bold.

Interface is a strangely familiar yet elusive word – we’ve all heard it but there are few who can actually spell it out. In simplest terms, an interface is a point where two independent systems meet and interact with each other. There are three types of interfaces in IT. Hardware interface consists of sockets, plugs and cables employed by hardware devices to communicate with each other. Software interface includes codes and languages used by applications to interplay with each other and with hardware. Finally, user interface (UI), is a point of contact between a person and a computer.computer-keyboard-1188763

User interfaces have changed over time. The oldest type is the command line interface, a.k.a. text user interface (TUI). Computers with TUI operating systems respond to commands typed from the keyboard to the command line. The fact that one has to learn a number of commands by heart is a major hindrance, especially for novice users.

Today, most software comes with a graphical user interface (GUI). A typical GUI consists of menus, windows, icons and pointers. Operators use a mouse or touchpad to move a pointer around the screen, which, in turn, interacts with other elements. GUIs make for a more user-friendly experience – the operator can communicate with the computer in an instinctual and spontaneous way.

Last but not least, natural language interfaces involve communication with the computer by talking to it. Popularized by sci-fi movies, NLIs are still too imperfect to be commonly used.