System Software #2 (Types of User Interface)

Starter : Retrieval Practice

Give a definition for the term software? 

‘the set of instructions, data or programs that are used to operate computers’

What is the difference between system software and application software? 

System software is the ‘interface’ which allows us to interact with/manage the hardware. Application software allows us to perform useful tasks .’

Name the three types of system software ?

operating system , utility software and translator software.’

Today’s learning: Operating System : Types of User Interface

You may have used several different operating systems , below is a list of some you may be familiar with:

•Android OS •Versions have nicknames such as Jelly Bean and Kit Kat

OS X (Apple MACs) •Versions have nicknames such as “Mountain Lion” and “Snow Leopard”

•iOS (iPhone/iPad)

•MS-DOS and Windows

•Google Chrome OS (based on Linux)


A user interface allows the user to interact with a computer system. There are two types of ‘user interface’. These are a ‘Graphical User Interface’ and a ‘Command Line Interface’.

Graphical User Interface (GUIs) – these are the ones we are mostly used to. They are designed to be easy for every day users as they are visual, interactive and intuitive. GUIs are WIMP based as they include Windows, Icons, Menus and a Pointer.

Modern GUIs have been developed for touch screen devices. So operating systems such as Android and iOS include functions for touch screen devices, using finger gestures such as pinching and swiping in place of a mouse.

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of GUIs.You will need to know these for the exam. (

Command Line Interfaces (CLIs) – These are text based. The user enters specific command to complete tasks. CLIs are less resource heavy than GUIs, for example as it uses only text, less memory (RAM ) is required to run it, it also needs less CPU processing time.

Command Line Interfaces can be far more efficient and powerful for advanced users.

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of CLIs.You will need to know these for the exam. (

Questions based on today’s learning …..have a go before you hit the drop down box for the answer!

What are the two types of operating system user interface?

The two types of operating system user interface a Graphical User Interface and a Command Line Interface.

A graphical user interface can be WIMP based – what does this mean?

WIMP based means that a Graphical User Interface includes Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers.

Explain why CLIs aren’t suitable for everyday users?

CLIs aren’t suitable for everyday users as they are text based, meaning that users need to know specific commands to complete tasks.

Give two advantages of GUIs?

1. Easy to use especially for a beginner. 2. You don’t have to learn complicated commands.

Give two disadvantages of GUIs?

1. GUIs take up a much larger amount of hard disk space. 2. They need more memory (RAM) to run the interface.

Give two advantages of CLIs?

1. CLIs can be much faster than GUIs if the user knows the commands. 2. CLIs use less CPU processing time compared to GUIs.

Give two disadvantages of CLIs?

1. CLIs commands have to be written precisely otherwise the command will fail.

2. There are a large number of codes that need to be learnt, so difficult for every day users. 

Now take the quiz…..


Can you draw a diagram to illustrate the differences between GUIs and CLIs? 

Further Reading: