Program Interfaces

Menu and pointer

Many computer programs have similar controls because they make use of the operating system on a particular hardware device. These common interface controls include Windows controls such as maximise, minimise and exiting a program.

Many programs have common menu features, such as File, View and Help as well as many others that will appear when the main heading is clicked. That is, if you click on File you will see a list of additional commands, such as print.

You can also use keyboard combinations to carry out common commands, such as Ctrl-C to copy some highlighted text and then Ctrl-V to paste the text somewhere else.

Getting help within programs

Question MarkSometimes we need to ask for help to be able to do things. Using a computer is just the same, whether it is an operating system, a program or a game. Help files help you to find out how to fix and do things.

Help can normally be found by pressing the first function key along the top of your keyboard (F1). It provides help for whichever program you are using, for example if you are using a word processing application it provides help with that particular application.

If you were just using the operating system, pressing F1 would provide help about the desktop or the start menu.

Touch screen Program Interfaces

DTouchscreen Deviceue to the increased popularity of touch screen devices and operating systems that support this type of interface, programmers have had to develop special software interfaces that make full use of a user interacting with a high quality touch screen.

The use of fingers, and in some cases a soft ended stylus, allows the user to control the operation of the device. The programs for touch screen devices, commonly known as apps, have common finger controls to carry out tasks.

Pinch Zoom

These tasks have been designed to be as natural and intuitive as possible, for example, when reading an e-book on a touch screen device, the reader may turn the pages with a finger movement across the screen to call up the next page and the display will animate the page being turned as the finger movement takes place.

Another common app interface control is a pinch zoom with the use of two fingers, usually the thumb and first finger in an opening movement in order to increase the size of a page.

Next: Managing Files and Folders