The development of user interfaces (UIs) came out of the need to satisfy and make the user’s computer experience easier and more efficient. Originally, different components that enabled the system to work would have to be done individually by different people working in the system. Ever since then, computers have been easier and more convenient to use due to the developments of the user systems, for example Linux, MAC OS and the popular Windows operating systems.
The Linux OS (operating system), is one of the most popular operating systems mainly due to it being an open source operating system. This feature allows its users to freely share and modify the code of the software which allows for more flexibility and options for configuration. Since its creation in 1991, Linux was used domestically by people that owned personal computers as the creator, Linus Torvalds, made the software available through the internet. However, as organizations realized the convenience of the software, it was made available to enterprises that used large, expensive systems and networks. Organizations such as NASA started replacing their more expensive machines with inexpensive computers that ran the OS for example. In the present day, this software is still being used in computer systems both at home and enterprises, in addition, they have been integrated into other platforms such as smartphones, being the base for most Android OSes. It is also a multitasked based system which lends to its convenience when managing multiple tasks more efficiently at one time. Therefore, this feature makes it the most popular OS among large organizations as they can manage their servers more efficiently than other OSes.
The MAC OS continues to be one of the most influential OSes because of their focus on design and application features. Year after year each release focuses on the design aspect of the OS in terms of new applications or features it can provide to the user. It debuted in 1984 under the name “Classic” Mac OS until 2001 and then as the “Mac OS X” until 2012 and later “OS X” in 2016. The Mac OS series was noted as easy to use as it had incorporated many aspects of the GUI interface including icons representing files, a menu bar across the top of the screen and overlapping windows for multitasking. The successor of the Mac OS series, the Mac OS x series, saw a host of innovate features and designs. In 2003, the OS X Panther included Expose, a feature which allowed users to instantly view all open windows at once, view windows of a current program or view files on the desktop. In later updates focus was placed on the networking capabilities of the OS. The feature “Continuity” released in 2014 under the OS X Yosemite, allowed the Mac systems to have the same calling features found on an iPhone device and allowed the address log on this device to be accessed through the system connected on the same Wi-Fi network. Additionally, they acted as a second mobile device as they could also send and receive text messages. This OS release included the feature Handoff, which allowed users to write an email or web search on the computer system and access as well as edit the original data on other devices such as an IPhone or an IPad without removing the original data on the computer system. This meant that the data could have been saved and modified between more than one devices. As of 2016, the macOS Sierra was the first of its kind to introduce Siri, a feature found on another landmark device of Apple Inc., the IPhone. The voice activated assistant could help users get quicker access to files, information on the system and tag web results for more convenient web browsing for example. This remains one of the major changes in the OS as more attention is directed toward the user interface and user experience.
36861751105535Mac OS original OS (1984) and macOS High Sierra (2017).
The Windows OS’s initial release was in 1985 but was not a complete operating system as it was just an extended version of an unsuccessful OS that was released prior, the Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). The OS was named Windows due to the computing boxes that represented important parts of the OS. This version did not allow for many applications or features except what was included in the previous system, including Calculator, Calendar and Paint. Only two years later, Windows 2 was released and updated many of the features seen in Windows 1, for example the previously tiled windows were changed to overlapping windows, increasing usability. Also, users were able to modify the size of the windows by making them bigger to fit the size of the screen or making them smaller to focus on another window. This version also included the first instance of the Control Panel, an application where settings and configuration options were located in one place. In the Windows 95 version, the first instance of the start button and the start menu was introduced, making the locating of files and folders easier, also, it introduced the concept of plug and play, wherein peripheral devices could be connected to the OS. In the versions Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition (ME) and Windows 2000, greater detail was put on adding new programs and features which would be seen in later versions such as Windows Media Player, the address bar in Windows Explorer and the forward and back buttons. Windows XP was arguably the best versions of the OS as the entire UI was updated, changing the colours of the start menu and task bar, automated update and recovery tools were introduced as well as built in CD burning and auto play. Windows 7 focused on usability, as such windows could have been resized, network configuration and easier search and organization features. Windows 8 was innovative in that it focused on a touch screen adaptation of the interface and eliminating the “Start” button. It included programming icons and live tiles similar to widgets, which allowed the user to get quicker access to applications such as news, weather, social media and games. However, the combination of the touchscreen and the mouse and keyboard system was unacceptable for a majority of users. This was succeeded by the present Windows 10 which brought back the start menu as well as a host of other features. One notable feature is the ability to connect all windows devices with one interface and the snapping feature, which resizes windows on the desktop to fill part of or all of the screen. Multiple desktops could now be added by the user to increase efficiency. Furthermore, the addition of a central notification system allowed for easier control and managing of alerts from various applications and the addition of a virtual assistant, Cortana, facilitated the quick searching of applications, filtering web results and performing other tasks on the system, similar to the virtual assistant on Apple OS, Siri.
Windows development throughout the years: Windows 1 (1985), Windows XP (2000) and Windows 10(2015).
To conclude, many developments have been made to enhance the ways in which OSs perform, how many tasks they can handle and their networking capabilities. They have been developed to fit the needs of the customer while also giving them the best in quality. As such, they would continue to be developed and upgraded to constantly meet the demands of the market.