From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- See also: WIMP (software bundle)
In human-computer interaction, WIMP stands for "window, icon, menu, pointing device", denoting a style of interaction using these elements. It was once often used as an approximate synonym of graphical user interfaces. WIMP interaction was developed at Xerox PARC (see Xerox Alto, developed in 1973) and "popularized by the Macintosh in 1984" (van Dam, 1997).
In popular speech the term "wimp" is commonly used as a mild insult to refer to people who lack strength and/or courage. This usage was common before the advent of the graphical user interface. As a result, the acronym WIMP is sometimes used in a derogatory manner, especially by those who prefer more traditional command-line interfaces. Conversely, it is also sometimes used to point out current lack of innovation in user interface design (see Post-WIMP user interfaces).
Different sources expand the acronym WIMP differently. The terms may be plural or singular, and the term corresponding to P varies the most. All of the following can be found on the web (as of 2004):
- W: Window(s)
- I: Icon(s)
- M: Menu(s); Mouse/Mice (rarely) (note that mice are a subset of pointing devices)
- P: Pointing device(s); Pointing; Pointer(s) (note that the term "pointer" is often used as a synonym for mouse cursor); Pull-down menu(s) (note that pull-down menus can be thought of as a subset of menus)
Another possibility is to have the P in WIMP stand for Program, allowing it to be used as a noun (like the noun GUI, for graphical user interface) rather than as an adjective or qualifier.
- History of the graphical user interface
- Andries van Dam: Post-WIMP User Interfaces. In: Communications of the ACM, 40(2) (February 1997), pp. 63-67. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/253671.253708
- Alistair D. N. Edwards: The design of auditory interfaces for visually disabled users. In: Proceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 1988, pp. 83--88, http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/57167.57180
- Mark Green, Robert Jacob, SIGGRAPH: '90 Workshop report: software architectures and metaphors for non-WIMP user interfaces. In: ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics, 25(3) (July 1991), pp. 229--235, http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/126640.126677
- Ashley George Taylor: WIMP Interfaces (winter 1997) http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/classes/cs6751_97_winter/Topics/dialog-wimp/