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When Microsoft bolted a GUI on top of DOS, it's possible that someone on the team point proposed calling it "Microsoft GUI for DOS", but in the end they came up with "Microsoft Windows". A program's GUI in a windowed environment is exactly that: it consists of the set of its windows. (A generality, with possible exceptions like background programs that ...
You could use "screen layout" as the synonym for Graphical User Interface (GUI). This is easier to understand than the acronym GUI for non technical people. Another alternative would be to spell out the acronym in full wording, and you wouldn´t need a synonym.
If you want to separate the program from the GUI, then you can use 'Basic interface' vs 'Advanced interface'. If you merge the concerns (program & interface) then you can do what the calculator application on mac and windows does, have multiple views, 'basic', 'advanced' and more if need be. You can also link it with functionality and say, 'basic ...
I've always just used the term "screen" instead of GUI, as in: "Would you like the program to show you the simple screen, or the advanced screen?"
There is little need even to explain the idea of interface to users of the program. To them, the program is the interface. Don't say "the GUI of the program does X". Just say "the program does X". Don't say "the GUI has a red self-destruct button". Say "the program has a red self-destruct button". To you, the programmer, it is very important to think ...
What about "the visual part of the application, i.e. its buttons, text boxes and other visual elements"? In a more detailed form, you would also include that it handles: The process of displaying the elements to the user through a screen, The interaction of the user with those elements (most commonly known as events, but it's not limited to events). ...
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