This patent describes a user interface device (UI device) used for machine control. The UI device is comprised of a video display capable of presenting desired images to the machine operator and a touch sensitive device capable of detecting operator requests by means of the operator touching the surface of the video display. A standard keyboard may also be employed when typed responses are required of the operator or for infrequent use a QWERTY keyboard may be displayed on the Display. The UI device is controlled by a general purpose computer, which also controls the on-line machine. Visual elements presented to the user on the UI device's display include instructions in text (orthographic display), and images (imaginal display). Displayed images may include and log status indicators (E. g., meters, thermometers) and buttons which the operator can touch to signal control requests. The displayed images change cynamically so that only relevant indicators and valid control buttons are presented to the user at any given time (termed "conditional disclosure"), and the display format can be changed completely upon operator request, to allow for control of infrequently used or complex features (termed "progressive disclosure"). A set of schematics and flow charts are included to complete the disclosure of the system. The resultant interactive display enables a relatively untrained operator to control a feature-rich or complex machine system.