That first thing that a new EVE player has to quickly master, and this goes for any complex game, is the interface. To a novice, the EVE Online interface may be overwhelming, which adds to the learning curve. Fortunately, a lot of information is available out there. CCP has provided a very complete player guide and I recommend to any serious player to either blink it, bookmark it, or save it, print it and bind it, as I did.
In the player guide, the interface is thoroughly explained in chapter 5. Give it a good read. Being able to quickly get to the information you're looking for is important.
Over at flickr, Alaph (One Tired EVE Pilot) has graciously provided us with a screenshot of his interface with some notes to get you quickly up and running. Head over there to learn more by clicking on the screenshot above. Thanx Alaph!