UX Dictionary

Our resident UXperts are here to help you make heads and tails of all the different UX related terminology floating around the industry.

A

A/B Testing

A/B testing is about pitting typically two chosen designs, patterns or flows up against each to see which one produces the best performance or results on a pre-determined set of metrics eg. traffic, conversion or sales etc.

Accessibility

Accessibility in terms of User experience (UX) is concerned with designing experiences for people who may have general difficulty using your products and services. UX designers should take into consideration one or more of the five senses – sight, hearing, touch smell or taste to alter the products or services with design and accessibility in mind.

B

Card Sorting

Popular amongst UX researchers to see how users interpret and interact with information is a method called ‘Card Sorting’. This is most often carried out by multiple participants who are asked to sort and group together similar “cards” using sticky notes or various software as a service (SaaS) applications. 

The end goal of card sorting is to understand how groups of users views a given set of information and to identify potential categories of information. The information and patterns that arise from card sorting sessions may help identify what menu items should exist within a website navigation or what data taxonomies should be combined or separated.

Business Analyst (BA)

UX’ers often collaborate with Business Anlaysts (or BAs as they’re commonly called) as they analyze organizations and document their systems – often assessing the business model or its integration with technology. BAs help in guiding businesses in improving these processes, products, services, and software through data analysis.

C

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS describes how HTML elements are to be displayed on screen, paper, or in other media. CSS saves A LOT of work as it can control the layout of multiple web pages all at once. CSS is used to define styles for your web pages – including the design, layout and variations in display for different devices and screen sizes.

Card Sorting

A popular research method used to see how people interpret information. This is most often carried out by multiple participants who are asked to sort and group together similar “cards” using sticky notes or various software as a service (SaaS) applications. 

The end goal of card sorting is to understand how groups of users views a given set of information and to identify potential categories of information. The information and patterns that arise from card sorting sessions may help identify what menu items should exist within a website navigation or what data taxonomies should be combined or separated.

D

Design Patterns

Repeatable design solutions — These often leverage widespread user recognition to aid in the design process. For example. Using standard font-awesome icons such as the ‘User’ and ‘Hamburger Menu’ icons are now design patterns that users know how to interact with.

Design Patterns

The design sprint is usually a 5 day process. Used for effective development of business solutions via design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers.

It was initially used by Google Ventures (GV) and dramatically increased in popularity from there. You can view the homepage of the Design Sprint here: http://www.gv.com/sprint/

Don’t repeat yourself (DRY)

A Pythonic Django concept that we have just brilliant to apply to your wireframing and prototyping especially when building out your asset libraries. “Every distinct concept and/or piece of data should live in one, and only one, place.” Redundancy is bad. Normalization is good. 

A little extra investment early on getting this right can end up saving you hours… potentially days of extra design work on bigger projects especially across teams.

E

Eyetracking

Eye tracking is, simply, the observation and recording of eye behavior such as pupil dilation and movement. The concept of eye-tracking can be applied in many areas… think psychological research and packaging design etc. When put in the context of screen-based media, eye-tracking is primarily used by researchers to identify where users are looking.

Of special interest are what is called “fixation points”. These points are where the user’s gaze stops moving – lingering just long enough for them to process exactly what they have seen.

F

Front-end Development

Front-end web development, also known as client-side development is all about producing code via HTML, CSS and JavaScript – this code can be developed for engagement with things such as a website, Web Application or Mobile Application.

UX’ers at some point generally get their hands dirty with some form of front-end development by learning to develop at least basic skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Full Stack Designer

A true ‘Full Stack Designer’ refers to a person who masters multiple skills and can use them to independently complete a design or product development. It means a true full stack designer can build a basic conception of a project, and complete the whole design and development related works. Such as starting with the wireframes/prototypes design, visual design, and then moving into the front-end coding, JS / jQuery, etc. even configuring some hosting/dns level components and backend database objects of the project to keep it from falling over.

G

Graphic Design

When you think about Graphic Design it’s really a method of communication that is as old as the artwork found in ancient caves. It includes fundamentals of design like typography, colour theory, illustration and even photography. Sometimes also referred to as communication design, the practice of developing and communicating media to target audiences.

Graphic designers are visual communicators often producing assets across both digital and print. Creative varies from books, brochures, corporate materials and invitations to business cards and merchandise. Often designers are tasked with corporate branding assignments to ensure a company or product adheres with newly designed or enforced style guide structures. 

H

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

A standard definition here is “Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript.”

Web browsers receive HTML documents from a web server or from local storage and render the documents into multimedia web pages.

HTML informs the browser about the structure of the web page and how to display that page to the user. CSS helps to then style the page in a more design-friendly, formatted approach – adding, colours and textures to the rendering.

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