User Experience Terms & Definitions
What are Balsamiq Mockups?
A wireframing and interactive prototyping tool, available for both Windows and Mac.
What is a Beta launch?
The limited launch of a software product with the goal of finding bugs before final launch.
What is Branding?
The process of creating and marketing a consistent idea or image of a product, so that it is recognisable by the public.
What is Card Sorting?
A technique using either actual cards or software, whereby users generate an information hierarchy that can then form the basis of an information architecture or navigation menu.
What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
Software that allows publishing, editing and maintaining content from a central interface.
What is Collaborative design?
Inviting input from users, stakeholders and other project members.
What is Competitor analysis?
Performing an audit or conducting user testing of competing websites and apps; writing a report that summarises the competitive landscape.
What is Comparative analysis?
Performing an item by item comparison of two or more websites or apps to determine trends or patterns.
What is Content management?
The suite of processes and technologies that support the collection, management, and publication of information in any medium.
What is a Contextual enquiry?
Interviewing users in the location that they use the website or app, in order to understand their tasks and challenges.
What is a Content audit
Reviewing and cataloguing a client’s existing repository of content.
What is a Customer Journey Map
Holistic, visual representation of your users’ interactions with your organisation when zoomed right out (usually captured on a large canvas).
What is a design stage?
The stage in a user-centred design process where ideas for potential solutions are captured and refined visually, based on the analysis and research performed in earlier stages.
What is a Diary Study?
Asking users to record their experiences and thoughts about a product or task in a journal over a set period of time.
What is an Experience Map?
An experience map is an holistic, visual representation of your users’ interactions with your organisation when zoomed right out (usually captured on a large canvas.
What is a Heuristic review?
Evaluating a website or app and documenting usability flaws and other areas for improvement.
What is Human Computer Interaction (HCI)?
HCI involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people (users) and computers.
What is a High-fidelity prototype?
A prototype which is quite close to the final product, with lots of detail and a good indication of the final proposed aesthetics and functionality.
What is Human factor?
Also called ergonomics. The scientific discipline of studying interactions between humans and external systems, including human-computer interaction. When applied to design, the study of human factors seeks to optimise both human well-being and system performance.
What is Industrial design?
The application art and science to a product, in order to improve its aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and usability.
What is Information architecture (IA)?
The art and science of organising and labeling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability.
What is Information scent?
An important concept in information foraging theory referring to the extent to which users can predict what they will find if they persue a certain path through a website. As animals rely on scents to indicate the chances of finding food, so do humans rely on various cues in the information environment to acheieve their goals.
What is Interaction design (IxD)?
Sometimes referred to as IxD, interaction design strives to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use.
Interaction modelA design model that binds an application together in a way that supports the conceptual models of its target users. It defines how all of the objects and actions that are part of an application interrelate, in ways that mirror and support real-life user interactions.
What is the definition of Iterate?
The act of repeating a process with the aim of approaching a desired goal, target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called an iteration.
Iterative designA methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analysing, and refining a product or process. Based on the results of testing the most recent iteration of a design, changes are made. This process is intended to ultimately improve the quality and functionality of a design.
What is Lean UX?
Inspired by Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX speeds up the UX process by putting less emphasis on deliverables and greater focus on the actual experience being designed.
What is a Low-fidelity prototype?
A quick and easy translation of high-level design concepts into tangible and testable artefacts, giving an indication of the direction that the product is heading.
What is a Mood Board?
A collage, either physical or digital, which is intended to communicate the visual style a direction is heading.
What is Needfinding?
Needfinding is the art of talking to people and discovering their needs—both those they might explicitly state, and those hidden beneath the surface. It is only in truly understanding people that we can gain meaningful insights to inspire and inform a final, impactful design.
What is a Paper prototype?
A rough, often hand-sketched, drawing of a user interface, used in a usability test to gather feedback. Participants point to locations on the page that they would click, and screens are manually presented to the user based on the interactions they indicate.
What are Personas?
A fictitious identity that reflects one of the user groups for who you are designing.
What is the Production stage?
The stage at which the high-fidelity design is fleshed out, content and digital assets are created, and a high-fidelity version of the product is validated with stakeholders and end-users through user testing sessions. The role of the UX Designer shifts from creating and validating ideas to collaborating with developers to guide and champion the vision.
What is a Project kick-off?
The formally recognised start of a project.
What is Progressive disclosure?
An interactive design technique that helps maintain the focus of a user’s attention by reducing clutter, confusion, and cognitive workload. It improves usability by presenting only the minimum data required for the task at hand.
What is a clickable Prototype?
A rough guide for the layout of a website or app, giving an indication of the direction that the product is heading.
What are Questionnaires?
A research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents.
What is a Red route?
The frequent and critical activities that users will perform on your site. They are complete activities, not single tasks, and will probably require several pages to execute. Defining the red routes for your site means that you’ll be able to identify and eliminate any usability obstacles on the key user journeys.
What is Responsive design?
A design approach that responds to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries.
What is a Scenario?
A narrative describing “a day in the life of” one of your personas, and probably includes how your website or app fits into their lives.
Service designThe practice of designing a product according to the needs of users, so that the service is user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the users.
What is a Sitemap?
A complete list of all the pages available on a website.
What is the Strategy stage?
The stage during which the brand, guiding principles, and long-term vision of an organisation are articulated. The strategy underpinning a UX project will shape the goals of the project—what the organisation is hoping to achieve with the project, how its success should be measured, and what priority it should have in the grand scheme of things.
What is a Storyboard?
A tool inspired by the filmmaking industry, where a visual sequence of events is used to capture a user’s interactions with a product. Depending on the audience, it may be an extremely rough sketch, purely for crystallising your own ideas.
What is a Survey?
An online form designed to solicit feedback from current or potential users.
What are Stakeholder Interviews?
Conversations with the key contacts in the client organisation funding, selling, or driving the product.
What are Technical communications?
The practice of creating easily accessible information for a specific audience.
What is Usability?
Is the ease of use and learnability of an object, such as a book, software application, website, machine, tool or any object that a human interacts with.
What is Usability engineering?
The practice of assessing and making recommendations to improve the usability of a product.
What is User-centred design (UCD)?
A design process during which the needs of the user is considered at all times. Designers consider how a user is likely to use the product, and they then test the validity of their assumptions in real world tests with actual users.
What is the User feedback loop?
Ideas are put in front of users, who provide their feedback, which is used to refine the design, and then the process repeats.
What is a User journey?
The step by step journey that a user takes to reach their goal.
What is a User interview?
Used for understanding the tasks and motivations of the user group for whom you are designing, user interviews may be formally scheduled, or just informal chats.
What is User research?
Observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies which are used to focus on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations.
What is a Usability test?
A user sits in front of your website or app and you have them perform tasks and think out loud while doing so.
What is Visual design?
Also called communication design. A discipline which combines design and information development in order to develop and communicate a media message to a target audience.
What is the Waterfall model of software development?
A sequential design process where progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards through the phases of Conception > Initiation > Analysis > Design > Construction > Testing > Implementation > Maintenance.
What is a Wireframe?
A rough guide for the layout of a website or app, either done with pen and paper or with wireframing software.