This A-Z provides definitions for a broad range of terms linked to user experience, agile development, and digital transformation.
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The use of two different components to verify a user’s claimed identity. Also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
The 3-click rule is a persistent, unofficial heuristic that says that no page should take more than 3 clicks (or taps on a touchscreen) to access. While it is important to keep key information easily accessible, the 3-click rule is an arbitrary rule of thumb that is not backed by data.
A form of root-cause analysis that entails asking “why” (at least) a problem is occurring five times until the underlying causes of an outcome are understood.
The 5-second test is a simple usability technique to help designers gauge the audience’s first impressions of a webpage.
A/B testing involves comparing 2 different versions of a design to see which performs better. It helps you understand how the differences between the 2 versions affect users’ behaviour and outcomes.
Specific standards and functional requirements that a task or user story in the product backlog must meet before it is considered complete. Criteria are written in plain language and from the user’s perspective. They ensure that everyone involved in development, including UX, understands what to design or build and how it should work for users. Clear acceptance criteria prevent misunderstandings and delayed releases.
The design of products, devices, services, or environments where people are not excluded from using something on the basis of experiencing a disability. Accessibility means that people can do what they need to do in a similar amount of time and effort as someone that does not have a disability. It means that people are empowered, can be independent, and will not be frustrated by something that is poorly designed or implemented.
Adaptive design for websites uses multiple fixed layout sizes. The system detects the browser size and selects the most appropriate layout. This is a different approach to responsive design, which uses a single layout that adjusts in response to screen size.
The total size of the largest possible target market.
Affiliate marketing is the performance-based activity of promoting a product and earning a commission for every sale made. A typical scenario is when a retailer provides an online influencer with a trackable link to include in their social content. If someone then uses that link to buy a product, the retailer will pay the influencer a percentage of the final sale.
(Also known as affinity mapping, collaborative sorting, and snowballing). Affinity diagramming refers to organising related facts into distinct clusters.
An affordance is what a user can do with an object based on the user’s capabilities. Users will map the possibilities of what an object does according to their conceptual model of what that object should do.
A method for developing software and user experiences that emphasises collaboration and embracing change instead of following a linear, sequential plan, which is more common in Waterfall development. Working in Agile can be challenging for UX; however, factors such as involving UX early and ongoing, UX working directly with engineers and product managers, and a mindset focused on small slices of high-value research and design work can help make Agile more manageable.
The team that collaboratively delivers work on a product. It comprises 5–9 people with cross-functional skills such as UX research and design, content strategy and UX writing, product management, engineering, and others. It’s often best if UX roles are embedded on product-development teams rather than supporting multiple teams.
Alpha is where you try out different solutions to the problems you learnt about during discovery. Spend the alpha phase building prototypes and testing different ideas. And do not be afraid to challenge the way things are done at the moment: alpha is a chance to explore new approaches.
Analytics has emerged as a catch-all term for a variety of different business intelligence (BI) and application-related initiatives. For some, it is the process of analysing information from a particular domain, such as website analytics. For others, it is applying the breadth of BI capabilities to a specific content area (for example, sales, service, supply chain). In particular, BI vendors use the “analytics” moniker to differentiate their products from the competition. Increasingly, “analytics” is used to describe statistical and mathematical data analysis that clusters, segments, scores, and predicts what scenarios are most likely to happen. Whatever the use cases, “analytics” has moved deeper into the business vernacular. Analytics has garnered a burgeoning interest from business and IT professionals looking to exploit huge mounds of internally generated and externally available data.
An API, or application programming interface, is a set of defined rules that enable different applications to communicate with each other. It acts as an intermediary layer that processes data transfers between systems, letting companies open their application data and functionality to external third-party developers, business partners, and internal departments within their companies.
An application service provider (ASP) is defined as an enterprise that delivers application functionality and associated services across a network to multiple customers using a rental or usage-based transaction-pricing model. Gartner defines the ASP market as the delivery of standardised application software via a network, though not particularly or exclusively the Internet, through an outsourcing contract predicated on usage-based transaction pricing. The ASP market is composed of a mix of service providers (Web hosting and IT outsourcing), independent software vendors and network / telecommunications providers.
Archetypes summarise user research data. They are representations of audience clusters, capturing major areas of overlap in user behaviours, attitudes, motivations, pain points, and goals. Unlike Personas, archetypes refer to the user type merely by an abstract label that represents the defining behavioural or attitudinal characteristics of that user type.
Artificial intelligence (AI) applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, to interpret events, support and automate decisions, and take actions.
An assumption is basically a statement of something that we think is true. They are designed to generate common understanding around an idea that enables everyone to get started. It is fully understood that assumptions may not be correct and may be changed during the project as a better understanding develops within the team.
A feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that is caused by this.
Augmented reality (AR) is the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. It is this “real world” element that differentiates AR from virtual reality. AR integrates and adds value to the user’s interaction with the real world, versus a simulation.
Automated testing applies to commercially or internally developed software or services to assist in the testing process, including functional and load / stress testing. Automated tests provide consistent results and data points. The benefits are ease of maintenance, the ability to efficiently use resources in off-peak hours, and the capability to create reports based on the executed tests. Associated quality management tools include functionality for test planning, test case management and defect management (the governance piece of quality).
The percentage of the addressable market that could be captured in the future.
Average order value is a metric that measures the average amount that customers spend on a transaction with a retailer. It is calculated by dividing total revenue made during a certain time-period by the number of orders during the same time-period.
Back-end development comprises a website’s or application’s structure, system, data, and logic.
(Also known as product backlog). A repository of high-level requirements written as epics, user stories, and tasks. The development team references, estimates, and prioritises items in the product backlog as it completes work over time. The product backlog should include UX work, either as shared stories with engineering or as separate stories and tasks. Including UX work in the backlog helps prioritise it and enables the team to better anticipate collaboration points.
(Sometimes referred to as backlog grooming). A meeting where the team discusses tasks and user stories in the product backlog to prioritise and prepare for the next sprint planning. It helps keep the development team, including UX, informed and the backlog organised. Refinement usually happens halfway through a sprint. UX should attend and actively participate.
The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others in response to a particular situation or stimulus.
A helpful or good effect.
The beta phase is where you take your best idea from alpha and start building it for real. It also involves thinking about how your service will integrate with (or start to replace) existing services, and preparing for the transition to live.
Big data is high-volume, high-velocity and / or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.
A blockchain is an expanding list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records shared by all participants in a network. Each record contains a time stamp and reference links to previous transactions. With this information, anyone with access rights can trace back a transactional event, at any point in its history, belonging to any participant. A blockchain is one architectural design of the broader concept of distributed ledgers.
Brand architecture is the organisational framework a company uses to structure its brands, sub-brands, and products or services. The right brand architecture provides clarity around products or services and influences how brands and sub-brands relate to one another.
The most common brand architecture models are.
A branded house architecture combines several house brands under a single umbrella brand, leveraging the well-established master brand for its equity, awareness, and customer loyalty. For example:
- Apple: iWatch, iTV, iPhone, iPad, iMac, and more
- FedEx: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, and more
- Virgin: Virgin Mobile, Virgin Pulse, Virgin Money, and more.
House of brands:
A house of brands architecture downplays the master brand in order to feature the sub-brands. This structure allows the sub-brands to shine on their own because they aren't tied to the messaging, appearance, or positioning of the master brands. But it also increases the complexity because each brand has a distinct audience, brand identity, marketing strategy, and equity. For example:
- Procter & Gamble: Pampers, Tide, Bounty, Bounce, Dawn, Tampax, and more
- Yum! Brands: KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill PepsiCo: Pepsi, Lays, Quaker Oats, Gatorade, Aquafina, Tropicana, and more.
A hybrid brand architecture combines the house of brands and branded house models. The goal of this structure is for the sub-brands to have similar styles as the master brand while maintaining distinct brand identities.
Companies that use a hybrid architecture may mention the master brand in marketing, but most adopt this model as a way to keep the master and sub-brands separate after rounds of mergers and acquisitions. It's also a good approach for brands that want to cater to vastly different target audiences, like Marriott Bonvoy.
By taking a hybrid approach, the company maintains a diverse portfolio of brands that includes luxury hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton, alongside budget-friendly options, such as Residence Inn. For example:
- Alphabet: Google, Nest, YouTube, Fitbit, Waze, and more
- Microsoft: LinkedIn, Skype, GitHub, Mojang, and more
- Amazon: AmazonBasics, Presto!, Mama Bear, AmazonFresh, Zappos, and more
- Levi's: Levi's, Dockers, Denizen, and Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.
Another option for brand architecture is the endorsed brand model, which has a master brand and sub-brands that rely on an association with it. Each sub-brand benefits from the strength of the others because they all share the same endorsement.
Oftentimes, an endorsed brand incorporates the logo and colours of the master brand. Of course, this allows the sub-brand to leverage the reputation of the main brand for improved brand equity, awareness, and security. For example:
- Nescafe by Nestle
- Playstation by Sony
- Rice Krispies by Kellogs
- Polo by Ralph Lauren
Brand equity refers to a value premium that a company generates from a product with a recognisable name when compared to a generic equivalent. Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognisable, and superior in quality and reliability. Mass marketing campaigns also help to create brand equity. When a company has positive brand equity, customers willingly pay a high price for its products, even though they could get the same thing from a competitor for less.
Brand identity is the visible elements of a brand, such as colour, design, and logo, that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers’ minds.
The term brand personality refers to a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. It’s how you’d describe a brand if it were a person. A company’s brand personality should elicit a positive emotional response from a targeted consumer segment.
As the name ‘brand’ suggests, it’s about making your mark and standing out from the crowd. A brand promise is living up to your customers’ expectations…time and time again. A brand promise tells your company’s story, its values, and its future. A brand promise probably doesn’t even mention products at all. It sells an emotional connection, something intangible – which is probably why it is so hard to get right.
A brand story is a summary of your company’s history, mission, purpose, and values, with a narrative structure that brings it to life.
While a brand’s logo, name and look are important to defining a business, a brand strategy goes beyond this visual creative into the brand’s intentional ideology. The elements of a successful brand strategy should include careful consideration of what differentiates the brand and the story it communicates with the consumer. These include: Purpose, Mission, Identity, Values, Voice, Story, Uniqueness, Emotion, Visual, and Written Communication.
Breadcrumbs are an important navigational element that supports wayfinding — making users aware of their current location within the hierarchical structure of a website. Breadcrumbs are a list of links representing the current page and its “ancestors” (parent page, grandparent page, and so on), typically going all the way back to the site homepage.
A software application which presents information and services from the web.
A line chart representing remaining work over time and capturing whether the team is on track for completion. UX can use burn-down charts to reprioritise, align, or adjust work with engineers accordingly.
Business analysts help teams to analyse and understand a business problem or opportunity.
A business model is a description of how an organisation creates, delivers and captures value. It has a formal structure that consists of four basic components: the value proposition, customers, a financial model, and capabilities.
A part of a company that operates as a separate part of the whole business.
Business-to-business (B2B), also called B-to-B, is a form of transaction between businesses, such as one involving a manufacturer and wholesaler, or a wholesaler and a retailer. Business-to-business refers to business that is conducted between companies, rather than between a company and individual consumer.
The term business-to-consumer (B2C) refers to the process of selling products and services directly between a business and consumers who are the end-users of its products or services. Most companies that sell directly to consumers can be referred to as B2C companies.
A button initiates an instantaneous action.
A call-to-action is a marketing message or line of copy that aims to persuade the user to immediately take a specific action.
Carousels allow multiple pieces of content to occupy a single, coveted space on a webpage.
Cart or basket abandonment rate refers to the ratio of shoppers who add items to their cart but abandon the web page before they check out. It is calculated by dividing the number of completed transactions by the overall number of shopping carts created.
A channel is where an interaction takes place. It might be via mail (if you send out a flyer or letter), it might be in the media (advertising), online (on your site or indeed on someone else’s site), physically (at a bricks and mortar location), etc.
The characteristics of a person or thing are the qualities or features that belong to them and make them recognisable.
A chatbot is a domain-specific conversational interface that uses an app, messaging platform, social network or chat solution for its conversations. Chatbots vary in sophistication, from simple, decision-tree-based marketing stunts, to implementations built on feature-rich platforms. They are always narrow in scope. A chatbot can be text – or voice-based, or a combination of both.
Checkboxes are used when there are lists of options and the user may select any number of choices, including zero, one, or several. In other words, each checkbox is independent of all other checkboxes in the list, so checking one box doesn’t uncheck the others.
The checkout process refers to the various steps a customer takes when completing a purchase online, starting from when the customer clicks ‘checkout’ or ‘buy now’ all the way through to the order confirmation page. The checkout process usually include reviewing an order, inputting billing and delivery information, as well as entering payment details.
Churn rate is the rate at which a company loses customers over a pre-defined period of time, e.g. annually.
Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of individuals viewing a web page who view and then click on a specific advertisement that appears on that page. Click-through rates measure how successful an ad has been in capturing users’ attention. The higher the click-through rate, the more successful the ad has been in generating interest. To calculate a click-through rate, take the number of times an ad is clicked on and divide it by the total number of impressions. Then take that amount and multiply it by 100 to get a percentage, which is the click-through rate.
In web development, ‘client side’ refers to everything in a web application that is displayed or takes place on the client (end user) device. This includes what the user sees, such as text, images, and the rest of the UI, along with any actions that an application performs within the user’s browser.
Closed-ended questions can be answered with “Yes” or “No,” or they have a limited set of possible answers (such as: A, B, C, or All of the Above).
Where shared compute and storage resources are accessed as a service (usually online), instead of hosted locally on physical services. Resources can include infrastructure, platform, or software services.
Cloud hosting makes applications and websites accessible using cloud resources. Unlike traditional hosting, solutions are not deployed on a single server. Instead, a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers hosts the application or website, ensuring greater flexibility and scalability.
Component libraries (also known as design libraries) are what many people associate with design systems: these thorough libraries house predetermined, reusable UI elements and serve as a one-stop shop for designers and developers alike to learn about and implement specific UI elements. Creating these libraries takes significant time and resources. In addition to visual examples of components, they include:
Component name: a specific and unique UI component name, to avoid miscommunication between designers and developers
Description: a clear explanation for what this element is and how it is typically used, occasionally accompanied by do’s and don’ts for context and clarification
Attributes: variables or adjustments that can be made to customize or adapt the component for specific needs (i.e., color, size, shape, copy)
State: recommended defaults and the subsequent changes in appearance
Code snippets: the actual code excerpt for the element (some design systems go as far as sharing multiple examples and offering a “sandbox” environment to try out different component customizations)
Front-end & backend frameworks to implement the library (if applicable), to avoid painful and unnecessary debugging
A component is a reusable block of code that can stand alone or form part of multiple UI patterns–for example, a button. A component library is a collection of UI components within a design system.
People tend to prefer information that confirms their existing beliefs and to undervalue information that contradicts their beliefs. With the appropriate research methods, confirmation bias can be recognised and avoided in UX design.
A freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data. The UK GDPR sets a high standard for consent, which must be unambiguous and involve a clear affirmative action (an opt-in). It specifically bans pre-ticked opt-in boxes. It also requires distinct (‘granular’) consent options for distinct processing operations. Consent should be separate from other terms and conditions and should not generally be a precondition of signing up to a service.
A consumer is anyone that consumes a product or service.
The principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website.
A content audit examines, assesses, and evaluates the quality of the content listed in a content inventory. Audits uncover content that needs updating, where gaps exist that new content could fill, and if certain pieces of content are ready for removal.
Content governance is the big-picture management of content across the organization. It helps you to make sure that every piece of content is on-message and good quality.
A content inventory is a list of every piece of digital content you currently have, captured at either the page or asset level. It includes specific characteristics about each piece.
A content management system is a software application, or a set of tools and capabilities, that allows you to create, manage, and deliver content via digital channels.
An effective content strategy helps prioritise and focus content planning, creation, and management efforts by drawing a direct connection between those efforts, the business goals they support, and success metrics.
Generally refers to the combination of user identity, environmental, process, and community-based information about the customer, leading to real-time offers, delivered at the right time via the right touchpoint, and valuable to the customer. Refers to meanings that are clear to the sender or receiver (e.g., application or person), either because they are stated elsewhere in the message or because they have been predefined (e.g., the number “30” means “30 pounds of flour” in one message and “30 cases of orange soda” in another message). The sender and receiver may interpret meaning differently (i.e., different contexts). For example, “customer” could be the party that pays the freight bill in a billing application, but the receiver of the item (which might not be the payer) in a warehousing application.
Users, tasks, equipment (hardware, software and materials), and the physical and social environments in which a product is used.
1) something that might possibly happen in the future, usually causing problems or making further arrangements necessary.
2) an arrangement for dealing with something that might possibly happen or cause problems in the future.
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors to a site who end up completing a desired action out of the total number of visitors. In the context of ecommerce, a conversion usually refers to the completion of a purchase, but it can also mean email sign-ups or content downloads.
Conversion rate optimisation is the process of optimising a digital touch point in order to increase the likelihood of visitors completing a purchase.
An online advertising metric which refers to advertising spending divided by the number of recipients who click on the message (e.g., a banner ad on a website or a link embedded in e-mail message).
Cross-selling is a sales tactic that involves recommending related or additional items to the customer (based on the initial item they are buying). The aim is to increase the overall value of the order placed.
Current state analysis (also known as as-is process analysis) is a process management strategy that identifies and evaluates a business’s current processes.
A customer is a person who makes a purchase, whereas a consumer is anyone that consumes a product or service.
Customer experience (CX) refers to how a business engages with its customers at every point of their buying journey—from marketing to sales to customer service and everywhere in between. In large part, it’s the sum total of all interactions a customer has with your brand.
In its most basic form, journey mapping starts by compiling a series of user goals and actions into a timeline skeleton. Next, the skeleton is fleshed out with user thoughts and emotions in order to create a narrative. Finally, that narrative is condensed into a visualisation used to communicate insights that will inform design processes.
The customer lifecycle refers to the process of prospects becoming aware of a product, making a purchase from a brand, and ideally becoming a company’s longtime customer. The process is made up of five stages: reach, acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty.
Customer retention is the process of retaining your existing customers (i.e. encouraging those who have previously converted to return again).
Customer segmentation is the process of grouping customers according to how and why they buy. It allows organisations to create more specific sales and marketing strategies for customer groups. These segmentation strategies help improve seller effectiveness and increase customer understanding, specifically around buying behaviours and unmet customer needs.
Customisation is done by the user. A system may enable users to customize or make changes to the experience to meet their specific needs by configuring layout, content, or system functionality. Customisation may involve moving items around an interface to reflect the users’ priorities, selecting topics of interest, or altering colours or other factors related to the visual design of an interface, for example.
Cyber security is how individuals and organisations reduce the risk of cyber attack. Cyber security’s core function is to protect the devices we all use (smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers), and the services we access – both online and at work – from theft or damage. It’s also about preventing unauthorised access to the vast amounts of personal information stored on these devices, and online.
(Also referred to as daily scrum). A team meeting that happens at the same time every day and that usually lasts 15 minutes or less. Team members share yesterday’s progress, what they plan to do today to make progress, and any blockers inhibiting progress toward the sprint goal. UX should attend daily standups to stay aligned with the development team’s progress, communicate any design or research-related blockers, and provide updates on user research and design decisions.
Deceptive patterns (also known as dark patterns) are tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn’t mean to, like buying or signing up for something.
The natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data.
A ‘processor’ means a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller. A processor might wish to sub-contract all or some of the processing to another processor. For shorthand this is sometimes referred to as using a ‘sub-processor’, although this term is not taken from the UK GDPR itself.
The UK GDPR requires you to put in place appropriate technical and organisational measures to implement the data protection principles effectively and safeguard individual rights. This is ‘data protection by design and by default’. Data protection by design is about considering data protection and privacy issues upfront in everything you do. It can help you ensure that you comply with the UK GDPR’s fundamental principles and requirements, and forms part of the focus on accountability. This concept is not new. Previously known as ‘privacy by design’, it has always been part of data protection law. The key change with the UK GDPR is that it is now a legal requirement.
A data warehouse is a storage architecture designed to hold data extracted from transaction systems, operational data stores and external sources. The warehouse then combines that data in an aggregate, summary form suitable for enterprisewide data analysis and reporting for predefined business needs.
The five components of a data warehouse are: 1. Production data sources 2. Data extraction and conversion 3. Data warehouse database management system 4. Data warehouse administration 5. Business intelligence (BI) tools
A database is an organised collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system. A database is usually controlled by a database management system (DBMS). Together, the data and the DBMS, along with the applications that are associated with them, are referred to as a database system, often shortened to just database. Data within the most common types of databases in operation today is typically modeled in rows and columns in a series of tables to make processing and data querying efficient. The data can then be easily accessed, managed, modified, updated, controlled, and organised. Most databases use structured query language (SQL) for writing and querying data.
An example of a product that is not yet ready to be sold.
The study of people and society in a particular area or particular group, typically used in marketing to decide which products to sell there and how to advertise those products successfully.
Project dependencies, also called task dependencies, are relationships between tasks based on their sequence. Dependent tasks require one or more other tasks to be completed or started before the team can start work on them.
Deployment services support the implementation and rollout of new applications or infrastructure. Activities may include hardware or software procurement, configuration, tuning, staging, installation and interoperability testing.
– to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan.
– to conceive and plan out in the mind.
– to devise for a specific function or end.
Design ethics concerns moral behaviour and responsible choices in the practice of design. It guides how designers work with clients, colleagues, and the end users of products, how they conduct the design process, how they determine the features of products, and how they assess the ethical significance or moral worth of the products that result from the activity of designing.
Ethical considerations have always played a role in design thinking, but the development of scientific knowledge and technology has deepened awareness of the consequences of design for individuals, societies, cultures, and the natural environment.
Design sprints are an intense 5-day process where user-centered teams tackle design problems. Working with expert insights, teams ideate, prototype and test solutions on selected users. Google’s design sprint is the framework to map out challenges, explore solutions, pick the best ones, create a prototype and test it.
A design system is a complete set of standards intended to manage design at scale by using reusable components and patterns while creating a shared language and visual consistency across different pages and channels.
Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation—anchored in understanding customer’s needs, rapid prototyping, and generating creative ideas—that will transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and organisations.
A product that people want or need.
An object or machine that has been invented for a particular purpose.
DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasises people (and culture), and it seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilise technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective.
A Digital asset management (DAM) system is a platform that allows anyone within the same organisation to upload, tag, or categorise digital assets.
Digital disruption is an effect that changes the fundamental expectations and behaviours in a culture, market, industry or process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels or assets.
The gap in opportunities experienced by those with limited accessibility to technology, especially the internet. This includes, but is not limited to, accessibility challenges in the following areas: Cultural (e.g., membership of a community that prohibits or restricts access to technology), Physical (e.g., having a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to use a computer), Economic (e.g., being unable to afford a computer), Educational (e.g., not knowing how to use a computer).
A digital ecosystem is an interdependent group of enterprises, people and/or things that share standardised digital platforms for a mutually beneficial purpose, such as commercial gain, innovation or common interest. Digital ecosystems enable you to interact with customers, partners, adjacent industries ‒ and even your competition.
A digital experience platform (DXP) is an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimisation of contextualised digital experiences.
A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is an encapsulated software object or model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organisation, person or other abstraction. Data from multiple digital twins can be aggregated for a composite view across a number of real-world entities, such as a power plant or a city, and their related processes.
Digitalisation is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.
Simply put, a domain name (or just ‘domain’) is the name of a website. It’s what comes after ‘@’ in an email address, or after ‘www.’ in a web address. If someone asks how to find you online, what you tell them is usually your domain name.
A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) is a process to help you identify and minimise the data protection risks of a project. You must do a DPIA for processing that is likely to result in a high risk to individuals. This includes some specified types of processing.
Accuracy and completeness with which users achieve specified goals.
An empathy map is a collaborative visualisation used to articulate what we know about a particular type of user. It externalises knowledge about users in order to 1) create a shared understanding of user needs, and 2) aid in decision making. Traditional empathy maps are split into 4 quadrants (Says, Thinks, Does, and Feels), with the user or persona in the middle. Empathy maps provide a glance into who a user is as a whole and are not chronological or sequential.
A mathematical function that protects information by making it unreadable by everyone except those with the key to decode it.
Collective term to describe modern smartphones, laptops and tablets that connect to an organisation’s network.
The end-user is the person ultimately intended to use a product. They may not have the technical know-how or skill of the product’s administrators or designers.
A large user story that the development team divides into smaller stories and tasks to complete over time and across multiple sprints. Epics help UX prioritise discovery and coordinate design work.
Information that appears on a computer screen or other device to state that you have made a mistake or that something has gone wrong in a program.
Ethical design refers to design that resists manipulative patterns, respects data privacy, encourages co-design, and is accessible and human-centered. Currently, no universally sanctioned framework exists.
Evaluative research can be defined as a research method used for assessing a specific problem to ensure usability and ground it in the wants, needs, and desires of real people.
Anything that helps to prove that something is or is not true.
The process of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something.
Eye tracking, also called “gaze tracking,” involves determining the angle or position of a user’s visual attention, usually through the use of cameras.
Faceted navigation is a filtering tool that allows users to select various combinations of attributes in order to narrow down their search for a product.
A factor is one of the things that affects an event, decision, or situation.
A product that can be created.
Something that makes a product, machine, or system different, and usually better, than others of a similar type.
The fidelity of the prototype refers to how closely it matches the look-and-feel of the final system. Fidelity can vary in the areas of: interactivity, visuals, content and commands. A prototype may have high or low fidelity in all or some of the above 3 areas.
The fidelity of the prototype refers to how closely it matches the look-and-feel of the final system. Fidelity can vary in the areas of: interactivity, visuals, content and commands. A prototype may have high or low fidelity in all or some of the above 3 areas.
A descriptive word or phrase for a field in a record, such as ‘surname’, ‘postcode’, etc.
A Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) standard used to log onto a network, list directories and copy files. That is, it provides authentication of the user and lets users transfer files, list directories, delete and rename files on the foreign host, and perform wild-card transfers.
Hardware or software which uses a defined rule set to constrain network traffic to prevent unauthorised access to or from a network.
First-Click Testing shows you where users start their journey. Users are given a task and are asked to click on a design representation to indicate where they’d start. The design representation could be nothing more than a pencil sketch through to wireframes or nearly-finished screenshots.
A fixed price approach can be more expensive because the supplier owns most of the risk. It works best when your requirements are well defined so the supplier can provide an accurate quote without incorporating extra costs. The supplier must do all the work you specify in each particular statement of work within the time you agreed it would take.
A collection of letters, numbers, punctuation, and other symbols used to set text (or related) matter. Although font and typeface are often used interchangeably, font refers to the physical embodiment (whether it’s a case of metal pieces or a computer file) while typeface refers to the design (the way it looks). A font is what you use, and a typeface is what you see.
Front-end development focuses on the visual aspects of a website or application — the part that users see and interact with.
A full-stack designer is a designer that gets involved at every stage of the user experience design process, from research to implementation.
Functional requirements describe ways a product must behave.
Future state analysis (also known as to-be process analysis) is a process management strategy that maps how a business wants their processes to work in the future.
Future state analysis (also known as, to-be process analysis) is a process management strategy that maps how a business wants their processes to work in the future.
Gamification is the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. It is important to distinguish gamification from video games and loyalty programs, as gamification uses techniques from behavioural science to “nudge” people into achieving their goals.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organisations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. The regulation was put into effect on May 25, 2018.
Generative research is defined as a method of research that helps researchers develop a deeper understanding of users in order to find opportunities for solutions and innovation. Sometimes referred to as discovery or exploratory research.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan that details how an organisation can engage with customers to convince them to buy their product or service and to gain a competitive advantage. A GTM strategy includes tactics related to pricing, sales and channels, the buying journey, new product or service launches, product rebranding or product introduction to a new market.
A purpose, or something that you want to achieve.
A group of people or things is a number of people or things which are together in one place at one time.
A heatmap is a two-dimensional visual representation of data using colours, where the colours all represent different values.
Help text provides either an informative description or an error message that gives more context about what a user needs to input. It’s commonly used in forms.
A heuristic is a fast and practical way to solve problems or make decisions. In user experience (UX) design, professional evaluators use heuristic evaluation to systematically determine a design’s / product’s usability.
The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.
High-fidelity prototypes are computer-based, and usually allow realistic (mouse-keyboard) user interactions. High-fidelity prototypes take you as close as possible to a true representation of the user interface.
How Might We (HMW) questions are the best way to open up Brainstorm and other Ideation sessions.
The How Might We question purposely maintains a level of ambiguity, and opens up the exploration space to a range of possibilities.
“How” suggests that we do not yet have the answer. “How” helps us set aside prescriptive briefs. “How” helps us explore a variety of endeavors instead of merely executing on what we “think” the solution should be.
“Might” emphasises that our responses may only be possible solutions, not the only solution. “Might” also allows for the exploration of multiple possible solutions, not settling for the first that comes to mind.
“We” immediately brings in the element of a collaborative effort. “We” suggests that the idea for the solution lies in our collective teamwork.
Human-centered design is an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, and usability knowledge and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use on human health, safety and performance.
Hybrid cloud combines and unifies public cloud, private cloud and on-premises infrastructure to create a single, flexible, cost-optimal IT infrastructure.
Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a graphical depiction of a common pattern that arises with each new technology or other innovation. Each year, Gartner creates more than 90 Hype Cycles in various domains as a way for clients to track technology maturity and future potential. The five phases in the Hype Cycle are Technology: Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment and Plateau of Productivity.
A hypothesis is an assumption, an idea that is proposed for the sake of argument so that it can be tested to see if it might be true. In the scientific method, the hypothesis is constructed before any applicable research has been done, apart from a basic background review. You ask a question, read up on what has been studied before, and then form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is usually tentative; it’s an assumption or suggestion made strictly for the objective of being tested.
Icons are a visual representation of an object, action, or idea.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a security and business discipline that includes multiple technologies and business processes to help the right people or machines to access the right assets at the right time for the right reasons, while keeping unauthorised access and fraud at bay.
Infinite scrolling is a listing-page design approach which loads content continuously as the user scrolls down. It eliminates the need for pagination.
An infographic is a chart, diagram, or illustration that uses graphic elements to present information in a visually striking way.
A website’s (or intranet’s) information architecture has two main components:
– identification and definition of site content and functionality
– the underlying organisation, structure and nomenclature that define the relationships between a site’s content/functionality.
IA is documented in spreadsheets and diagrams, not in wireframes, comprehensive layouts (known as comps), or prototypes.
The protection of information and information systems from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Inline links are a design pattern that uses hyperlinked words—conventionally blue, underlined words—to guide users to another page containing related information.
Insights are patterns in the observations we make in the world. They give us an understanding of a specific cause and effect within a specific context. They help us explain our observations.
Interaction design is the design of the interaction between users and products. Most often when people talk about interaction design, the products tend to be software products like apps or websites. The goal of interaction design is to create products that enable the user to achieve their objective(s) in the best way possible.
An interaction design pattern is a general repeatable solution to a commonly-occurring usability problem in interface design or interaction design.
A single global (web)site to support all users.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
An IP address is a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network. IP stands for “Internet Protocol,” which is the set of rules governing the format of data sent via the internet or local network. In essence, IP addresses are the identifier that allows information to be sent between devices on a network: they contain location information and make devices accessible for communication. The internet needs a way to differentiate between different computers, routers, and websites. IP addresses provide a way of doing so and form an essential part of how the internet works.
Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. Design for patterns for which users are accustomed.
Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) is a framework based on the idea that whenever users “hire” (i.e., use) a product, they do it for a specific “job” (i.e., to achieve a particular outcome). The set of “jobs” for the product amounts to a comprehensive list of user needs.
A framework for developing products in which development-team members pull work from a Kanban board with columns representing work phases (e.g., to do, doing, done). The process, from the definition of a task to its delivery to the user, is displayed for all to see. Its visual and flexible nature eases prioritisation and task tracking.
A methodology of classifying customer needs according to whether they are “delighters,” “satisfiers” or “dissatisfiers.”
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements of the improvement or deterioration in the performance of an activity critical to the success of a business. You can use them to measure essential activities of your business so that you can see how these activities influence business results.
Key results are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards an objective. For each objective, you should have a set of two to five key results.
Target market segments that have been deemed to be a high-priority.
is an actionable problem statement used to summarise who a particular user is, the user’s need, and why the need is important to that user. It defines what you want to solve before you move on to generating potential solutions, in order to 1) condense your perspective on the problem, and 2) provide a metric for success to be used throughout the design thinking process.
A landing page on a website is a standalone webpage that potential customers can ‘land’ on when they click through from an email, search engine, or other marketing campaign. Landing pages are typically designed to encourage visitors to take a particular action when they arrive.
Measure of the responsiveness of a network, often expressed as the round-trip time (in milliseconds); that is, the time between initiating a network request and receiving a response. High latency tends to have more impact than bandwidth on the end-user experience in interactive applications, such as Web browsing. Low latency is required for many next-generation IP applications, such as VoIP, video telephony and PTT. See also round-trip time (RTT).
A collection of methods and frameworks emphasising rapid prototyping and experimentation, collaboration, and iterative design. It aims to minimise waste and maximise learning by focusing on delivering value to users as quickly as possible. The Lean UX process involves testing hypotheses directly with users and refining designs based on early user feedback. By testing early and often, development teams create products that are more likely to succeed. UX should lead testing efforts to ensure real user needs and feedback drive design decisions. UX should also be receptive to feedback and willing to adjust designs based on new information or requirement changes.
For 3D products; create quick and simple prototypes of your ideas. The best part of using Lego pieces to build your prototypes is that they become easy to dismantle and tweak; simply detach a part of your Lego prototype, swap it with an alternative design and play with it to see if it works.
A lightbox is a component that pops up on the screen when a user clicks to enlarge an image. Usually, in a gallery view, the pictures aren’t big enough to see all the details, so you can use a lightbox effect to display a single image at a larger size.
The live phase is about supporting the service in a sustainable way, and continuing to iterate and make improvements.
Load tests help you understand how a system behaves under an expected load. They are designed to ensure that you meet user expectations, such as service level agreement (SLA) promises. The goal is to ensure an acceptable overall user experience rather than try to break the application.
Local navigation is a type of navigation that is contextual to the user’s current location — showing sibling pages within the current category, and if applicable, the children or nieces and nephews of the current page.
Local (web)sites in each important customer locale.
Low-fidelity prototypes let us test ideas quickly and cheaply, which makes them useful during the early divergent stages of the design process, when we want to create and test as many ideas as we can. Since they require less time to create, we are less likely to get attached to them, so they allow us to discard bad ideas more easily than high-fidelity prototypes do.
Examples; Sketches, Paper prototypes, Lego prototypes, Wireframes, Wizard of OZ prototypes.
Advanced machine learning algorithms are composed of many technologies (such as deep learning, neural networks and natural language processing), used in unsupervised and supervised learning, that operate guided by lessons from existing information.
(Also called: global navigation, primary navigation, main nav). The main navigation generally represents the top-level pages of a site’s structure—or the pages just below the home page. The links in the main navigation are expected to lead to pages within the site and behave in a very consistent way.
A managed service provider (MSP) delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customers’ premises, in their MSP’s data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center. MSPs may deliver their own native services in conjunction with other providers’ services (for example, a security MSP providing sys admin on top of a third-party cloud IaaS). Pure-play MSPs focus on one vendor or technology, usually their own core offerings. Many MSPs include services from other types of providers. The term MSP traditionally was applied to infrastructure or device-centric types of services but has expanded to include any continuous, regular management, maintenance and support.
Market share is the portion of the addressable market that uses a vendor product or service.
The marketing funnel stages differ by model because businesses create funnels to suit their needs. For example, business-to-business and business-to-consumer customer journeys tend to work differently.
One of the most commonly used models is AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
Sometimes these are more granular, for example: Discovery, Define, Evaluation, Purchase, Loyalty, Advocacy.
However, you can simplify any marketing funnel into three stages: 1. Top of the funnel (ToFu): People become aware of the problem you can solve 2. Middle of the funnel (MoFu): Prospects want a solution and consider their options 3. Bottom of the funnel (BoFu): Prospects decide on a solution and become customers
A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.
A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
Business people tend to use the term ‘market’ to describe the groups of individuals or organisations that make up the pool of actual and potential customers for their goods and services. These groups fall into one or more of the following categories: geographic, demographic or socioeconomic, psychographic, behavioural or sectoral.
A measurement of success framework should define quantifiable indicators that demonstrate how well an organisation, team, product, service or even a feature is performing against critical business objectives. They should provide any stakeholder with a clear understanding of how something will be measured and what is needed in order to properly track success factors.
Measurements of success frameworks consist of;
Metrics: a quantifiable measure,
Key performance indicators (KPIs): a metric that is aligned to a critical need, objective, or outcome.
A mental model is what the user believes about the system at hand.
Note the two important elements of this definition:
– A mental model is based on belief, not facts: that is, it’s a model of what users know (or think they know) about a system such as your website. Hopefully, users’ thinking is closely related to reality because they base their predictions about the system on their mental models and thus plan their future actions based on how that model predicts the appropriate course. It’s a prime goal for designers to make the user interface communicate the system’s basic nature well enough that users form reasonably accurate (and thus useful) mental models.
– Individual users each have their own mental model. A mental model is internal to each user’s brain, and different users might construct different mental models of the same user interface. Further, one of usability’s big dilemmas is the common gap between designers’ and users’ mental models. Because designers know too much, they form wonderful mental models of their own creations, leading them to believe that each feature is easy to understand. Users’ mental models of the UI are likely to be somewhat more deficient, making it more likely for people to make mistakes and find the design much more difficult to use.
Finally, mental models are in flux exactly because they’re embedded in a brain rather than fixed in an external medium. Additional experience with the system can obviously change the model, but users might also update their mental models based on stimuli from elsewhere, such as talking to other users or even applying lessons from other systems.
Information describing the characteristics of data including, for example, structural metadata describing data structures (e.g., data format, syntax, and semantics) and descriptive metadata describing data contents (e.g., information security labels).
A metaverse is a collective virtual 3D shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. A metaverse is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences. Gartner expects that a complete metaverse will be device-independent, and will not be owned by a single vendor: It will have a virtual economy of itself, enabled by digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
A system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity.
A metric is a quantifiable measure of behavior observed and collected from your systems, tools, and processes. Metrics provide data points that help you track and assess the performance of your processes, products, and teams.
Micro-content is a type of UX copywriting in the form of short text fragments or phrases, often presented with no additional contextual support. Micro-content usually communicates key messages in a concise form: it can be used to describe an article or long blog post, add clarity to an interface, or encourage a desired behavior.
Is the process of moving content from one system to another.
A Mind Map is a diagram for representing tasks, words, concepts, or items linked to and arranged around a central concept or subject using a non-linear graphical layout that allows the user to build an intuitive framework around a central concept.
The simplest definition is that an MVP must be the simplest core feature set of any product that allows it to be deployed and absolutely nothing more. However, the most popular definition is; “The smallest thing that you can build that delivers customer value (and as a bonus captures some of the value back).”
A Mission statement describes an organisation’s reason for existence.
Steps that organisations and individuals can take to minimise and address risks.
Mobile first is a design approach that aims to improve the user experience by embracing the constraints of smaller screens and focusing on what’s indispensable for users.
Mock-ups are used by designers mainly to acquire feedback from users about designs and design ideas early in the design process. Mock-ups are ‘very early prototypes’ made of cardboard or otherwise low-fidelity materials.
Modals, like pop-ups, are components that pop up on a user’s screen, with the rest of the screen faded in the background.. The key difference, however, is that the user would have initiated the action as part of their journey. Modals are used for specific workflows such as adding users, deleting content, sharing content, adding content, and more.
Moderated testing is a form of usability testing where a UX researcher, or moderator, helps facilitate the study alongside test participant(s). During this qualitative research type, the moderator works directly with the test contributor, guiding them through the study and answering questions in real time if the contributor encounters any challenges while completing their tasks.
With multichannel marketing, a brand sells its product or service via multiple channels. However, these channels are segmented and operate independently of each other. Multichannel campaigns allow for each channel to operate using separate strategies. This means you might have different promotions on each channel, so cross-channel promotions are less common — and so is consistency across channels.
Multitenancy is a reference to the mode of operation of software where multiple independent instances of one or multiple applications operate in a shared environment. The instances (tenants) are logically isolated, but physically integrated. The degree of logical isolation must be complete, but the degree of physical integration will vary. The more physical integration, the harder it is to preserve the logical isolation. The tenants (application instances) can be representations of organisations that obtained access to the multitenant application (this is the scenario of an ISV offering services of an application to multiple customer organisations). The tenants may also be multiple applications competing for shared underlying resources (this is the scenario of a private or public cloud where multiple applications are offered in a common cloud environment).
A multivariate test (MVT) is a design-optimisation method in which multiple variants of specified variables are tested in a user interface, with the goal of maximising conversions (either major conversions like completing an order, or micro conversions like interacting with a feature on a page). This method determines which combination of the variants results in the highest performing design (in terms of the conversion goal specified).
A need is a requirement for something because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a company’s product or services to friends or colleagues by asking “How likely are you to recommend [the company or product] to a friend or colleague?”.
(Also known as quality attributes). Non – functional requirements describe the general software characteristics.
An objective is a description of what you want to achieve. It should be based on a measurable business outcome. Objectives are often combined with Key results.
The percentage of the addressable market we can realistically capture (reach, engage, service) given existing capabilities and constraints.
Offshoring is a specific type of outsourcing in which jobs or organisational functions are relocated from one country to another, often with the goal of reducing labor costs.
An OKR (objective and associated key results) is a popular management strategy that defines objectives and tracks results. It helps create alignment and engagement around measurable goals. Introduced and popularized in the 1970s at Intel, it has since spread throughout technology companies as a way to help employees understand and be engaged in an enterprise’s charter.
Omnichannel marketing is when businesses integrate multiple channels to create a seamless purchasing experience for their customers. Omnichannel ensures quality no matter where, when, or how customers interact with your brand. With omnichannel marketing, you create unified messaging, promotions, and campaigns across all channels at the same time. No matter where and when customers interact with your brand, they’ll have a consistent, frictionless experience. Done right, omnichannel ensures customers receive relevant, useful offers based on their interests and history with your company.
An on-premise server is a physical, on-site server that a company must manage and maintain individually.
Open-ended questions are questions that allow someone to give a free-form answer.
Open source describes software that comes with permission to use, copy and distribute, either as is or with modifications, and that may be offered either free or with a charge. The source code must be made available.
The cost of making one choice concerning the use of limited resources at the expense of an alternative choice.
The result or effect of an action or situation.
Pagination is the process of splitting the contents of a website, or a section of contents from a website, into discrete pages.
Pain points are problems that occur at the different levels of the customer experience: interaction level, customer-journey level, or relationship level. UX resources should be prioritised to find and fix the most painful issues.
Paper prototyping is a process where design teams create paper representations of digital products to help them realise concepts and test designs.
A pattern is a group of components that designers use to solve usability issues–for example, a navbar with a logo, links, search form, and CTA button. A pattern library is a collection of UI patterns within a design system.
We need to be able to set performance goals from the start of a project, and know how they are going to measure them. A performance framework is a tool that can be used to help facilitate this.
Personalisation is done by the system being used. Developers set up the system to identify users and deliver to them the content, experience, or functionality that matches their role. Personalisation can be done down at the individual level (e.g., Amazon.com’s suggestions based on past browsing and purchase history), or at group or audience level (e.g., an intranet displaying information specific to those in a certain location or a certain role, such as a job function).
Personas are fictional characters, which you create based upon your research in order to represent the different user types that might use your service, product, site, or brand in a similar way. Creating personas helps the designer to understand users’ needs, experiences, behaviours and goals.
A pixel is a single rectangular point in a larger graphic image composed of many rectangular points. Computer monitors can display pictures because the screen is divided into millions of pixels arranged in rows and columns. Pixels are so close together that from a distance they appear to be connected.
The placeholder attribute specifies a short hint that describes the expected value of an input field (e.g. a sample value or a short description of the expected format).
The short hint is displayed in the input field before the user enters a value.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a type of cloud offering that delivers application infrastructure (middleware) capabilities as a service.
A pop-up is a component that appears to pop up, with the rest of the screen faded in the background. They usually display marketing material. This could include discount codes, sign-up calls to action, or even advertising for a sale. Usually, pop-ups will only appear on page load, especially on landing pages.
In statistics, a population is an entire group about which some information is required to be ascertained. A statistical population need not consist only of people. We can have population of heights, weights, BMIs, haemoglobin levels, events, outcomes, so long as the population is well defined with explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria.
In selecting a population for study, the research question or purpose of the study will suggest a suitable definition of the population to be studied, in terms of location and restriction to a particular age group, sex or occupation. The population must be fully defined so that those to be included and excluded are clearly spelt out (inclusion and exclusion criteria).
A situation, person, or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved.
The process of buying goods and services including dealing with: demand, selection of suppliers, analysing and negotiating prices, making the purchase, and managing payments.
A product is something sold to fulfill a customer’s desire or requirement, whether it’s tangible e.g. durable goods (such as furniture, cars, and electronics) or nondurable goods (such as food and drinks) or intangible, e.g. software and data. A product is a named collection of business capabilities valuable to a defined customer segment. It could be a repeatable service (for example, a subscription service); or it may be a platform (one-sided or multisided). Although products (in the context of digital business) principally serve external customers, software organisations can also apply a product model to any collection of business capabilities delivered in a coherent value stream to internal customers.
A product details page – more commonly known as a product page – is a page that lists all the crucial information that a user must know before making a purchase. This typically includes a product overview (including title or brand, price, features), product photos, similar product suggestions, social proof, and a clear call-to-action.
The term product life cycle refers to the length of time from when a product is introduced to consumers into the market until it’s removed from the shelves.
A product’s life cycle is usually broken down into four stages; introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.
A product line is a group of related products all marketed under a single brand name that is sold by the same company.
Product lines are created by companies as a marketing strategy to capture the sales of consumers who are already buying the brand. The operating principle is that consumers are more likely to respond positively to brands they know and love and will be willing to buy the new products based on their positive experiences with the brand in the past.
A product listings page – also known as a category page – lists multiple products within the same category. On fashion ecommerce sites, for example, this could be ‘women’s tops’ or ‘jeans’. These pages typically include filters to allow the user to narrow down the category into specific product features, such as ‘size 10’ or ‘black’.
Product management is an organizational function that guides every step of a product’s lifecycle — from development to positioning and pricing — by focusing on the product and its customers first and foremost. To build the best possible product, product managers advocate for customers within the organization and make sure the voice of the market is heard and heeded.
Product mix, also known as product assortment or product portfolio, refers to the complete set of products and/or services offered by a firm. A product mix consists of product lines, which are associated items that consumers tend to use together or think of as similar products or services. Product mixes vary from company to company. Some have multiple product lines with lots of products in each line.
A product strategy is a high-level plan describing what a business hopes to accomplish with its product and how it plans to do so. The strategy should answer key questions such as who the product will serve (personas), how it will benefit those personas, and the company’s goals for the product throughout its life cycle.
Product-market fit describes a scenario in which a company’s target customers are buying, using, and telling others about the company’s product in numbers large enough to sustain that product’s growth and profitability.
According to entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreesen, who is often credited with developing the concept, product-market fit means finding a good market with a product capable of satisfying that market.
A proof of concept (POC) is a demonstration of a product, service or solution in a sales context. A POC should demonstrate that the product or concept will fulfill customer requirements while also providing a compelling business case for adoption.
Prospects are individuals or organisations who is a potential purchaser of your product or service. However, a prospect has not yet engaged with your company or entered the sales process. Essentially, a prospect is a member of your total addressable market, fits your ideal customer profile, and has the means to purchase, but has not been engaged.
Proto personas are a lightweight form of ad-hoc personas created with no new research.
They catalogue the team’s existing knowledge (or best guesses) of who their users are and what they want. Proto personas can be based on existing user data if your team has any, but in many cases are generated in a workshop and are based solely on the team’s assumptions about who the users are, and what they need.
Qualified leads are the most sought after potential customer. These leads not only express buying behaviour, they have the authority, need, urgency and money (ANUM) to make a purchase. Thus, a qualified lead is further along in the sales cycle, and more likely to buy your product or service than an unqualified lead.
Qualitative data is non-numeric information, such as in-depth interview transcripts, diaries, anthropological field notes, answers to open-ended survey questions, audio-visual recordings and images. The value of qualitative research is that it gives a voice to the lived experience, offering researchers a deeper insight into a topic or individuals’ experiences. Qualitative data can be combined with quantitative to enhance understanding around a policy or topic in a way that quantitative data by itself often cannot.
Qualitative personas are the best fit for most teams and are created by running solid exploratory qualitative research (such as interviewing users) with a small-to-medium sample size, and then segmenting users based on shared attitudes, goals, pain points, and expectations.
Quantitative data is, quite simply, information that can be quantified. It can be counted or measured, and given a numerical value—such as length in centimetres or revenue in dollars. Quantitative data tends to be structured in nature and is suitable for statistical analysis. If you have questions such as “How many?”, “How often?” or “How much?”, you’ll find the answers in quantitative data.
Radio buttons are used when there is a list of two or more options that are mutually exclusive and the user must select exactly one choice. In other words, clicking a non-selected radio button will deselect whatever other button was previously selected in the list.
(Also known as bitmap image, including .JPG, .PNG or .GIF files). An image whose size is static and is composed of pixels (as opposed to vectors — see below) In essence, a raster image is a collection of individually coloured dots which, from a normal viewing distance, appear as a single graphic. When a raster image is zoomed in on or stretched, the pixels are more defined and visible. A raster image can be one of many different file types, however certain file types perform better than others in specific contexts. In UI design, for example: .png files enable transparency while .jpeg/.jpg does not. .jpg files can often be smaller and quicker to load; however, image quality may also degrade when scaled.
Is the process of moving a business’s digital operations from an older, outdated platform to a newer one.
Factors that are likely to stimulate a negative perception or response.
Factors that are likely to stimulate a positive perception or response.
When applied to design, these red routes are the critical and frequent paths that users take to complete their tasks.
A detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding.
A research sprint is a short, time-boxed period, that is focussed on gaining insights and testing ideas without the time or expense of launching a product or feature.
Responsive designs respond to changes in browser width by adjusting the placement of design elements to fit in the available space. A responsive website shows content based on the available browser space. If you open a responsive site on the desktop and then change the size of the browser window, the content will move dynamically to arrange itself (at least in theory) optimally for the browser window. On mobile phones, this process is automatic; the site checks for the available space and then presents itself in the ideal arrangement.
A retrospective is a regular meeting during which the team reflects on how team members work together and considers ways to improve that process, based on lessons from recently completed work.
A measure of the extent to which an entity is threatened by a potential circumstance or event, and typically a function of: (i) the adverse impacts that would arise if the circumstance or event occurs; and (ii) the likelihood of occurrence.
A user role is a predefined category of permissions or privileges that can be assigned to (a group of) users based on certain criteria. Roles are typically used to present customised versions, or views, of content and/or features to different types of users based on the privileges or permissions associated with that user role.
A framework to help scale Agile development across many teams and projects. SAFe is typically used in large enterprise organisations where several groups contribute to a single product. There are specified planning and reflection points for all levels to ensure that leadership, management, and delivery teams align throughout projects.
A sales funnel is a term used to capture and describe the journey that potential customers go through, from prospecting to purchase. A sales funnel consists of several steps, the actual number of which varies with each company’s sales model. Steps that may exist include: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Negotiation/Decision, Sale, Renewal/Repurchase.
A sample is any part of the fully defined population. To make accurate inferences, the sample has to be representative. A representative sample is one in which each and every member of the population has an equal and mutually exclusive chance of being selected.
Scalability is the measure of a system’s ability to increase or decrease in performance and cost in response to changes in application and system processing demands. Examples would include how well a hardware system performs when the number of users is increased, how well a database withstands growing numbers of queries, or how well an operating system performs on different classes of hardware. Enterprises that are growing rapidly should pay special attention to scalability when evaluating hardware and software.
One of several possible situations that could exist in the future.
A framework that helps Agile teams structure and manage work using a set of meetings and artefacts. Like other Agile frameworks, Scrum emphasises team collaboration, process flexibility, and continuous improvement through user and stakeholder feedback. Work is done in a series of sprints, which allows for learning and adjustments to the product backlog along the way.
Security by design ensures that security controls are built into a product’s design, rather than as an afterthought. Such an approach reduces the likelihood of cybersecurity breaches and has become common in product development.
Segmentation is a strategic tool for understanding and targeting audiences. It applies an analytical process to categorise customers into mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive segments that can then be prioritised according to strategic goals. The four most common segmentation approaches include demographic (firmographic for B2B), needs-based, behavioural and value-based segmentation.
The smaller groups that a larger group can be divided into.
Sensory identity includes scent, touch, and sounds associated with a brand. Sensory elements can enhance a brand experience and create a lasting impression on customers, transporting people to experience unique sensations and emotions and creating new associations with a brand. Defining the sensory identity of a brand is an optional step within a brand strategy. However, depending on a brand’s industry, smells, sounds, flavours, and touch may be relevant.
Sentiment analysis is the use of natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics and biometrics to systematically identify, extract, quantify and study affective states and subjective information. The most common use of sentiment analysis in the financial sector is the analysis of financial news, particularly news related to predicting the behaviour and possible trend of stock markets. Other uses include analysing the tweets of influential financial analysts and decision makers.
A short line or finishing stroke that crosses or projects from stems or strokes in a character. Serifs have many shapes, including hairline, bracketed, wedge, and slab. Fonts without serifs are called “sans serifs.”
In web development, ‘server side’ means everything that happens on the server, instead of on the client.
Services are intangible, value-added activities that a company provides to its customers. They are the core of what a company does to create value for its customers and generate revenue. Services can be physical or digital. Physical services are those that you can touch, feel, or see, such as a haircut or a massage. Digital services are those that exist in the digital world, such as an app or a website.
Service blueprints visualise organisational processes in order to optimise how a business delivers a user experience.
Serviceable Obtainable Market is the portion of the Service Addressable Market that a business can realistically capture, based on factors such as the company’s marketing and sales capabilities, competition, and market saturation.
In short, TAM is the total market demand, SAM is the portion of the market that a business can realistically target, and SOM is the portion of the SAM that a business can realistically capture.
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a detailed agreement between a service provider and a customer group, defining the key targets and responsibilities of both parties for delivering a service. Three types of SLAs include service-based, customer-based and multilevel.
Serviceable Addressable Market is the part of the Total Addressable Market that a business can realistically target and serve, taking into account limitations such as geography, pricing, and distribution. In short, TAM is the total market demand, SAM is the portion of the market that a business can realistically target, and SOM is the portion of the SAM that a business can realistically capture.
Single sign-on (SSO) is a technology which combines several different application login screens into one. With SSO, a user only has to enter their login credentials (username, password, etc.) one time on a single page to access all of their applications.
A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to crawl your site more efficiently.
Sketches can be extremely helpful for making decisions, mostly because they are incredibly easy to create and even easier to discard. We don’t need any artistic skill to sketch well, so this is a great tool for designers and non-designers alike.
SMART goals (or objectives) stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Software as a service (SaaS) is software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers software based on one set of common code and data definitions that is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at anytime on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on use metrics.
Solution architects design and configure software products to solve a specific business problem.
A solution architecture (SA) is an architectural description of a specific solution. SAs combine guidance from different enterprise architecture viewpoints (business, information and technical), as well as from the enterprise solution architecture (ESA).
Someone or something that supplies information.
A fixed duration of time during which the development team, including UX, works on user stories and tasks comprising a product increment in the development process. Sprints usually last between 2-6 weeks.
The prioritised scope of work that the development team anticipates completing by the end of a sprint. It should include UX research, content, and design work, with realistic effort estimates. Complete the most critical user stories and tasks first in each sprint.
A stakeholder is anyone who has interest in your project or with whom you need to work with in some way to complete the project. Stakeholders can be internal to the organisation or external to it. If you’re not sure who your stakeholders are, start by asking yourself who is interested in your project and who has power, influence, or control over it.
A stakeholder profile combines insight from the stakeholder interview with additional (often historical) contextual knowledge into one artifact or document for your internal team to reference.
Statistical personas are a mix of qualitative and quantitative research.
The most labour-intensive version of persona creation involves collecting data via a survey sent to a large sample of your user base and then using statistical analysis to find clusters of similar responses. This type of persona requires some exploratory qualitative research beforehand to identify what questions to include in the survey. There are no universally relevant persona-survey questions that will result in personas that are actionable for your team. You must have a solid working knowledge of your specific users’ expectations and needs to create a survey that will reveal anything useful.
A storyboard communicates a story through images displayed in a sequence of panels that chronologically maps the story’s main events.
A strategy is an action plan that you will take in the future to achieve a final end goal. Strategies help to define your long-term goals and how you go about achieving them.
Stress tests help you understand the upper limits of a system’s capacity using a load beyond the expected maximum.In other words, stress tests help you determine how a system would behave under an extreme load, such as a DDoS attack, Slashdot effect, or other scenarios. The goal is more to determine a maximum limit than to identify bottlenecks. That way, you can be prepared for unexpected circumstances.
A style guide is a piece of documentation that provides context and instructions for a design system’s patterns and components–for example, colour HEX codes, typography scales, usage, dos and don’ts, etc.
A planned method for achieving a particular result.
A tag is a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information to help describe what it is about and make it easy to locate.
A result, level, or situation that an organisation or group wants or plans to achieve.
Target market segments is term that refers to sub-segmenting target markets into groups or segments with common needs and who are likely to respond similarly to certain messages.
Target market segmentation enables organisations to target different categories of target markets who perceive the full value of certain products and services differently from one another.
A target market is a group of people that have been identified as the most likely potential customers for a product because of their shared characteristics, such as age, income, and lifestyle.
An operating model is a framework for formulating an operations strategy. In this context, operations isn’t only software development, but all the considerations for cloud technology operations, including procurement, risk controls, skill management, service design, and service management.
Activities required to achieve a goal.
A taxonomy is closed list of acceptable terms that are arranged hierarchically and are used to describe and classify content.
Technical debt is accrued work that is “owed” to an IT system, and it is a normal and unavoidable side effect of software engineering. Teams “borrow” against quality by making sacrifices, taking short cuts, or using workarounds to meet delivery deadlines. These sacrifices eventually cause the software to deviate from its prescribed nonfunctional requirements, and in the long-term, they can impact performance, scalability, resilience or similar characteristics of the system. Technical debt can also accrue when teams delay performing regular maintenance on the system. Eventually, technical debt can accrue into a critical mass where the software becomes unstable, and customers become dissatisfied. Delayed maintenance can also result in significantly higher support costs when the software or its infrastructure reaches “end-of-life.
A text field is a rectangular area in which people enter or edit small, specific pieces of text.
A text view displays multiline, styled text content, which can optionally be editable.
Time and materials (T&M) contracts are one of the two main types of project agreements, along with fixed-price contracts. T&M contracts don’t spell out the final price. Instead, they define a rough outline for the project and set fixed hourly wages and the cost of materials. But they can also include a cap on the maximum project price.
Tone of voice is how a brand communicates and connects with its audience through messaging and customer interactions. It helps businesses differentiate themselves from the competition and communicate their brand values to their audience.
Top Tasks are a tool used to focus a design team on the same, best set of user tasks. It comprises a list of 10 or fewer activities that users should be able to achieve using a design. If people can’t do these things, the design has failed.
Total Addressable Market or TAM refers to the total potential market for a product or service, assuming there are no limitations on factors such as geography, price, or distribution. In short, TAM is the total market demand, SAM is the portion of the market that a business can realistically target, and SOM is the portion of the SAM that a business can realistically capture.
A touchpoint is any interaction (including encounters where there is no physical interaction) that might alter the way that your customer feels about your product, brand, business or service.
An artistic interpretation, or design, of a collection of alphanumeric symbols. A typeface may include letters, numerals, punctuation, various symbols, and more — often for multiple languages. A typeface is usually grouped together in a family containing individual fonts for italic, bold, condensed, and other variations of the primary design. Even though its original meaning is one single style of a type design, the term is now also commonly used to describe a type family (usually only with the basic styles regular, italic, bold, bold italic).
Typography is a design discipline that involves the use of typefaces and the organisation of those typefaces to create readable, usable and ideally, user-friendly interfaces or experiences.
A real unfair advantage is something that cannot be easily copied or bought by your competitors.
A feature of a product that makes it different from and better than all its competitors.
A concise statement of the benefits that a company is delivering to customers who buy its products or services. It serves as a declaration of intent, both inside the company and in the marketplace.
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.
Unmoderated usability testing is a form of qualitative research where users complete pre-determined activities using a design or interface. In these unguided studies, only the contributor is present during the session.
Unqualified leads may have a potential need to purchase your product but whether or not they have the authority, need, urgency, and money (ANUM) to make a purchase is unknown or not yet confirmed.
A uniform resource locator (URL), sometimes called a web address, contains the domain name of a site as well as other information, including the protocol and the path. For example, in the URL ‘https://cloudflare.com/learning/’, ‘cloudflare.com’ is the domain name, while ‘https’ is the protocol and ‘/learning/’ is the path to a specific page on the website.
Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word “usability” also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process. Usability is defined by 5 quality components: Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors, Satisfaction. Usability = how easy & pleasant features are to use.
In a usability-testing session, a researcher (called a “facilitator” or a “moderator”) asks a participant to perform tasks, usually using one or more specific user interfaces. While the participant completes each task, the researcher observes the participant’s behaviour and listens for feedback.
Use cases are built to refine a set of requirements based on a role or task. Instead of the traditional list of requirements that may not directly address the use of the solution, use cases group common requirements based on the type of role or goal. Use cases define what the users or roles will be doing in the solution, a business process defines how they will perform those functions.
User-centred design (UCD) is an iterative design process in which designers focus on the users and their needs in each phase of the design process. In UCD, design teams involve users throughout the design process via a variety of research and design techniques, to create highly usable and accessible products for them.
User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.
User interface (UI) design is the process designers use to build interfaces in software or computerised devices, focusing on looks or style. Designers aim to create interfaces which users find easy to use and pleasurable. UI design refers to graphical user interfaces and other forms—e.g., voice-controlled interfaces.
A user interview is a UX research method during which a researcher asks one user questions about a topic of interest (e.g., use of a system, behaviours and habits) with the goal of learning about that topic. Unlike, which involve multiple users at the same time, user interviews are one-on-one sessions (although occasionally several facilitators may take turns asking questions).
A journey map is a visualisation of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal.
A user portal is an online, password-protected, space that provides secure access to certain information and features.
Is an online, password-protected, space that provides secure access to certain information and features.
User research is the methodical study of target users—including their needs and pain points—so designers have the sharpest possible insights to work with to make the best designs. User researchers use various methods to expose problems and design opportunities, and find crucial information to use in their design process.
User-story maps help teams define what to build and maintain visibility for how it all fits together. They enable user-centered conversations, collaboration, and feature prioritisation to align and guide iterative product development.
Refers broadly to anyone who may use or maintain a product, and could include people such as system administrators, IT experts, and computer technicians.
A user experience (UX) audit is a research-led report that analyses the key journeys and interactions users are likely to encounter whilst engaging with an organisation or brand. The purpose of a user experience audit is to go beyond a best practice expert review and conduct primary and secondary research that:
– Identifies functional and emotional issues users are likely to encounter when engaging with an organisation and its products, services, and content,
– Benchmark the user experience you provide against your competitors.
UX design principles are value statements that guide designers in making the right tradeoff-type decisions in UX design contexts.
A UX strategy is a plan of actions designed to reach an improved future state of the organisation’s user experience over an established period of time.
Validation is the set of activities ensuring and gaining confidence that a system is able to accomplish its intended use, goals, and objectives (i.e. meet stakeholder requirements) in the intended operational environment.
A value proposition in marketing is a concise statement of the benefits that a company is delivering to customers who buy its products or services. It serves as a declaration of intent, both inside the company and in the marketplace.
A Value statement is a core principle that guides and directs an organisation and its culture.
Researchers and statisticians use variables to describe and measure the items, places, people or ideas they’re studying. Many types of variables exist, and you must choose the right variable to measure when designing studies, selecting tests and interpreting results. A strong understanding of variables can lead to more accurate statistical analyses and results.
(including .SVG files). A vector is an image which can be scaled easily without losing accuracy or modified because the file contains mathematical calculations for every shape in the image. These are typically used for images that are not photographs, such as logos, icons, diagrams, or other graphics.
A product that will be profitable.
An encrypted network often created to allow secure connections for remote users, for example in an organisation with offices in multiple locations.
A Vision statement is a description of the desired future state an organisation wants to achieve.
A brand’s visual identity is the impression created by the aesthetic things associated with your business – AKA, its look and feel. That might include your logo, colour palette, imagery, graphics, website design, packaging and typography. The sum of all this should be a unique representation of your brand – one that your customers will instinctively associate with you.
A visual language in design is a set of elements and principles used to create and communicate a specific visual message. This includes the use of colour, typography, imagery, and other design elements to create a visual language that conveys a specific message or emotion. Visual languages can be used to create logos, advertisements, websites, and other designs.
A want is defined as having a desire for/wish to possess or do (something).
A traditional method of software development that follows a linear and sequential approach. Work happens in distinct phases; team members complete each phase before starting the next. Waterfall typically involves a separate design phase before development; in that phase, UX creates detailed designs that are then handed off to engineers to implement. Unlike with Agile, in the Waterfall framework there is little opportunity for feedback and iteration. Projects with well-defined requirements, clear scopes, and legitimate deadlines may be a good fit for Waterfall, whereas Agile is better suited for projects with changing needs and flexible requirements.
The Web (short for World Wide Web) is a hypertext-based global information system that was originally developed at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva. It is a subset of the Internet, technically defined as the community on the Internet where all documents and resources are formatted using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). HTML, and the related Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP), make it easy to find and view data and documents stored on computers connected to the Internet. HTML creates the links (“hyperlinks”) that enable the user to move among many Web documents with the click of a mouse.
The evolution of the Web from a collection of hyperlinked content pages to a platform for human collaboration and system development and delivery.
Web3 is a new stack of technologies for the development of decentralised web applications that enable users to control their own identity and data. These technologies include blockchain as a trust verification mechanism, privacy-preserving and interoperability protocols, decentralised infrastructure and application platforms, decentralised identity, and support for applications like decentralised finance. These will eventually realise the vision of a decentralised web.
(Also known as negative space) white space is the area between elements in a design composition.
The number of stories, tasks, or items that have been started but not yet completed. Some teams will have a WIP limit, which limits the amount of work in progress. WIP limits help all roles, including UX, improve focus and collaboration while reducing multitasking and context switching.
Wireframes are simple, bare-bones illustrations of your app or website. They allow you to ignore the visual and interactive aspects of your prototype and focus on content structure and functionality.
Wizard of Oz prototypes are prototypes with fake functions—for instance, where you get a team-mate to mimic complex interactions rather than code a piece of software for it. The idea is to get users to believe that the prototype is fully functional, so you can test it while saving time and resources.
When you prepare a content for you website, it is easy to assume that your site visitors will read every letter you write. Unfortunately, it won’t happen because users don’t read, they scan. A z-pattern design traces the route the human eye travels when they scan the page— left to right, top to bottom.