UI/UX Terms Glossary

May 26, 2023

UIUX Terms Glossary

UI/UX design is the process of creating user interfaces (UI) and enhancing user experiences (UX) for digital products or services. It is a combination of various tools, strategies, and principles used to craft a product’s interface.

Here are some important terms you should know when discussing UI/UX design:

Accessibility

Accessibility, or accessible design, is a design approach that enables individuals with various disabilities, such as cognitive, physical, vision, and hearing impairments, to interact effectively with a product. This may include utilizing balanced color schemes, providing alternative keyboard controls, employing special page layouts, offering customized versions, and employing other tools to enhance usability for individuals with disabilities.

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Adaptive Interface

An adaptive interface is a collection of web layouts designed for different electronic devices. It detects the device type being used and displays the appropriate layout accordingly. This involves creating optimized versions of the same website for mobiles, desktops, and tablets to ensure a tailored user experience on each device.

Affinity map

An affinity map is a technique employed to interpret and organize insights obtained from user research activities. It helps in organizing substantial amounts of data by categorizing them into specific groups based on themes or connections.

API

Application Programming Interfaces are software components that facilitate communication between multiple applications. Companies create APIs to provide easy access to information stored on their servers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence in machines, enabling them to think and act like humans. AI systems include various systems, such as predictive models, audio processing, speech-to-text, and natural language processing, among others.

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Backlog

A backlog is a list of tasks that need to be completed, typically in the context of the product development process.

Breadcrumb

A breadcrumb is a navigation system that assists users in understanding their location within a website or app by displaying a sequence of steps they have taken to arrive at their current position.

Call-To-Action (CTA)

A CTA button is a visual or interface component that prompts the user to take a specific action. CTAs are commonly found in apps and websites and typically consist of a brief text snippet followed by a button.

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Card Sorting Method

Card sorting is an exercise where participants categorize a set of cards based on their own interpretation, revealing how people naturally associate different items. This method assists designers in assessing the information architecture of a product and can drive decisions related to navigation structure.

Chatbot

Chatbots are AI-powered virtual agents designed to interact with users through chat interfaces, enabling them to ask questions, receive answers, and obtain guidance. They serve as a popular customer service tool, simulating the experience of texting a friend while providing assistance and information.

Customer Experience (CX)

Customer Experience (CX) is the holistic perception customers have of their interactions with a business or brand, including all touchpoints from website navigation to customer service and product/service delivery. It goes beyond UX by considering broader aspects like advertising, product quality, and customer support.

Customer Journey Map

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) is a tool companies use to understand customer desires. It depicts the story of a customer’s journey from initial contact to engagement and long-term relationships. CJMs can focus on specific stages or provide an overview of the entire user experience. They capture the user’s emotions, motivations, and inquiries at each touchpoint.

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a collaborative approach to identify and address design challenges quickly. It consists of five key stages: defining the problem, generating diverse ideas, selecting the most promising concepts, prototyping solutions, and conducting testing and validation.

Design System

A design system is a collection of user interface elements, components, and guidelines that serve as a foundation for new and updated features in a product. It ensures consistency, facilitates easy updates across the product, and reduces software development time. It is an essential tool for managing design at scale and fostering collaboration between designers and front-end developers.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is an approach to product and service development that focuses on solving the problems of potential customers. It involves a creative process of generating and implementing ideas, with the primary goal of thinking innovatively to create valuable design solutions.

a designer thinking about user scenarios

Empathy Map

Empathy maps are collaborative tools that visually represent user behavior, attitudes, and emotions. They consist of four quadrants, each focusing on what users say, think, do, and feel. At the center of an empathy map is the user persona. By gathering information through user research, these quadrants are filled to gain insights into the user’s perspective.

End User

An end user refers to any individual who utilizes an app or website. In the business-to-business (B2B) context, end users are the employees who use the product.

Eye Tracking

Eye tracking refers to the use of specialized hardware and software to monitor a user’s gaze on a user interface. It tracks the focal points of a user’s visual attention while interacting with a design. By recording the user’s gaze and duration of focus, eye trackers generate visual representations, which enable a UX designer to optimize their design.

Fidelity

Fidelity is a concept applicable to both wireframing and prototyping. Low-fidelity wireframes and prototypes focus on capturing the fundamental layout and screen connections, whereas high-fidelity prototypes and wireframes aim to closely resemble the final visuals and functionality.

Flat Design

Flat design is a minimalist user interface design style that emphasizes simplicity and uses two-dimensional elements with vibrant colors.

Flowchart

Flowcharts visually represent the sequential steps that a user can follow to accomplish a task on a product.

Floating Action Button

A floating action button is a UI element positioned on top of a screen design, typically located in the bottom-right corner, that remains fixed in place even when the user scrolls.

F-shaped pattern

The F-shaped pattern refers to the common reading behavior of users on web pages. It involves scanning in two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe, forming an F-like shape. This pattern was identified through studies conducted by the Nielsen-Norman Group, where eye movements of over 200 users were analyzed on various web pages.

Gamification

Gamification is the practice of using game design elements and principles in non-game contexts to increase user engagement.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A GUI is a visual system that allows users to interact with computer software. It consists of visual components that display information and enable users to perform certain actions.

Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)

Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a legacy web graphics format primarily used for frame-by-frame animation. It is widely recognized as gifs, which can contain both animated and static graphics.

Grid

Grids are a basic design system that determines the placement of user interface elements on a screen or page.

Hamburger Button

The hamburger button is a visual pattern consisting of three horizontal lines (occasionally two or four), often used to indicate the presence of a hidden menu. When tapped or clicked, it reveals the menu options.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

HTML is a markup standard used for coding web pages. It has undergone several revisions, with HTML5 being the most recent.

Heat Map

Heat maps are visual representations that highlight the areas on a website or product that receive the highest user attention. They use a color spectrum ranging from warm to cool to indicate the intensity of user interaction. Warm colors represent areas with more engagement, while cool colors indicate areas with less interaction.

Human-centered design

Human-centered design is an approach that places users at the forefront of the design process, aiming to solve design challenges by understanding their needs, pain points, goals, and behavior.

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a field of study dedicated to the design and use of computer technology. It explores how we interact with interfaces and computers in our current digital landscape.

a guy using his laptop

Information Architecture (IA)

Information Architecture (IA) refers to the organization and structure of information within a website or app, such as structure, design, layout, and navigation. It involves designing a logical and intuitive navigation system that enables users to find and understand the content they are looking for easily.

Interaction Design

Interaction Design, also known as IXD, is the discipline focused on designing interactive digital experiences and understanding the way users engage with them.

Iteration

Iteration is the ongoing process of collecting valuable user feedback on a design solution, incorporating that feedback into targeted improvements, and advancing toward a final design.

KPI

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are measurable values used to evaluate how well a product or service is doing.

Landing Page

Also known as Target or Destination page, a landing page is a web page that users arrive at after clicking on a link or advertisement. It’s often a one-page site designed to prompt users to act, such as clicking a button or submitting a request, ultimately converting them to customers.

Lean UX

Lean UX is a collaborative and user-centric approach inspired by Agile methodologies. It emphasizes the importance of “learning loops” that involve continuous iterations of building, learning, and measuring rather than focusing on extensive design documentation.

Material Design

Material Design, also known as Material, is a design language that Google has created to use in Android devices.

Microcopy

Microcopy is the small snippets of text found in websites, applications, and products. It provides instructions, addresses user concerns, and offers context, playing a crucial role in the user experience.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

An MVP, or minimum viable product, is the basic version of a product that meets the initial needs of early customers. It serves as a starting point for gathering feedback from the target audience and determining the viability of further development.

Mobile First Approach

The mobile-first approach is a design strategy that prioritizes creating interfaces specifically for mobile devices before adapting them to larger screens.

a woman using her phone

Mockup

Mockups are static representations of a product that provide a visual depiction of its design. They are not interactive and serve as a picture showcasing what the final product will look like. Mockups are widely used in UI/UX to demonstrate the structure, content, and basic functionality of a design in a time-efficient manner.

Modal

A modal, also referred to as a modal window or modal pop-up, is a type of dialog box that appears within a window or application. These are commonly used on websites to offer vouchers, encourage sign-ups, or convey important information, such as service outages.

Navigation

Navigation refers to a link system or UI elements that assist users in finding the desired information on a website or mobile application.

Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of creating a user-friendly and welcoming experience for new users as they interact with a product or service. It involves guiding users through the initial steps of using the product and ensuring they are familiar with its features.

Persona

A persona represents the target audience used in marketing and UI/UX design. It is created by synthesizing user research data to create an idealized end user archetype. While the persona itself may be fictional, the information used to create it is based on real data and user interviews.

Pixel

Pixels are small square units that make up the images displayed on electronic devices. They are not a fixed color but can change to display various images and graphics.

Picker

A picker is a UI element used for selecting options such as dates, times, or colors.

Prototype

A prototype is a simulated or sample version of a product that closely resembles the final design. It’s digitally or physically created to assess functionality, user interactions, and the feasibility of the product before the actual launch.

Responsive Design

Responsive Web Design (RWD) ensures that a website provides an optimal viewing experience across different platforms and devices. It involves adapting the content and layout of the website to fit the screen size and capabilities of the device being used. Unlike adaptive design, responsive design uses a single layout that adjusts, rearranges, and resizes the content to be easily viewed on any device.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

SVG is an XML-based imaging application and language. It provides a solution for sharing sophisticated images and animations on the web. Unlike pixel-based graphics formats like PNG and JPG, SVG files can be resized indefinitely without losing quality because they are saved as mathematical data rather than individual pixel color values.

Storyboard

Storyboarding is a visual representation of the user’s experience with a product or problem space. It is a technique inspired by film and comic strips. Unlike mockups, storyboards illustrate the user’s journey and interaction with the product, capturing the narrative and flow of the experience.

a woman browsing a magazine

Switch or Toggle

Also referred to as a toggle switch, this UI element allows the user to turn a setting on or off.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is a research method used in UI/UX design that involves evaluating how user-friendly a product is by testing it with representative users. It allows designers to assess how well the product meets user expectations, identify interface issues, and gain insights from the user’s perspective.

User-Centered Design

A user-centered design, or UCD, is an iterative design framework that prioritizes the user and their needs in every decision. It involves placing the end user at the center of the design process, considering their perspective, and designing with their needs in mind.

User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) is a multidisciplinary field that studies the impact of design on the usability and satisfaction of users with a product or system. It focuses on creating positive emotional experiences and ensuring the product is useful, usable, and desirable.

User Flow

User flow refers to the sequence of steps a user follows to achieve a specific goal in a product or system. It provides a visual representation of the user’s interaction, ensuring a logical and seamless experience throughout the process.

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User Interface (UI)

User Interface (UI) is the visual and interactive part of an application or website that users directly engage with using an input device. It includes the design and physical characteristics of the interface, such as color schemes, button placement, and text readability, to ensure a user-friendly and intuitive experience.

User Journey

A user journey represents or describes the sequence of steps a user takes when interacting with a product. It can be depicted in various formats, such as diagrams, and is also a key concept in service design.

User Research

User research is a systematic approach to studying target users, their needs, and their challenges. It involves observing user behaviors, task analysis, and gathering feedback to gain insights into user motivations and preferences.

White Space

White or negative space refers to the blank space on a page. When used effectively, it can enhance content, improve clarity, and create a visually appealing design that captures attention.

Wireframe

A wireframe is a simplified visual representation of a design that outlines the main content and structure of a page or screen. It serves as a blueprint or skeleton for the final product, allowing designers to explore layout options and gather feedback before adding detailed visual elements.

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin

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