Glossary of Product Design Terms
A/B Testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing): is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better. (See also Multivariate Testing)
Aesthetics: The perception, appreciation of and sensitivity towards designs, products, objects or artifacts; usually associated with the notion of beauty.
Application Programming Interface (API): The standard set of functions provided by a program or operating system to allow for integration of other software. Two programs linked via an API can both be altered and still work together so long as both conform to the API.
Background Images: Images, pictures or patterns that appear behind graphical user interface elements on a web page.
Banner: Banners are graphic images that commonly function as Web-based billboards. Banner ads generally appear toward the top-center of the screen, and are used as attention-grabbing links to other sites.
Cascading style sheets (CSS): Code that defines how to display HTML elements in externalstyle sheets that enable you to change the appearance and layout of all the pages in a Web site by editing one single file.
Clickability Cues: A visual indication that a given word or item on a Web page is clickable. Cues that can be used to indicate the clickability of an item include color, underlining, bullets, and arrows.
Clickthrough: The process of a visitor clicking on a Web advertisement and going to the advertiser's Web site. Also called ad clicks or requests.
Clickthrough Rate (CTR): CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown expressed as a percentage (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). CTR can be used to gauge how well your keywords and ads are performing.
Competitive Intelligence (CI): is the gathering of publicly-available information about an enterprise's competitors and the use of that information to gain a business advantage. The goals of competitive intelligence include discerning potential business risks and opportunities and enabling faster reaction to competitors' actions and events.
Competitive Analysis: The process of comparing the strengthsand weaknesses of your own business or product to those of other businesses, in order to make your business orproduct more competitive.
Content Strategy: Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.
Contextual Inquiries: is a specific type of interview for gathering field data from users. It is usually done by one interviewer speaking to one interviewee (person being interviewed) at a time.
Convergent Thinking: Bringing the most suitable ideas together. The narrowing down of possible ideas to probable ideas.
Creativity: Something new and unique - a concept, idea, design, product, way of using colour,etc. Usually linked to the visual/aesthetic aspects, but could also relate to functional aspects.
Customer-Centred Design (also known as Human-centred design): Designing products to ensure the needs, safety and comfort of the people they are made for come first or are always taken into consideration.
Customer Experience (CX): is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer's attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase and use of a service. (See also User Experience).
Customer Satisfaction Survey: Process of discovering whether or not a company's customers are happy or satisfied with the products or services received from the company.
Decision Matrix: Qualitative or quantitative values arranged in rows and columns that enable a systematic analysis and rating of the strengths of design options. A decision making tool that lists evaluation criteria taken from a design brief and then weighted to determine the most appropriate design option.
Design Brief Scenario: A written statement that contains an outline of a situation, context, or problem/need. It focuses on the desired results related to the design of a product. The scenario is often a simplified version of a situation, which includes the hypothetical needs and wants of a client and/or an end user.
Design Thinking: An approach to problem solving based upon methodology used by designers, but (usually) applied to other disciplines, such as business and education.
Design Verification: An assessment of the interface's correspondence with the design that was defined.
Design Validation: An assessment of functions and elements correspondence as identified initially with the design and the end user's actual needs.
Divergent Thinking: Considering a wide variety of ways in which a problem might be solved. Could be presenting ideas that are seemingly unrelated.
Engaging (or Engagement): Capturing the user's attention or interest or maintaining their interaction.
Ergonomics: The application of scientific information about the interaction and relationship of human beings to the design of objects, systems and work and recreational environments. Ergonomics is an important consideration in product design to ensure a product fits the person or worker, reduces the risk of injury or fatigue and improves performance.
Experience Architecture: Multidisciplinary approach to technology involving information architecture, interaction design and experience design practices that aim to provide a good user experience and benefit business.
Five Ps of Marketing: A combination of elements that are used to market or sell a product. The Five Ps of marketing are variables that can be controlled in order to best satisfy customers in a target market. The Five Ps sometimes known as the marketing mix are: product, price, promotion, people and place (physical or virtual).
Fluid Layout: When a page contracts and expands horizontally inside a persons web browser despite the size of the browser window or the resolution of the monitor.
Fold: The fold is defined as the lowest point where a Web page is no longer visible on a computer monitor or screen. Where on a Web page the fold falls is a function of the monitor size, the screen resolution, and the font size selection. The information that is visible when a Web page first loads is considered to be "above the fold." Those regions of the same Web page that are visible only by scrolling are considered to be "below the fold."
Font Readablility: How easy or difficult it is to read a collection of words in a specific type style.
Google Adwords: is a Google online advertising service that enables advertisers to compete to display brief advertising copy to web users, based in part on cookies, keywords, predefined by the advertisers, that might link the copy to the content of web pages shown to users.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps: An SDK that allows gathering usage data from iOS and Android Apps.
High-Fidelity Prototype: An interactive prototype that simulates the real system or site's functionality and design details. (See also Low-Fidelity Prototype)
Hybrid navigation model (in hybrid structure): A combination of navigation structures incorporates some combination of components possibly including sequential and/or hierarchical IA designs.
Icon Graphic: An image that is usually interactive and represents an object or action or marker for entry into information.
Image links: A clickable image hyperlinked for internal linking and web site navigation without supporting text.
Image Placeholders:Text that provides users with descriptive information about a graphic while it is downloading.
Information Architecture (IA): is a practice of making information more findable. Using structured hierarchy to categorize and label content, make it categorisable and findable in search and making a site hang together via the use of a considered navigation structure. It often involves research to analyze data about a service or product to quantify and justify decisions that are made in this reorganization of content. (Discipline)
Innovation: Pulling existing ideas, knowledge or concepts together in a new way - taking a different approach to an existing product, or applying concepts from one area to another. Often linked to the more functional aspects of design.
Intellectual Property (IP): IP is generated through intellectual or creative activity. Types of intellectual property protection include patents, trade marks, design registration, confidential information/trade secrets, copyright, circuit layout rights and plant breeder's rights.
Interaction Design (IXD): The study of how a user interacts with a page, application or product.
Interface: A view or presentation of an object or program.
Internationalization: A system whose primary design has been developed to work in multiple languages and in the cultural contexts of different locales.
Keyword Research: is the process of determining what keywords are used in search engines by potential customers.
Landing Page (aka Main page, Target page or Destination page): The location in a Web site where a given user goes after clicking on a link.
Layout Graphic: Graphic elements that serve to delineate, divide or identify content on a webpage.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA): Assessing a product's full environmental cost/impact over the life cycle of the product (cradle to grave or cradle). This includes extracting and processing materials, manufacturing, transporting and distribution, use, reuse and maintenance, recycling and final disposal. Quantifies the environmental impact rather than the financial impact.
Low-Fidelity Prototype: Low cost, illustrated design or concept usually sketched on paper or created as flat images. (See also High-Fidelity Prototype)
Market Research: the action or activity of gathering information about consumers' needs and preferences.
Metrics: a standard for measuring or evaluating something,especially one that uses figures or statistics
Mood Board: A form of visual stimulus material, such as a large board covered with images.
Multivariate Testing: A technique for testing a hypothesis in which multiple variables are modified. The goal of multivariate testing is to determine which combination of variations performs the best out of all of the possible combinations. Websites and mobile apps are made of combinations of changeable elements. (See also A/B Testing)
One-off Production: A single, often handcrafted article. It can be expensive to make due to the cost of labour but is usually the only one in existence.
Page Density: A measure of the percentage of the screen that is filled with text and graphics.
Page Flow: A hierarchy or sequence suggested by arrangement of elements on a page.
Page Templates: Predefined layouts or formats for sets of common web pages.
Pagination: Dividing information into separate sequentially numbered or linked pages.
Panels: Visually and thematically-defined sections of a Web page. Panels are frequently placed in the left and right margins of pages. Panels often contain navigation aids, including related links. Content is not usually placed in left or right panels.
Parallel Design: A design methodology that involves several designers pursuing the same effort simultaneously, but independently, with the intention to combine the best aspects of each for the ultimate solution.
Persona (aka User Persona): A persona represents a cluster of users who exhibit similar behavioral patterns in their purchasing decisions, use of technology or products, customer service preferences, lifestyle choices, and the like. Behaviors, attitudes, and motivations are common to a "type" regardless of age, gender, education, and other typical demographics. In fact, personas vastly span demographics.
Physical Consistency: Physical consistency refers to the "look and feel" of a Web site. Physically consistent Web pages will have logos, headers, and navigation elements all located in the same place. The pages also will use the same fonts and graphic elements across all pages in the site.
Product Design: Design of consumer products that considers usability, human factors, ergonomics, and appearance while still maintaining function.
Product Planning: is the process of creating a product idea and following through on it until the product is introduced to the market.
Product Management: an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning, forecasting, and production, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.
Prototype: A preliminary model or archetype of a web page or website used to demonstrate or test the user experience and various task flows. Usually physical, but may take other forms, including on-screen or even Post-it notes. (See also Low & High Fidelity Prototypes).
Qualitative: Descriptions or distinctions based on a quality rather than on quantity. Qualitative evaluation of a product refers only to the characteristics of the item being described, rather than being based on a numerical measurement.
Quality Measures: A way to measure (quantitatively) the characteristic or attribute of a product. These are methods of checking for quality indicators throughout the production of a product.
Quantitative: A measurement based on some quantity or number rather than on quality. Quantitative research can therefore be used to measure the response from a client to the features of a product.
Rapid Prototyping: Quickly generating mockups of what a system will look like to facilitate internal review or testing.
Research and development (R&D): R&D is the systematic investigation or experimentation involving innovation or technical risk. It is aimed at discovering new knowledge that could be useful in creating new products, processes or services or improving existing ones
Responsive Design: A web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience across platforms and devices.
Scroll Depth: It is a small Google Analytics plugin that lets you measure how far users are scrolling. It monitors the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% scroll points, sending a Google Analytics Event for each one. You can also track when specific elements on the page are scrolled into view.
Storyboard: A visual representation of how a user will interact with an application or interface.
Style Sheet: A set of statements that specify presentation of a document. Style sheets may have three different origins: they may be written by content providers, created by users, or built into browsers or plug-ins.
Sustainable Product Design (SPD): SPD is based on principles of sustainable development which addresses three interrelated areas: environmental stewardship, social equity and justice, and economic issues. SPD is a design philosophy and practice in which products contribute to social and economic well-being, have negligible impacts on the environment and can be produced from a sustainable resource base.
Target Audience:The set of users for which a system is designed or intended.
Task: A procedure that includes goals, steps, skills, start state, inputs, end state, and outputs to accomplish an activity.
Task Flows: A tool to aid thinking through the design before a feature is actually developed. They allow us to interject the user into the flow of the application and determine if the conceptual model agrees with the user model.
Universal Design (also known as inclusive design): Design that makes products or buildings accessible to as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or stature. The products often have inbuilt-flexibility.
Usability: is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use; making products and systems easier to use, and matching them more closely to user needs and requirements.
Usability Testing: is a method by which users of a product are asked to perform certain tasks in an effort to measure the product's ease-of-use, task time, and the user's perception of the experience.
User-Centred Design: Design with the consideration for the user, either by making decisions based on evidence, research and testing. See also Customer-Centred Design
User Experience (UX): UX is a combination of many disciplines to solve a common problem, forming User Interface the best possible experience for your customers. See also Customer Experience.
User Interface (UI): Visual part of computer application or operating system through which a user interacts with a computer or a software.
User Journey Map: A Customer Journey map is a visual or graphic interpretation of the overall story from an individual’s perspective of their relationship with an organization, service, product or brand, over time and across channels.
User Research: User research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.
User Testing: is a method by which users of a product are asked to perform certain tasks in an effort to measure the product's ease-of-use, task time, and the user's perception of the experience.
Values (of products): Values attributed to products change with context, socio-cultural norms, and economic contexts, as new technologies emerge and as products move through their life cycles. Values are determined in socioeconomic settings and on individual terms. The qualities of productsthat make them valuable include affordability, appearance, authenticity, durability, rarity, status, usability, identity and emotional connection.
Voice of Customer (VOC): is a term that describes your customer'sfeedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services.
Waterfall Model: A linear design process whereby, steps are completed and the project passes onto the next phase with evaluation completed at the end.
Web Analytics: Web analytics is the collection, reporting, and analysis of website data. The focus is on identifying measures based on your organizational and user goals and using the website data to determine the success or failure of those goals and to drive strategy and improve the user’s experience.
Wireframe: A highly simplified sketch of the important information in a page. Also known as page architecture, page schematic, or blueprint.