UI/UX Design Terminology: Words Every Designer Should Learn
When you’re new to the world of UI/UX design, learning the terminology can be a bit overwhelming. While most basic concepts can be learned in the workplace; lacking technical language skills can confuse the design process. On the other hand, understanding UI/UX terms will undoubtedly boost your confidence and allow you to navigate design conversations with ease.
So, how do you get up to speed with UI/UX industry pros? For starters, it can be helpful to have a resource to reference key concepts and resolve ambiguity – which is why Authentic Jobs has created this design glossary! Use this guide and you’ll speak the same language as professional UI/UX designers in no time.
Can you define UI/UX Design? Scroll to find explanations for 55 UI/UX.
A/B testing also referred to as split testing, is the process of comparing two versions of a design with a single variable. This form of testing is conducted to determine which will perform better.
For instance, if you’re not sure which button to use in your email templates; A/B testing can help you determine which one works best for your audience.
Accessibility, also known as accessible design, is a design practice centered around making interactions possible for individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, vision impairments, hearing impairments, among others.
Designers often optimize websites for mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. The term adaptive interface refers to a collection of web layouts designed specifically for a wide range of electronic devices. When an interface is adaptive, it is designed to detect the type of device being used and display the appropriate layout of the website.
The acronym API stands for Application Programming Interfaces. In a nutshell, APIs are parts of software that enable different applications to communicate with one another.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Surely you’ve heard of artificial intelligence. But, do you know how to define AI? Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to simulated human intelligence – machines that are programmed to mimic human action and knowledge processing.
As a UI or UX designer, you’re bound to work with a few different operating systems. Android is Google’s mobile operating system and a competitor to iOS (the operating system created by Apple). Android employs Material Design, a design language that Google created in 2014.
UI/UX designers and other creative professionals use analytics to measure human behavior across websites. Analytics help us identify and leverage patterns of behavior to enhance our brands, products, and services.
Avatars are default images (often illustrations) that represent online users who have not uploaded a photo for themselves. Avatars are commonly found in online forums, on social media sites, or other online platforms where humans gather for social interaction
Simply put, a backlog is an itemized list of tasks that need to be completed.
A brand book is an official document used to record and explain information about a brand’s identity. In addition to design style guidelines, a brand book may include company values and mission statements.
The term breadcrumb refers to a navigation system that helps users understand their location on a website.
The term bug refers to a mistake found in software. Bugs can lead to glitches, mal-behavior, or software crashes.
A cache is memory storage that makes computer memory more efficient. Cache temporarily stores data.
Chatbots are AI-generated customer service agents.
When UI/UX designers talk about the conversion rate of a product or a website, they are referring to the percentage of users who have performed the desired action. For example, your site’s desired action could be a newsletter sign-up or a successful purchase. The conversion rate is a way to measure this.
The acronym CRM stands for customer relationship management. This term refers to the software systems that aid with administrative duties, data management, and customer interactions.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
CSS refers to a programming language that is used to define the style of a website. Cascading Style Sheets contain key information about graphics, fonts, and layouts, in addition to how each could be applied to the website.
Data science is a field of study that utilizes scientific methods, algorithms, and advanced technologies to extract knowledge from web and mobile application users.
Design thinking refers to an iterative process for creative problem-solving. Want to learn more about design thinking? Read our article A Beginner’s Guide to Design Thinking for UX
Working with designers and front-end developers? You need a design system – which is an interconnected set of standard practices intended to help companies manage design at scale.
The term diary study is pretty straightforward. It is a qualitative method of research to collect data about users over some time.
When UI/UX designers discuss empathy maps, they are talking about collaborative tools that can be used to visualize user behavior. Commonly, empathy maps are divided into 4 equal quadrants that contain info about what users are saying, what they think, do, and feel. At the core of an empathy map, is the user persona.
The end-user is ultimately who the product is built for.
In UX design, eye tracking utilizes specialized tools to measure a user’s eye activity. When eye tracking is employed, it shows UI/UX designers where users are looking and the order in which they see the content.
The term flat design refers to a minimalistic user interface (UI) design style.
A flowchart is used to illustrate the steps that a user can follow to complete a task.
The term full-stack refers to the complete computer system, accounting for both the front and back end of a system or computer application.
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)
Commonly known as gifs, files that use the graphics interchange format are supportive of both animated and static graphics.
Hardware refers to the physical parts of a computer or electronic device.
Heat maps are graphical representations of the areas on your site or product that receives the most attention from users. Heat maps typically use a warm-to-cool color spectrum to show how users navigate and interact with the site.
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is the standard markup language used to build web pages.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Human-computer interaction or HCI refers to the field of study that focuses on the design of computer systems.
Interaction Design (IxD)
IxD, or interaction design, involves the practice of designing interactive digital experiences and evaluating how users will interact with them.
An internet protocol (IP) address is a unique identifier comprised of numbers – it is used to identify each device that uses an internet protocol to communicate with the outside world.
KPI stands for key performance indicators, which are measurable values that provide insight into how well a product or service is performing.
A landing page is a web page that a user lands on. However, the term landing page often refers to web pages that are designed to convert users. Landing pages can be tied to marketing campaigns or offer extensive information about a subject matter – making them invaluable to a company’s conversion goals
If you’re reading this, chances are that you already have experienced microcopy. It can be found on websites and mobile applications. Microcopy refers to small bits of text that help users navigate sites and apps. Need an example? Think about the labels on an app’s buttons, 404 error messages, and placeholder text.
Mockup is a design term that can be found across industries. In UI/UX work environments, mockups refer to the visual representation of a product – be it a web page or mobile application. A mockup shows what the end product will look like.
An MVP is the minimum viable product – also known as the baseline expectation of a product before it is launched. MVPs usually refer to the essential features of a product and do not account for features that will be added later.
Open source refers to development tools that are available for public use at no charge. These assets, templates, etc are free to use, modify and build with.
A common marketing term, persona also intersects with the UI/UX design industry. A persona is a representation of the target audience. They are loosely defined and help companies hone in on the on-brand message, UX design needs, and more.
A prototype is a model of a product. Usually created at a smaller scale, a prototype shows the preliminary design.
Simply put, responsive websites adapt to the device they are being displayed on.
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of elevating a website’s visibility in search results. Increasing SEO can involve finetuning content to make it more relevant and accessible for search engines.
Similar to mockups, storyboards are visual representations. The key difference is that a storyboard represents a user’s experience with a product, not just the product itself.
A toggle switch, also known as toggles, is a UI element that has two states of being (such as ON and OFF). Toggles are designed to increase the functionality of the design.
The cornerstone of UI/UX design is its ability to put the user first. Similarly, user-centered design is a process of considering the user at every turn; designing with them in mind.
User interface (UI) designers work with the visual components of a website.
UI/UX design requires a lot of research – which is what usability testing is for. Usability testing helps designers evaluate the functionality of products.
User experience (UX) designers hone in on a user’s emotions to create
White space, often referred to as negative space, refers to the blank space on a page.
Much like blueprints for websites, a wireframe shows a low-fidelity representation of a website’s layout.