Glossary of Product Design & Product Management

Tài liệu này được mình bắt đầu xây dựng vào giữa năm 2018 chủ yếu dựa trên nền tảng của và, sau đó có sự bổ sung và cấu trúc lại theo sự hiểu biết của mình. Mục tiêu ban đầu là để giúp team Product ở Cloudjet dễ dàng hiểu được các khái niệm nền tảng và công cụ của Product Design và Product Development.

Mình đăng lên đây hy vọng sẽ phần nào có ích cho các bạn đang bắt đầu tìm hiểu hiểu về ngành này. Trong thời gian tới sẽ có sự bổ sung, gắn nhãn và phân loại ra các đầu mục để giúp các bạn dễ dàng tra cứu. Hãy xem đây là một tài liệu để tra cứu khi cần nhé.

Basic of UX

Project Management
Focuses on planning and organizing a project and its resources. This includes identifying and managing the lifecycle to be used, applying it to the user-centered design process, formulating the project team, and efficiently guiding the team through all phases until project completion.

User Research
Focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.

Usability Evaluation 
Focuses on how well users can learn and use a product to achieve their goals. It also refers to how satisfied users are with that process.

Information Architecture (IA) 
Focuses on how information is organized, structured, and presented to users.

User Interface Design 
Focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. 

Interaction Design (IxD) 
Focuses on creating engaging interactive systems with well thought out behaviors.

Visual Design 
Focuses on ensuring an aesthetically pleasing interface that is in line with brand goals.

Content Strategy 
Focuses on writing and curating useful content by planning the creation, delivery and governance behind it.

Focuses on how a disabled individual accesses or benefits from a site, system or application. Section 508 is the governing principal for accessibility.

Web Analytics 
Focuses on the collection, reporting, and analysis of website data.

7 plus or minus 2
The number of items that can be held in short-term memory or that can be the focus of attention, as stated by George A. Miller in his 1956 paper. The number applies only to retention and recall of information, and not to recognition. “The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information” (The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp. 81-97). See also: Chunking, Hick’s law (Hick-Hyman law)

The attributes and characteristics of a system that allow people with limited vision, hearing, dexterity, cognition or physical mobility to interact effectively with the system. Standards and guidelines are available, and standards may be legally enforced in some markets. Accessibility aids, such as screen readers, may be added to a system to allow people with disabilities to use those systems. Synonyms: ARIA, Section 508, WAI WCAG

Affinity Diagramming
Affinity diagramming is a participatory method where concepts written on cards are sorted into related groups and sub-groups. The original intent of affinity diagramming was to help diagnose complicated problems by organizing qualitative data to reveal themes associated with the problems. Synonyms: Mind mapping

The properties of an object that inform people how the object could be used. The term ‘perceived affordance’ applies when the object properties are perceived in a way that differs from the real-world, physical properties, especially when the usage of the object depends on perceived rather than real-world properties.

Brain drawing
Brain drawing is a type of visual brainstorming in which a group of participants sketch ideas for designs, icons, screen layouts, or other visual concepts.

A method for generating ideas, intended to inspire the free-flowing sharing of thoughts of an individual or a group of people, typically while withholding criticism in order to promote uninhibited thinking. See also: Braindrawing, Brainwriting, Metaphor Brainstorming

Brain writing
Brain writing is a method for quickly generating ideas by asking participants to write their ideas on paper (or online) rather than announcing them in traditional group brainstorming sessions. Brainwriting has the advantage of parallel idea generation. In traditional group brainstorming, only one idea can be presented at a time (a serial process). In brainwriting, you can have the entire group writing ideas at the same time. See also: Brainstorming

Card Sorting
A method for organizing information that involves sorting a series of cards into groups that make sense to the participants. Each card represents a single term, function or object. Card sorting helps to reveal users’ mental models, or patterns that the end users would expect to find.

Case Study
A way of learning about a complex instance through extensive description and analysis. The case study articulates why the instance occurred as it did by exploring the factors contributing to its success or failure, and what one might consider in similar situations.

A checklist is a predefined set of guidelines, tasks, or other items against which products, processes, behaviors, user interface components, or something else, are compared.

The human ability to group information into related small sets, which can then be stored in short-term memory. By keeping information in smaller pieces, the functional storage capacity of the brain is increased. Information is often presented in a chunked format to facilitate human memory, for example North American phone numbers are often grouped into the xxx-xxx-xxxx pattern. Familiarly with the information and/or rehearsal of it increases the person’s ability to remember the information. See also: 7 plus or minus 2

Claims Analysis
Claims analysis is a technique for examining the positive and negative consequences of design features that are described in current or future scenarios of use. A “claim” is a statement of the consequences of a specific design feature or artifact on users and other stakeholders.

Cognitive Walkthrough
The cognitive walkthrough is a usability evaluation method in which one or more evaluators work through a series of tasks and ask a set of questions from the perspective of the user. See also: Heuristic Walkthrough, Pluralistic Usability Walkthroug.

Competitor Analysis
A method for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of competing products or services before starting work on prototypes.

The characteristics of a graphic element that enable the audience to differentiate the element from its surrounding environment. Conspicuity is achieved when each element can easily be distinguished separately by the user.

Context of Use Analysis
Collecting and analyzing detailed information about the intended users, their tasks, and the technical and environmental constraints. The data for a context of use analysis can be gathered using interviews, workshops, surveys, site visits, artifact analysis, focus groups, observational studies, and contextual inquiry.

Contextual Inquiry
A semi-structured field interviewing method based on a set of principles that allow it to be molded to different situations. This technique is generally used at the beginning of the design process and is good for getting rich information, but can be complex and time consuming. See also: Ethnography, Field Study

Critical Incident Technique (CIT)
A method of gathering facts (incidents) from domain experts or less experienced users of the existing system to gain knowledge of how to improve the performance of the individuals involved. CIT is used to look for the cause of human-system (or product) problems to minimize loss to person, property, money or data.

Cultural Probe
Cultural probes are sets of simple artifacts (such as maps, postcards, cameras, or diaries) that are given to users for them to record specific events, feelings or interactions in their usual environment, in order to get to know them and their culture better. Cultural probes are used to uncover aspects of culture and human interaction like emotions, values, connections, and trust. See also: Diary Study, Photo Study

The shared set of habits, customs, knowledge, beliefs, language, and behaviors that set one group of people apart from others. This grouping may range from very large to very small groups (such as an office or a business). Culture is invisible to people who are part of it, and often incomprehensible to people who are encountering a specific culture for the first time. The risk of culture for usability is that culture is a deep source of unstated assumptions. These assumptions need to be identified and stated explicitly before they can be incorporated into a usable design.See also: Ethnography

Diary Study
A diary study requires users, or observers of users, to keep track of activities or events in some form of diary or log for a particular period of time. See also: Cultural Probe

Easy to Learn
The aspect of usability that focuses on facilitating the users learning of an interface, with minimum time and effort spent in the learning phase.

The attribute of usability that focuses on task completion, guiding the user through all parts of the task and ensuring that the task is properly completed.

The attribute of usability that focuses on being able to accomplish a task in minimum time with a minimum of effort.

The attribute of usability that focuses on capturing and holding the user’s attention and interest.

The process of gathering information about users and tasks directly from users in their normal work, home or leisure environment. Traditional more on Ethnography)”>ethnography focuses on long-term studies spanning weeks, months, or even years. Information may be collected through participant observation, interviews, audio or video recording, observer logs, artifact collection, diaries and photographs. (more on Ethnography). See also: Contextual Inquiry, Culture

A person that works with a person or group to lead a discussion or activity in order to extract feedback and information. A facilitator’s goals might include developing an understanding of a situation or objective, help achieve consensus, understand the differences or obstacles that stand in the way of the end goals, and clarify various view points. Key skills for a facilitator include timekeeping, application of behavioral tools to help achieve the desired test or activity goals, listening, asking questions, suggesting alternatives, and moving the test or activity forward and keeping records. A facilitator might preside over various forms of user research. See also: Moderator

Field Study
A field study is a general method for collecting data about users, user needs, and product requirements that involves observation and interviewing. Data are collected about task flows, inefficiencies, and the organizational and physical environments of users.See also: Contextual Inquiry

Fishbone Diagram
A graphic that is created to identify cause-and-effect relationships among factors in a given situation. It is made up of a ‘head’ which states a problem and bones along the spine which represent factors and categories of factors. Synonyms: Cause-and-effect diagram, Fault tree diagram, Ishikawa diagram, Root cause analysis

Fitts’ Law
The further away a target is, and the smaller its size, the longer it will take for a user to reach it. The time required to move from a starting point to within the confines of a target area is dependent on a logarithmic relationship between the distance from the point to the target area and the size of the target.

Focus Group
A focus group is a focused discussion where a moderator leads a group of participants through a set of questions on a particular topic. Focus groups are often used in the early stages of product planning and requirements gathering to obtain feedback about users, products, concepts, prototypes, tasks, strategies, and environments. See also: Moderator
Formative Evaluation
Formative evaluation is a type of usability evaluation that helps to ‘form’ the design for a product or service. Formative evaluations involve evaluating a product or service during development, often iteratively, with the goal of detecting and eliminating usability problems.

Free Listing
Free listing is a technique for gathering data about a specific domain or topic by asking people to list all the items they can think of that relate to the topic. It can be used to gather data in large group settings or in one-on-one interviews.

Function Allocation
Function allocation is a classic human factors method for deciding whether a particular function will be accomplished by a person, technology (hardware or software) or some mix of person and technology. To do this, the investigator considers error rates, fatigue, costs, hazards, technological feasibility, human values, ethical issues, and the desire of people to perform the function.

Gestalt Principles
Humans visually perceive items not in isolation, but as part of a larger whole. These principles include humans tendencies towards similarity, proximity, continuity, and closure.

Graceful Degradation
Systems should be designed so that when features that take advantage of new technologies are disabled, the content maintains effectiveness for the users. For example, older Web browsers and browsers which allow users to disable features will display page content in a simplified format.

A usability guideline for evaluating a user interface, which can be used to identify design problems. Usability heuristics often need to be adjusted depending on the interface and the technology used. There are lists of heuristics that have been compiled by various people and organizations that are commonly used for this method.

Heuristic Evaluation
A usability evaluation method in which one or more reviewers, preferably experts, compare a software, documentation, or hardware product to a list of design principles (commonly referred to as heuristics) and identify where the product does not follow those principles.

Heuristic Walkthrough
A type of inspection that combines aspects of heuristic evaluation, the cognitive walkthrough, and the pluralistic usability walkthrough. See also: Cognitive Walkthrough

Hick’s law (Hick-Hyman law)
The time it takes to make a decision increases proportionally to the number and complexity of choices. Hick’s law is the appropriate model in choosing an alternative from a menu or navigation bar for decision times, rather than Miller’s “magic number” of seven plus or minus two. See also: 7 plus or minus 2

Human Factors
The multidisciplinary study of human biological, physical, psychological, and social characteristics in relation to environments, objects and services. The practice of human factors applies to the design, operation, and evaluation of systems to ensure that that they are safe, efficient, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to humans.

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
A discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. (from HCI Bibliography,

Industrial Design
An applied art focusing on the aesthetics, usability, ergonomics, and production of physical products, such as automobiles, appliances and consumer electronics. Industrial designers may specify the overall shape, interactive properties, colors, texture, and sounds of an object, as well aspects of the manufacturing process.

Information Architecture (IA)
The process of organizing information including the structure, design, layout and navigation in a way that is easy for people to find, understand and manage the information.

Interaction Design
The discipline of Interaction Design (IxD) defines the structure and behavior of interactive systems. Interaction Designers strive to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances and beyond. (From the Interaction Design Association web site: See also: User-Centered Design (UCD)

A view or presentation of an object, service, or environment that a person (or group) interacts with, and the capabilities that provide for interaction across the interface.

The process of developing a system whose core design works in multiple languages and in the cultural contexts of different locales, without having to be redesigned for each locale. See also: Localization

Iterative Design
Design methodology involving repeated cycles of design, evaluation, and analysis. Refinements are made for the next cycle based on the analysis and feedback.

Part of the GOMS family of predictive models, the Keystroke-Level Model GOMS (KLM-GOMS) is a quantitative modeling tool for predicting how long it will take expert users to complete a specific task with no errors.

A measure of the degree to which a user interface can be learned; an attribute of a usable system. The ease of learning the functionality of a system and gaining proficiency to complete basic and necessary tasks. Factors affecting this measure include the amount of time, training, and support required for the user to learn the system. See also: Readability

Likert Scale
A response range for a type of survey question in which a person is asked to agree or disagree with a statement. The scale typically runs from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5 or 7 (“strongly agree”). With a Likert scale, neither the numerical scores nor the intervals between score values have any intrinsic meaning. See also: Rating Scales

Customizing an internationalized product for a specific market. When a product has been properly internationalized, the visual design can be preserved when it is adapted for a particular audience, even while the language is translated, formats converted and layout adjusted. See also: Internationalization

Longitudinal Study
A study that captures data over a period of time (days, week, months or years) to understand the long-term effects of changes in products, processes or environment.

Metaphor Brainstorming
Metaphor brainstorming is a method for generating metaphors and extracting aspects of those metaphors that can be applied to the design of hardware, software, processes, and services. SEE Brainstorming. Read more about Metaphor Brainstorming. See also: Brainstorming

A person that works with a group to regulate, but not lead, a discussion. Whereas a facilitator might take charge of a discussion to shepherd it in a specific direction, a moderator remains passive, without explicitly leading the process or driving a desired outcome. A moderator takes the lead from the participants, listening and intervening only when necessary to encourage further discussion or ask for clarity for other participants or audiences. SEE Facilitator. See also: Facilitator, Focus Group

Paper Prototyping
A study conducted on a paper version of a design to get feedback early on in the design process. See also: Wireframe Synonyms: Low-fidelity prototype

Parallel Design
A method where several design groups produce alternative designs in parallel, with the objective of incorporating the best aspects of each design in the final solution.

Participatory Design
A process that involves developers, business representatives, and users working together to design a solution. It actively involves users in the design process to help ensure that the product designed meets their needs and is usable in the process.

Fictional person created to model and describe the goals, needs, and characteristics of a specific type or group of users. Does not describe a real, individual user nor an average user. Often includes made-up personal details to make the fictional person more “real”.

Phone Interview
A semi-structured or structured interview that is conducted over a phone or Internet audio line. Phone interviews can supplement other HCI methods and allow HCI specialists to follow users over an extended time.

Photo Study
Users take photos to highlight important aspects of their lives and context. The photos are assembled into collages and studied to highlight opportunities for new technologies and barriers to their acceptance.See also: Cultural Probe

Pluralistic Usability Walkthrough
A usability test method employed to generate early design evaluation by assigning a group of users a series of paper-based tasks that represent the proposed product interface and including participation from developers of that interface. See also: Cognitive Walkthrough

A lightweight initial design of an interface or product, used to capture initial concepts and layouts to gather feedback from users, as well as project participants and stakeholders.

Rapid Prototyping
The creation of low-cost representations of the user interface to a system as a method of brainstorming, creating, testing and communicating ideas about the system being developed. See also: Wireframe

Rating Scales
A series of response options to research questions, representing degrees of a particular characteristic. The options are specifically ordered with sequential values (known as “ordinal”) and have little overlap between neighboring options. See also: Likert Scale

A measure of the degree to which an interface can be easily and accurately read; an attribute of a usable system. The level of difficulty of vocabulary and the complexity of sentences in a written text usually ranked by the age or grade level required for a person to readily understand the text. People can more easily perceive a message correctly when the vocabulary and sentences are simple and clear. See also: Learnability Synonyms: Plain language

A story which has the key elements of a realistic situation when the user would interact with the system being designed or evaluated. The scenario includes consideration of the user’s goals, tasks and interaction. Scenarios can be created for user groups, workflows or tasks to explore, understand and test the different types of needs and goals.

Site Map
A representation of the information that can be found on a Website or of a system. When presented as content on a Website it is typically organized in a hierarchical listing. Alternatively, the same information can be represented with boxes and arrows that visually show the hierarchy of the interface.

A technique for illustrating an interaction between a person and a product (or multiple people and multiple products) in narrative format, which includes a series of drawings, sketches, or pictures and sometimes words that tell a story. Read more about the Storyboard method.

The procedures that include goals, steps, skills, start state, inputs, end state, and outputs required to accomplish an activity. They can be organized into larger tasks such as driving to work and sub-tasks such as opening the car door.

A scheme for classifying a body of knowledge and defining the relationships among the pieces. Sometimes referred to as a controlled vocabulary, a taxonomy is often used to classify content to aid in the creation of information architecture. SEE Information Architecture.

Testing (Usability)
The process of validating that a system meets pre-specified usability objectives. These objectives should be task-based, and should tie directly to product requirements, including results from analytic tools such as personas, scenarios, and task analysis. Testing may validate a number of objective and subjective characteristics, including task completion, time on task, error rates, and user satisfaction. Testing may be formal or informal, may be local (with testers physically present at same location as users) or remote, and may result in qualitative or quantitative data. Testing may occur at any point in the development cycle, from early analysis through product delivery and beyond. Testing may be based on paper designs, models, or display mock-ups, as well as on products in development and completed products. See also: Usability Evaluation, Wizard of Oz

Think-aloud Protocol
A direct observation method of user testing that involves asking users to think out loud as they are performing a task. Users are asked to say whatever they are looking at, thinking, doing, and feeling at each moment. This method is especially helpful for determining users’ expectations and identifying what aspects of a system are confusing.

Usability is the degree to which something – software, hardware or anything else – is easy to use and a good fit for the people who use it.

Usability Engineering
The disciplined application of usability practices to assess the needs and abilities of users, in conjunction with the business requirements, practices, and processes of an organization. These are combined to develop an effective user experience, and to integrate that experience into a product or service. Usability engineering also encompasses the business and interpersonal skills to work effectively with the business and development organizations to integrate usability practices and goals within the overall development, marketing, support, training, and quality assurance processes of the product group.

Usability Evaluation
Assessing the usability of a product with the purpose of identifying usability problems and/or obtaining usability measures. The purpose of evaluation can be to improve the usability of the product as part of design/development (formative evaluation), or to assess the extent to which usability objectives have been achieved (summative evaluation). See also: Testing (Usability), Wizard of Oz

User Experience (UE)
Every aspect of the user’s interaction with a product, service, or company that make up the user’s perceptions of the whole. User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UE works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users.

User-Centered Design (UCD)
An approach or philosophy that emphasizes early and continuous involvement of users in the design and evaluation process. See also: Interaction Design

How people orient themselves and navigate in a built environment, both physical and virtual.

Rough outline of navigation and content elements that make up a user interface. Typically visual design and precise layout are not addressed. See also: Paper Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping

Wizard of Oz
A user-based evaluation of unimplemented technology where, generally unknown to the user, a human or team is simulating some or all the responses of the system. See also: Testing (Usability), Usability Evaluation

User Research

Reporting Usability Test Results
When reporting results from a usability test, you should focus primarily on your findings and recommendations that are differentiated by levels of severity.

Running a Usability Test
Once you have planned your test and recruited your test participants, it’s time to get ready to conduct your test.

Recruiting Usability Test Participants
It is vital to recruit participants who are similar to your site users for your usability testing. 

Planning a Usability Test
One of the first steps in each round of usability testing is to develop a plan for the test.

Usability Testing
Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users.

First Click Testing
First Click Testing examines what a test participant would click on first on the interface in order to complete their intended task.

System Usability Scale (SUS)
The System Usability Scale (SUS) provides a “quick and dirty”, reliable tool for measuring the usability.

Contextual Interview
During these interviews, researchers watch and listen as users work in the user’s own environment, as opposed to being in a lab.

Focus Groups
A focus group is a moderated discussion that typically involves 5 to 10 participants.

Individual Interviews
In individual interviews, an interviewer talks with one user for 30 minutes to an hour.

The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference.

Online Surveys
An online survey is a structured questionnaire that your target audience completes over the internet generally through a filling out a form.

Scenarios describe the stories and context behind why a specific user or user group comes to your site.

Task AnalysisTask analysis is the process of learning about ordinary users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their intended goals.

UX Mapping Method

Empathy Map

Empathy maps help team members understand the user’s mindset. An empathy map is a tool used to articulate what we know about a particular type of user. It externalizes user knowledge in order to 1) create a shared understanding, and 2) aid in decision making.

Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map is a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal tied to a specific business or product. It’s used for understanding and addressing customer needs and pain points.

Usability Testing

Reporting Usability Test Results
When reporting results from a usability test, you should focus primarily on your findings and recommendations that are differentiated by levels of severity.

Running a Usability Test
Once you have planned your test and recruited your test participants, it’s time to get ready to conduct your test.

Recruiting Usability Test Participants
It is vital to recruit participants who are similar to your site users for your usability testing.  Depending on the site or product, you may have multiple potential users groups.

Planning a Usability Test
One of the first steps in each round of usability testing is to develop a plan for the test.

Usability Testing
Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users.

First Click Testing
First Click Testing examines what a test participant would click on first on the interface in order to complete their intended task.

System Usability Scale (SUS)
The System Usability Scale (SUS) provides a “quick and dirty”, reliable tool for measuring the usability.

Heuristic Evaluations and Expert Reviews
In a heuristic evaluation, usability experts review your site’s interface and compare it against accepted usability principles.

Eye Tracking
Eye tracking involves measuring either where the eye is focused or the motion of the eye as an individual views a web page.

Contextual Interview
During these interviews, researchers watch and listen as users work in the user’s own environment, as opposed to being in a lab.

Remote Testing
Remote usability testing allows you to conduct user research with participants in their natural environment by employing screen-sharing software or online remote usability vendor services.

Mobile Device Testing
Testing mobile devices such as phones, tablets, and eReaders requires special equipment and methodology.

Scenarios describe the stories and context behind why a specific user or user group comes to your site.

Information Architecture

Organization Schemes
Organization schemes have to do with how you are going to categorize your content and the various ways you’ll create relationships between each piece.

Organization Structures
An organizational structure is how you define the relationships between pieces of content. Successful structures allow users to predict where they will find information on the site.

Content Inventory
A content inventory is a list of all the content on your site. Your inventory will typically include text, images, documents, and applications.

Card SortingCard sorting is a method used to help design or evaluate the information architecture of a site.

Interaction Design

Use Cases
A use case is a written description of how users will perform tasks on your website.  It outlines, from a user’s point of view, a system’s behavior as it responds to a request.

PrototypingA prototype is a draft version of a product that allows you to explore your ideas and show the intention behind a feature or the overall design concept to users before investing time.

Interaction Design Pattern
A design pattern is a formal way of documenting a solution to a common design problem. Interaction design patterns are a way to describe solutions to common usability or accessibility problems in a specific context. The document interaction models that make it easier for users to understand an interface and accomplish their tasks.

User Interface Design

User Interface Elements
When designing your interface, try to be consistent and predictable in your choice of interface elements.

A wireframe is a two-dimensional illustration of a page’s interface that specifically focuses on space allocation and prioritization of content, functionalities available, and intended.

Progressive disclosure
Progressive disclosure is a design pattern that makes user interfaces easier to understand. They also help to prevent any sense of being overwhelmed by too much information because progressive disclosure removes any clutter and reduced cognitive workload. Let the user read what they want with minimal distractions. They have the possibility to dig deeper, should they wish.

Visual Design

Basic Elements of Visual Design

Connect two points and can be used to help define shapes, make divisions, and create textures.  All lines, if they’re straight, have a length, width, and direction.

Are self-contained areas.  To define the area, the graphic artist uses lines, differences in value, color, and/or texture.  Every object is composed of shapes.

Color palette
Choices and combinations are used to differentiate items, create depth, add emphasis, and/or help organize information.  Color theory examines how various choices psychologically impact users.

Refers to how a surface feels or is perceived to feel. By repeating an element, a texture will be created and a pattern formed. Depending on how a texture is applied, it may be used strategically to attract or deter attention.

Refers to which fonts are chosen, their size, alignment, color, and spacing.

Applies to three-dimensional objects and describes their volume and mass.  Form may be created by combining two or more shapes and can be further enhanced by different tones, textures, and colors.

Principles for Creating a Visual Design

Has to do with all elements on a page visually or conceptually appearing to belong together. Visual design must strike a balance between unity and variety to avoid a dull or overwhelming design.

In visual design, helps users perceive the overall design as opposed to individual elements. If the design elements are arranged properly, the Gestalt of the overall design will be very clear.

Is “defined when something is placed in it”, according to Alex White in his book,The Elements of Graphic Design. Incorporating space into a design helps reduce noise, increase readability, and/or create illusion. White space is an important part of your layout strategy.

Shows the difference in significance between items.  Designers often create hierarchies through different font sizes, colors, and placement on the page. Usually, items at the top are perceived as most important.

Creates the perception that there is equal distribution.  This does not always imply that there is symmetry.

Focuses on making items stand out by emphasizing differences in size, color, direction, and other characteristics.

Identifies a range of sizes; it creates interest and depth by demonstrating how each item relates to each other based on size.

Focuses on having one element as the focal point and others being subordinate.  This is often done through scaling and contrasting based on size, color, position, shape, etc.

Refers to creating continuity throughout a design without direct duplication. Similarity is used to make pieces work together over an interface and help users learn the interface quicker.

Color Basics

A color wheel is an illustrative model of color hues around a circle.  It shows the relationships between the primary, secondary, and intermediate/ tertiary colors.

Project Management

Areas within Project Management

integration management

scope management

time management

cost management

quality management

human resource management

communication management

risk management and

procurement management

Building a Team and Encouraging Communication

Planned/ regular meetings

How formal they will be

Whether meetings will be held in-person, virtually, or both

How the team will share and collaborate on documents

Where documents will be stored and how they will be version controlled

Workflow for decisions and approval

Project Plan and Charter Agreement


Scope, which correlates to the requirements

Resources, including technology, budget, and team roles and responsibilities




Risk assessment and management plan

Change control plan


10 Second Test

Users get 10 seconds to view a web page and then are asked what they saw. Most users spend 10-30 seconds glancing at a webpage or app before moving on.This helps designers understand what the most visible thing on the page is. If it’s not what the designer wants the user to see first, then the design needs reworking.


Adaptive web design

Fixed-width designs for multiple viewport sizes. The system detects what size screen they’re using and serves a website designed specifically for that viewing experience.

Affinity diagramming

A way to organize ideas into groups based on their relationships. Often used to review and analyze pain points and delights along a user journey.

Agile software development

A development method that uses iteration and feedback to launch and refine products. Two to four week sprints are generally conducted repeatedly throughout the year, following a proscribed method of planning, coding, and testing for continuous product evolution and feature integration.

Analysis stage

The stage of the product design process where insights are drawn from data collecting during the earlier Research stage.


A broad term that encompasses a variety of tools that collect quantitative information about the use of a website or application.


Beta launch

The limited launch of a software product with the goal of finding bugs before final launch.


The process of creating and marketing a consistent idea or image of a product or company.

Back-of-the-envelope calculation

A back-of-the-envelope calculation is a rough calculation, typically jotted down on any available scrap of paper such as an envelope. It is more than a guess but less than an accurate calculation or mathematical proof. The defining characteristic of back-of-the-envelope calculations is the use of simplified assumptions. A similar phrase in the U.S. is “back of a napkin”, also used in the business world to describe sketching out a quick, rough idea of a business or product.[1] In British English, a similar idiom is “back of a fag packet”.


Card sorting

A technique used to understand how users sort information into categories and hierarchies.

Content Management System (CMS)

Software like WordPress that provides a user-friendly interface for publishing, editing and maintaining content. See also: Content management. Collaborative designWorking closely with users, stakeholders and the project team to gain buy-in and develop user-centered products that meet stakeholder goals.

Competitor analysis

Research around competitor websites and apps to understand the competitive landscape and identify business and technology opportunities.

Comparative analysis

Performing a feature by features comparison of comparable applications or businesses to understand trends and user expectations.

Content management

Processes and technology for collecting and publishing information.

Contextual enquiry

Conducting research with users in situ in order to understand how they interact with applications or systems.

Content auditReviewing and cataloguing a client’s existing content usually in order to make changes to the content strategy or information architecture.

Customer Journey Map

A diagram of your users’ interactions with your product including their emotions as they interact with it or complete tasks. See also: Experience Map


Design ethnography

Observational research of customers/users in-situ using your product or interacting with your company. The ethnography focuses on watching what the user actually does in a real world situation rather than in a lab or answering questions.

Design sprint

In Agile development methodologies, the design spring comes before the development sprint. At the end of the design sprint, wireframes and UIs are handed off to the engineers for their development sprint.

Diary study

Asking users to record their experiences and thoughts about a product or task in a journal over a set period of time.


Experience Map

A diagram of your users’ interactions with your product including their emotions as they interact with it or complete tasks. See also: Customer Journey Map


Focus groups

User interviews conducted with small groups of people (usually 5-10). Focus groups are useful when understanding how teams of people work together, or as a way to speed the interview process by speaking with many users at once.

The Fogg Behavior Model

shows that three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: Motivation, Ability, and a Prompt. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing.


Guerrilla usability testingQuick, low cost testing with any available users in informal situations (friends, colleagues, people on the street, in a coffee shop). It enables real user feedback without a large investment in time or money. A response to traditional, formalized lab testing, the guerrilla testing gets research results to designers quickly.


Happy path

The frequent and critical activities that users will perform on your site. They are complete activities, not single tasks, and will probably require several pages to execute. Defining the happy paths for your site means that you’ll be able to identify and eliminate any usability obstacles on the key user journeys.

Heuristic review

Evaluating a website or app and documenting usability flaws and other areas for improvement based on a check-list of usability best practices.**Human Computer Interaction (HCI)**HCI involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people (users) and computers.

High-fidelity prototype

A prototype which is quite close to the final product, with lots of detail and a good indication of the final proposed aesthetics and functionality.

Human factor

Also called ergonomics. The scientific discipline of studying interactions between humans and external systems, including human-computer interaction. When applied to design, the study of human factors seeks to optimize both human well-being and system performance.


Industrial design

The application of art and science to the design of physical product to be manufactured through techniques of mass production. Aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and usability design.

Information architecture (IA)

The art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability;

Information scent

An important concept in wayfinding, referring to the extent to which users can predict what they will find if they pursue a certain path through a website. As animals rely on scents to indicate the chances of finding food, humans rely on various cues in the information environment to achieve their goals. See: wayfinding.

Interaction design (IxD)

The design of granular interactions between people and products. Interaction design focuses on how users and technology communicate with each other in order to anticipate how someone might interact with the system in order to invent engaging interfaces with delightful and predictable behaviors

Interaction model

A set of design patterns that are consistent throughout an application. (e.g. If a button works one way on the home screen, it should work the same way every place in the application.) See: pattern library


The act of repeating the design process in order to refine and improve the product. Each repetition of the process is also called an iteration.

Iterative design

A methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process. Based on the results of testing the most recent iteration of a design, changes are made.


Lean UX

Inspired by Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX speeds up the UX process by putting less emphasis on deliverables and greater focus on the actual experience being designed.

Low-fidelity prototype

A quick and easy rendering of the design concept into tangible and testable artifacts, giving an indication of the direction that the product is heading. Often used for usability testing during the iterative design process.


Mood Board

A collage, either physical or digital, which is intended to communicate the visual and emotional style of a design or brand.


A rough model of a product that shows how the finished version should look. Generally used in the visual design stage of the product design process, mockups are not functional like prototypes.



Needfinding is the art of talking to people and discovering their needs—both those they might explicitly state, and those hidden beneath the surface. It is only in truly understanding people and workflow that we can gain meaningful insights to inspire and inform a final, impactful design.


Paper prototype

A rough, often hand-sketched or cut-out to simulate a user interface. Used in a usability test to gather feedback, participants point to locations on the page that they would click, and screens are manually presented to the user based on the interactions they indicate.


A composite identity constructed based on a group of users with similar goals and desires. Used to ensure differing groups or goals are represented in the UI.

Production stage

The stage at which the product is being engineered or built. The role of the product designer shifts from creating and validating to collaborating with developers to guide and champion the vision and ensure fealty to the designs.

Project kick-off

The formally recognized start of a project, usually a meeting in which all the product team gathers to learn about the goal of the project.

Progressive reveal

An design technique that reveals only the interactions or steps the user requires at that moment in the user flow. Often found in long online forms, the goal is to maintain the user’s focus by reducing the number of input boxes on the screen at one time.


A rough working model of a product that shows how the finished version should function. Prototypes can be as simple as a paper mockup to a beta version that is being tested with live users.



A series of questions and other prompts used to gather information.


Research stage

Also known as the discovery stage during which time the product team is researching competitors and comparators, conducting design ethnographies, interviews, surveys, creating empathy maps and personas and testing low-fidelity prototypes with user.In the Lean and Agile methodologies, the research stage may be a recurring part of the product cycle and not a separate stage.

Responsive design

A design and development technique that ensures the website or application responds automatically to screen size, hardware and orientation. The technique consists of flexible grids and layouts, resizable images and CSS media queries.


ScenarioA story describing how a user or persona will use your product in-situ. It’s a method for ensuring that designs fit the user needs on site in a real world setting. See: Use case

Service design

The design of real world spaces and interactions. Planning and organizing people, spaces and infrastructures like coffee shops, hospitals, and auditoriums. Service design includes signage, workflow, interior design and other material and interaction components of a service. The goal is to improve the quality and interactions between the service provider and its customers.


A diagram of all the pages and their interconnection on a website.

Speed dating

A methodology for quickly testing the usability of a product with a roomful of people. Speed dating was created by Scott Davidoff of CMU.

Strategy stage

The planning stage with goals and milestones are decided for a project or sprint.


A visual sequence of events used to capture a user’s interactions and emotions while using a product. Similar to a User Journey but using a filmmaking metaphor.


A form used to gather feedback from users. Often used when a large number of users need to be contacted in a short period of time.

Stakeholder Interviews

Conversations with the key participants in the organization who have a stake in the outcome of the product; e.g. business owners, managers, marketing directors, sales persons, etc. To ensure that the product team understands the goals and desired outcomes of all stakeholders.

System Usability Scale (SUS)

The System Usability Scale (SUS) provides a “quick and dirty”, reliable tool for measuring the usability. It consists of a 10 item questionnaire with five response options for respondents; from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree. Originally created by John Brooke in 1986, it allows you to evaluate a wide variety of products and services, including hardware, software, mobile devices, websites and applications.


Task list

The steps a user must take in order to complete a task and achieve their goal with the product. The task list is then used to create the user flow diagram.


TAM, SAM and SOM are acronyms that represents different subsets of a market.

  • TAM or Total Available Market is the total market demand for a product or service.
  • SAM or Serviceable Available Market is the segment of the TAM targeted by your products and services which is within your geographical reach.
  • SOM or Serviceable Obtainable Market is the portion of SAM that you can capture.



Is the ease of use, learnability and discoverability of a product.

Usability engineering

The formal study of usability.

Use case

A story describing how a user or persona will use your product in-situ. It’s a method for ensuring that designs fit the user needs on site in a real world setting. See: Scenario

User-centered design (UCD)

A design process that keeps the needs and desires of the user first.

User feedback loop

Testing ideas and designs with users in order to get their feedback, then using those responses to validate or refine the design. Then testing again until all user problems and pain points have been resolved.

User flow diagram

A diagram of the steps a user must take in order to complete a task and achieve their goal with the product.User journeyThe process a user takes to reach their goal, including tasks, emotions, and pain points.

User interview

Formal or informal discussions with users in order to understand their emotions, desires, goals and frustrations in the use of the product. See: Focus groups

User research

Researching goals, tasks, business competition and other areas to understand user behaviors, needs, and motivations.

Usability test

Stepping a user through a set of tasks using the product in order to understand where there is confusion, frustration or blocks.



Testing a design with users to ensure that assumptions and design directions were correct.

Visual design

Also called graphic design or UI design. Concerned with colors, typography, style and branding of the product.



The ways in which people orient themselves in physical and digital space and navigate from place to place. A component of information architecture.

Waterfall development

A strictly sequential product development process where progress flows in one direction through design > development > QA > launch > maintenance.


A blueprint for the layout and functions of a website or application. The wireframe is delivered to engineers who build the application based on these specifications.

Workflow diagram

A diagram of the steps a user must take in order to complete a task and achieve their goal with the product. See: User flow

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