77 Design Thinking and UX Design Glossary Terms for the Rest of Us

1A/B TestingA method of comparing two versions of a product or design to determine which one performs better based on user feedback and data.
2AffordanceA design feature that suggests how an object should be used, such as the shape of a button that indicates it can be pressed.
3Agile DevelopmentA design and development approach that emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and a focus on delivering working products quickly, often through iterative cycles of design, testing, and feedback.
4AnthropologyThe study of human behavior, culture, and society, which can be applied in UX design to understand user needs, behaviors, and preferences.
5ArchitectureThe art and science of designing and constructing buildings and structures, which can be applied in UX design to plan and organize digital products and interfaces.
6Card SortingA method of user research that involves asking users to organize topics or information into categories to identify patterns and relationships that can inform the design of navigation and information architecture.
7Cognitive LoadThe amount of mental effort required to complete a task or process, which can impact user experience and influence design decisions.
8Design SprintA time-boxed design and development process that typically spans one to two weeks and involves cross-functional teams collaborating to define, prototype, test, and refine a product or feature.
9Design ThinkingA problem-solving and innovation methodology that emphasizes empathy, experimentation, iteration, and a focus on user needs and perspectives.
10EmpathyThe ability to understand and share the feelings, experiences, and perspectives of others, which is a key aspect of user-centered design and user research.
11FlowA state of optimal experience where users are fully engaged and focused on a task or activity, often achieved through intuitive and seamless design and interaction.
12GamificationThe use of game-like elements and mechanics, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, in non-game contexts to increase user engagement, motivation, and satisfaction.
13Gestalt PrinciplesA set of principles in psychology and design that describe how people perceive and interpret visual information, such as proximity, similarity, and continuity.
14HeuristicsA set of general principles or guidelines that can be used to evaluate and improve the usability and user experience of a product or interface.
15Human-Centered DesignA design approach that prioritizes the needs and perspectives of users throughout the design process, from research and ideation to prototyping and testing.
16IconographyThe use of visual symbols or icons to represent concepts, objects, or actions, which can improve usability and communicate information quickly and effectively.
17Information ArchitectureThe organization and structure of information in a digital product or interface, which can impact usability and user experience by making content more discoverable, understandable, and accessible.
18Interaction DesignThe design of the interactive elements and behaviors of a digital product or interface, such as buttons, menus, and animations, which can impact usability, engagement, and satisfaction.
21EmpathyA key principle of design thinking that involves understanding and sharing the feelings and experiences of others. In the context of UX design, empathy is used to gain a deeper understanding of users and their needs, which can inform the design of products and services that better meet those needs.
22EthnographyA research method that involves observing and studying the behaviors, attitudes, and social practices of a group of people in their natural setting. In UX design, ethnographic research can be used to gain a deeper understanding of users and their context, which can inform the design of products and services that better meet their needs.
23Experience mappingA design method used to visualize and understand a user’s experience with a product or service. Experience maps typically include a series of touchpoints, or interactions between the user and the product or service, and are used to identify pain points and areas for improvement in the user experience.
24FigmaA cloud-based design tool that allows designers to create, collaborate on, and share user interfaces and other design assets. Figma is popular among UX designers for its collaborative features and its ability to create responsive design layouts.
25FlowThe sense of being fully immersed and focused in an activity, often referred to as being “in the zone.” In UX design, flow refers to creating a user experience that allows users to become fully engaged and absorbed in an activity, without distractions or interruptions.
26GamificationThe use of game-like elements, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, in non-game contexts to encourage engagement and participation. In UX design, gamification can be used to motivate users to complete tasks, learn new skills, or engage with a product or service in a more playful and interactive way.
27Heuristic evaluationA usability inspection method in which a group of evaluators assesses a product or service against a set of design principles or “heuristics.” Heuristic evaluation is a quick and cost-effective way to identify potential usability issues and can be done early in the design process to inform improvements.
28Human-centered designA design philosophy that places the needs, wants, and experiences of users at the center of the design process. Human-centered design involves empathy, iteration, and prototyping to create products and services that meet the needs and desires of the people who will use them.
29Information architectureThe process of organizing and structuring content to make it easy to find, understand, and navigate. In UX design, information architecture is used to create clear and intuitive navigation and labeling systems that help users quickly and easily find the content they need.
30Interaction designThe design of digital products and services that focuses on how users interact with and experience those products. Interaction design involves creating intuitive, usable, and engaging interfaces that allow users to achieve their goals in a seamless and enjoyable way.
31EmpathyThe ability to understand and share the feelings of others. In design thinking, empathy is a key component of the process of gaining a deep understanding of users.
32FlowA state of focused concentration that occurs when the user is fully engaged in the experience. UX designers strive to create products that enable flow.
33FramerateThe rate at which a device displays images on the screen. A high framerate can contribute to a better user experience.
34GamificationThe use of game design elements in non-game contexts. Gamification is often used to increase user engagement and motivation.
35Gestalt PrinciplesA set of principles that describe how humans perceive visual elements and organize them into meaningful patterns.
36HeuristicsA set of rules or guidelines used to make decisions and solve problems. In UX design, heuristics can be used to evaluate the usability of a product.
37HierarchyThe organization of content or elements in order of importance or relevance. A clear hierarchy can help users understand the structure of a product.
38Human-Centered DesignAn approach to design that puts the needs and wants of the user at the center of the design process.
39Information ArchitectureThe organization and structure of information within a product or website. A well-designed information architecture can improve usability and user experience.
40Interaction DesignThe design of digital interfaces and interactions between users and products. Interaction design aims to create products that are intuitive and easy to use.
41IterationThe process of repeating a design cycle in order to refine and improve a product. Iteration is a key component of design thinking.
42Journey MapA visual representation of the user’s experience with a product or service. Journey maps can help identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.
43Kano ModelA framework for understanding customer satisfaction based on their expectations and perceptions of a product’s features.
44KerningThe adjustment of the spacing between letters in typography. Proper kerning can improve the legibility and aesthetics of text.
45Lean UXAn approach to UX design that emphasizes rapid experimentation and iteration. Lean UX aims to create products that are both useful and usable.
46Mental ModelA person’s internal representation of how something works. In UX design, understanding the user’s mental model is crucial for creating an intuitive product.
47MicrointeractionsSmall interactions within a product that are designed to be both functional and delightful. Microinteractions can contribute to a positive user experience.
48Mind MappingA visual technique for organizing and generating ideas. Mind mapping can be used in the ideation phase of design thinking.
49MockupA visual representation of a design, often created in the early stages of the design process. Mockups can help designers communicate their ideas to stakeholders.
50Mood BoardA visual collage of images, colors, and textures used to convey the aesthetic and emotional aspects of a design.
51NavigationThe system or method used to move through a product or website. Navigation should be intuitive and easy to use for the user.
52Minimum Viable Product (MVP)A product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future development
53MockupA rough, visual representation of a design idea or concept
54Navigation DesignThe process of designing and structuring the navigation system of a website or application
55Paper PrototypeA low-fidelity prototype that is hand-drawn or printed on paper
56PersonasFictional characters that represent different user types and their characteristics
57PrototypingThe process of creating and testing different versions of a design idea or concept
58Rapid PrototypingA fast and iterative prototyping process that involves creating quick and simple prototypes
59Responsive DesignThe process of designing a website or application to adapt to different screen sizes and devices
60StoryboardingA technique for planning and visualizing the flow of a design idea or concept
61Style GuideA document that outlines the visual and design standards for a project or brand
62Task AnalysisThe process of breaking down a user task into smaller, more manageable steps
63UI (User Interface)The visual and interactive elements of a website or application that users interact with
64UX (User Experience)The overall experience and satisfaction that a user has when interacting with a product or service
65UsabilityThe extent to which a product or service is easy and efficient to use by its intended users
66User-Centered Design (UCD)A design approach that focuses on understanding the needs and goals of users and prioritizing them
67User FlowsA visual representation of the path that a user takes through a website or application
68User JourneyThe complete experience that a user has when using a product or service
69User ResearchThe process of gathering data and feedback from users to inform the design of a product or service
70User StoriesShort, simple descriptions of a user’s needs and goals that can be used to guide the design process
71User TestingThe process of observing and evaluating how users interact with a product or service
72Visual DesignThe use of typography, color, imagery, and other visual elements to communicate a design concept
73WireframeA low-fidelity visual representation of a website or application that outlines its structure
74WorkflowThe sequence of steps and tasks that make up a process or user task
75Zoom-InA technique for examining and understanding a design concept at a high level and then in more detail
76Zoom-OutA technique for examining and understanding a design concept at a low level and then in broader context
7780/20 RuleThe principle that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, which can be applied to design decisions and priorities

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