Those familiar with coding have probably heard of terms like R, Python, and cloud computing (if not, allow us to give you a quick introduction to the world of web development.) But comparatively few people are familiar with the terms related to UX design.
User experience, or UX, is a user’s emotional response and behavior when using a product, system, or device. In the tech space, UX can be defined as a user’s feelings while interacting with a system such as a website, app, or software.
UX is a result of brand image, presentation, functionality, performance, interactive behavior, and more. Designers sometimes rely on UX research to evaluate users’ responses during and after the use of their products or services. The field of UX is complex, unique, and full of exciting challenges that make for a fulfilling long-term career.
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Your Essential Guide to UX Terms
As the field of UX develops, the number of acronyms and industry-specific jargon will continue to grow. We’ve done our best to help you keep up with the most common tech-talk with this mini dictionary of the most common user experience terms.
1) UX Research
UX research is all the research that you would conduct to understand your user experience better. It can also be described as the process of studying a product’s consumer base and understanding their needs. Thereafter, based on these research results, you can determine how to adjust the user experience of your business. It is a research method that involves a combination of qualitative and quantitative research.
Quantitative research includes gathering numerical data to understand user behavior. On the other hand, qualitative research is a method to gauge what the target audience’s experiences are. Qualitative research is achieved with the help of processes like interviews and questionnaires. These experiences can determine your target customer’s issues, motivations, opinions, or decisive factors leading them to make a purchase.
Quantitative UX research methods include:
- A/B testing
- Heat mapping
- Web Analytics
Qualitative UX research methods include:
- Focus groups
- Personas and prototyping
- Ethnographic studies
- Diary study
2) A/B Testing
Also known as split testing, A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of your UX design against each other. In this process, the users are asked to select one from the two versions of your online content. The users’ top choice is then used to determine which one drives more conversions and revenue.
It is an effective technique to find out the most influential marketing strategies. A/B testing aims to understand the differences in user behavior. It also aims to discover the preferences of a target audience between different versions of a product. Testing different versions helps gauge user satisfaction, which in turn helps UX designers implement their best ideas.
Millions of people live with some kind of impairment. Some of the most common types of impairment are related to hearing and seeing. In order to connect with a wider audience, it’s critical to design an interface that’s accessible to people with disabilities. The more a website caters to people with disabilities, the more accessible it will be.
Accessibility is a function that allows users with certain disabilities to easily interact with, understand, and navigate an application or a webpage. When developing an accessible app or webpage, keep in mind that your UX design should account for the visually impaired, hearing impaired, color impaired, and cognitively impaired.
A major chunk of online traffic is on mobile devices. So it’s important to make sure your website is adaptable to different screen sizes.
An adaptive interface is one that’s designed for various devices. It detects which device is being used by the user to access the site or app, and then it adjusts the display accordingly. But this doesn’t mean there are multiple versions of the same website. You’ll only see the particular version of the site that looks best on your device.
Breadcrumbs are familiar to every professional UX designer. They’re the secondary navigation aids that help users track their location on a website or in an application. Breadcrumbs are generally a sequence of steps that reflect the user’s path while navigating through a site.
Personas are artificial user profiles that UX designers create, to define and categorize the types of users that will use a particular product. A persona can be considered as a user profile developed to understand the needs of the audience. It is a representation of a target audience created upon research findings and data.
User personas are generally not real, however, the information and data used to make them is. They are created based on factors such as demographic data, CX metrics, ethnographic information, and data derived from UX research.
You can think of a wireframe as a blueprint of the webpage that appears on your screen. It is a skeletal framework or a visual blueprint of your website layout or application. Wireframe allows the UX designers to design and organize the arrangement of various elements that will be included on a website. These website elements can be in the form of videos, graphics, interactive user forms, and page layouts.
A wireframe essentially shows where the design elements will be situated on the screen. This is done by laying out the functionality and the content of the page. Wireframes are created even before a prototype is made, which is in the early development phase. This helps the UX professionals establish a basic structure of the webpage before any design elements are incorporated into it.
A prototype is a preliminary model of the proposed final product. It is used for testing before the product’s launch. In simpler terms, it is a highly detailed model of the final product that can simulate user interactions with the interface. A prototype is a much more complete and developed model than a wireframe. You can think of it as a sample version of a product, which is used for testing purposes before the final release of the product.
Prototypes are critical to UX design and development because unlike a final product, they can be tweaked and refined quickly and economically. Depending on the product, a prototype can be in the form of a sketch, full-design mockup, or a fully functional digital model.
9) Usability Testing
Simply put, usability testing is the test to check the ease of usage of a product or design. It is a research method used to evaluate how easy a product or design is to use, by testing it with real users. In this practice, users are given a product to use, while the UX researchers observe them. UX researchers are looking to see if the user experiences any problems or confusion with the product.
These product versions used in usability tests can include either paper sketches of a design or near-finished digital prototypes of a product. This method of testing allows the UX team to identify problems early, and take changes as required.
A UX iteration is the technique of breaking down the product development cycle into small units, i.e. iterative development. It is a vital component of the development cycle. Iteration involves prototyping, sharing prototypes with users, taking user feedback, and finally refining the product design based on this process. The main objective of UX iteration is too make sure that the input or feedback of the users is a key factor in shaping the product design.
So there you have it: our comprehensive, non-exhaustive list of important user experience terms. We hope that this list will help you take your UX knowledge up a notch.
If you’re interested in learning even more about UX, we’ve already done some of the work for you by exploring the most popular UX roles and how much they pay. You can also schedule a call with one of our in-house experts so we can help you launch your career in UX design.
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