10 UX Design Terms You Need To Know

Dec 22, 2021Mikenzi Ross

There are many terms, phrases, and acronyms to remember when it comes to design (UX, UI, or otherwise.) For startups who want to make the most out of their relationship with a UX designer, we recommend getting to know some of these fundamental UX design terms.

While it’s tempting to leave the industry jargon to your UX designer, the development process will be more effective if your team understands some key terminology.

We’ve compiled what we believe are the 10 most important UX design terms you need to know. Becoming familiar with them ensures you:

  • Communicate effectively with your designer
  • Feel confident throughout every stage of the design process
  • Sound super smart

1: UX

UX stands for “User Experience.” Fairly self-explanatory, the user experience describes how the user feels and experiences your product. Developing a successful UX involves making sure everything is clear, simple, and focuses specifically on how to give users the best interaction possible with your product.

2: UI

UI stands for “User Interface.” The user interface describes how the look of your app will impact the user. UI design includes elements like fonts, colors, and graphics. UX and UI intertwine to create a beautiful, functional, and effective product, but UX and UI designers are not interchangeable.

3: Wireframe

Wireframes are the skeleton of your product. In some ways, you can think of it as a storyboard. A wireframe is a two-dimensional representation of how your product fits together. It shows how pages connect to one another, as well as how page layouts will look.

Wireframes are a crucial stage of development because everyone can review all app components in one place. The best part about wireframes is that they’re easy to change and tweak, so as new ideas or user pain points arise, the UX team can make changes before development begins.

4: Accessibility

Accessibility is a design strategy that accounts for visual, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. Accessibility bridges the gap for these users by putting specific measures in place to accommodate them (like alt-text on images and colorblind modes, for example). In the modern era, accessibility should be a priority for every product.

5: Backlog

The term "backlog" describes a product’s “to-do list.” They encompass all of the must-have and would-like-to-have elements of a product. Most often, backlogs are listed in order of importance based on which features take the highest priority. Additionally, backlogs are a major element of Feature Prioritization Frameworks.

6: API

API stands for “Application Programming Interfaces.” APIs are software elements that support the way one app communicates with another. APIs make reading and accessing product information on servers much easier.

7: Clickstream

A clickstream describes the journey of clicks a user makes to accomplish any given goal on your website. Every website is trackable via a clickstream, and learning how to optimize your clickstream can enhance your user experience and retention.

8: Breadcrumb

Breadcrumb (AKA breadcrumb navigation) gives users a roadmap of how they arrived at any given page on a website or mobile app. Breadcrumbs—a pretty cute and accurate term—are text at the top of a page that displays the clickstream the visitor took to reach their current location on a site.

9: CX

CX stands for “Customer Experience.” CX describes the way a user interacts with and experiences the process of using your product. From how they find it, to the onboarding process, and overall user experience, Customer Experience is not the same as UX.

UX focuses on the app’s inner workings, while CX refers to the actual user journey. Your app could be spectacular, but it can tank your CX if your customer service drops the ball.

10: Feature Prioritization Framework

Feature prioritization frameworks are the methods by which a design team organizes each project stage. Using an FPF allows your team to figure out which elements and features take top priority.

In addition, they help each department plan out how to execute the long-term goals of the product. There are many types of feature prioritization frameworks to suit every startup’s strengths, so be sure to find one that complements your team, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Your new UX vocabulary is about to pay off

Feel free to bookmark this little cheat sheet so you can keep it on hand. There are a TON of additional UX terms worth learning, but we think these are 10 basic terms that everyone should know if they’re going to work with a UX, UI, or Product Designer.

While the UX design process can feel really overwhelming, The Design Project is here to make it easy and effective.

Our team helps your product harness its maximum potential with human-centered strategies that drive conversions.

Not to mention, we love the startup vibe, so we understand the pressure you’re under, and exactly how to help you reach your large-scale goals.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post—and if you did, maybe share it with some fellow UX-lovin’ friends!

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