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Terms to Know

Common UX Terms

3-click rule - User should be able to find any info with no more than 3 mouse clicks (or finger taps)

5-second test - users get an impression/idea within 5 seconds of viewing a product

A/B testing - Compare two versions of a product to determine which one performs better

Accessibility - Practice of making products usable by as many people as possible

Alpha Test - Developers test a product to ensure it meets the business requirements and functions properly. Done before beta testing

Beta Test - Testing before a product is released to wide audiences. Check out some beta testing resources here

Cognitive Walkthrough - See if tasks can be performed in the correct sequence of actions they were designed in, and to understand learnability

Customer Experience (CX) - All interactions between customers and your design/brand, including overall experience, likelihood to continue use, and likelihood to recommend to others

Customer Journey Map (CJM) - Tool to understand what motivates your users - what their needs are, their hesitations, and concerns

F-pattern - Moving downwards in a horizontal direction, forming an “F” shape on the page. Focus is concentrated at the top and the left side of the page.

Human Centered Design - Design involving human perspective in every steps of the problem-solving process

Information Architecture (IA) - Structured design of information within a project; organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way

Mental Model - Explanation of thought process about how something works in the real world

Mindmap - Diagram used to visually organize info, also known as wordmap (using text) is hierarchical and shows relationships between elements AND the big picture

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) - Product version with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development.

Mockup - Model/replica of a product, used for instructional or experimental purposes. Could also mean a photo-realistic rendering of a physical product (such as an iphone or macbook) onto which you could place your design

Site Map - List of pages of a web site, often organized by hierarchy. Create sitemaps using these diagram makers

Prototype - Early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process

Responsive Web Design (RWD) - Web product can adjust to accommodate different screen sizes

UI Design - Refers to user interaction design OR user interface

Use cases - Written description of how users will perform tasks on your website

User flow - Path taken by a prototypical user on a website or app to complete a task

User Interaction - How the user acts on a product and how the product responds

User Interface - Access points where users interact with designs

Graphical User Interface - Form of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and audio, instead of just text

Wireframe - Visual representation of a user interface

General Design Terms

Balance - Distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space

Fontsmith's A-Z of Typographic Terms - Detailed list of typographic parts and terms, with charts

Gestalt - People do not visually perceive items in isolation, but as part of a larger whole.

Golden Ratio - Designs that align with the golden ratio are perceived as more unified. Read about the math here. Here are also some critiques of the Golden Ratio

Rule of Thirds - draws the viewer's eye into the composition, instead of just glancing at the center. Mostly applied in photography, but applicable to layout design too

Web Design-Related Terms

16px (standard 1em) - In almost every browser, 16px is the standard for proportional fonts

Modular Scaling - Sequence of numbers that relate to one another in a meaningful way. Designs using a modular scale will look more unified and organized

User Testing & Psychology Terms

Bias - Preference, prejudice, or tendency that can affect a subject’s behavior during testing. These should be avoided as much as possible so your results don’t get skewed

Confounding variable - Suggest there is correlation when there actually isn’t

Convenience/ Opportunity Sampling - Using the people near you or whomever is easily available as subjects. This is sometimes a bad sampling practice since you might not be sampling from your target demographic. You might also find user bias and confounding variables

Generalisability - Extent to which findings can be applied to the complete target population

Heuristic Evaluation - Holistic test to see if the thing you’re testing is a design pattern or follows recognized usability principles

Observation - Controlled observation of users means to examine how users interact with what you’re testing without interfering with how they interact with your prototype

Random Sampling - When everyone in a target demographic has an equal chance of being selected. No testing is truly random, but ideally we can get close

Sample - Participants that you select from a target population

Stratified Sampling - When subgroups (such as gender identity or age) are identified and participants are selected in proportion to those subgroups

Subject - An individual you’re conducting a (user) test on

Systematic Sampling - sampling users using a system

Target Population - Total group from which subjects can be found from

Think Aloud - Ask participants to test your product while saying what they’re thinking/ vocalizing their action for a better grasp of their thought process

Volunteer Sample - Participants opt into your study

Common File Extensions


  • FNT - Windows font file
  • FON - Generic font file
  • OTF - Open type font file
  • TTF - TrueType font file


  • HTM or HTML - html document (structures webpages)
  • CSS - cascading style sheet (styles webpages)
  • SCSS - Style sheet that contains Sass language
  • JS - javascript file, scripts to make a website dynamic

Disc and Media

  • BIN - Binary disc image
  • DMG - macOS X disk image
  • ISO - ISO disc image
  • TOAST - Toast disc image
  • VCD - Virtual CD

Useful Sources

ComputerHope - List of common file extensions and what they do

UI/UX Glossary - List of UIUX terms, you can also check out this site's Terms to Know