Glossary of Terminology
A-B TESTING – Testing technique where a percentage of site visitors are shown an alternate version of a design. The effectiveness of the two designs is then compared.
AFFINITY DIAGRAM – A tool used to organize a large number of ideas, sorting them into groups based on their natural relationships, for review and analysis.
ANALOGOUS SITUATIONS – An analogous situation is a situation from another area or industry that may relate to an area of focus for a design and may suggests ways to improve it.
ANALYTIC INDUCTION – A qualitative research method that begins with a rough hypothesis. which is modiﬁed through the examination of cases that don’t fit the hypothesis.
ANALYTICS – A broad term that encompasses a variety of tools, techniques and processes used for extracting useful information or meaningful patterns from data.
BETA LAUNCH – The limited launch of a software product with the goal of ﬁnding bugs before ﬁnal launch.
BIAS – A one-sided viewpoint, inclination or a partial perspective. An interviewer might inadvertently bias an interviewee’s answers by asking a “loaded” question. in which a desired answer is presupposed in the question.
BODYSTORMING – A prototyping method, Service situations are being acted out, for example for example at the hotel reception. The design team cast the roles, practice the situation. often with the input of end users. The purpose is to prototype and test interactions to better understand and reﬁne them.
BRAINSTORMING – Brainstorming is a group or individual creativity approach where design solutions are generated by members of the team in a collaborative session. 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.
CHANNEL – A medium for communication or delivery. Most services use more than one channel. For example, phone. email, in-store or web site.
CLOSED QUESTIONS – Questions that elicit a yes/no response.
CO-DESIGN – Process in which the design team directly engages end users to assist in the design to access knowledge that is crucial to develop successful design solutions. The designers should provide ways for people to engage with each other as well as instruments to communicate. be creative, share insights and envision their own ideas. The co-design activities can support different levels of participation, from situation in which the external ﬁgures are involved just in speciﬁc moments to situations in which they take part to the entire process. building up the service together with the designers.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE – Cognitive dissonance refers to the discomfort caused by holding two or more conﬂicting (dissonant) beliefs at the same time. People seek to reduce the discomfort by changing one of the beliefs, thus returning to a state of ‘consonance’. So, for example, someone holding the belief that “I am a smart consumer,” may be faced with the dawning realization that “I paid too much for that car.” The two beliefs are in conﬂict (dissonant) and therefore uncomfortable. some one of the beliefs must change. To avoid undermining positive self-belief. and because it is difficult to get a different car, the user’s attitude about the car will change, so that it is seen as more valuable, and therefore worth the price paid.
COMPARISON TESTS – Usability test that compares two or more designs. Examples might be comparing alternative wireframes, comparing before and after designs, or a comparing a design against competitor designs.
CONCEPTUAL MODEL – A model constructed by the users in their mind to understand the working or the structure of objects, based on their mental model and previous experience to speed up their understanding. Also called mental model.
CONFIRMATlON BIAS – The tendency to search for, notice, and interpret information in a way that conﬁrms one’s beliefs or opinions.
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.
COLLABORATIVE DESIGN – Inviting input from users, stakeholders and other project members.
COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE – Collective intelligence is shared knowledge that comes from the collaboration of a group of people and is expressed in consensus decision making. Collective intelligence requires openness, sharing ideas, experiences and perspectives.
CONTEXT – The world the service belongs to. The context is the speciﬁc frame in which the service takes place. Exploring and deﬁning the context means setting the project boundaries in terms of limits but also opportunities. Context is external elements that surround and inﬂuence design. These items can be physical and non-physical and cultural. The environmental context relates to the time, the day, the location, the type of place and any other physical aspect that could inﬂuence your design. The surrounding context inﬂuences the success of design.
CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY – Interviewing users in the location that they use the product or service, to understand their tasks and challenges.
CONVERGENT – Process of Narrowing down ideas through synthesis.
CROSS-DISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION – Combines the wisdom and skills of different professional disciplines working in close and ﬂexible collaboration. Each team member requires disciplinary empathy allowing them to work collaboratively with other discipline members. Design teams can include anthropologists, engineers, educators, doctors, lawyers. scientists, etc. in the innovative problem-solving process.
CULTURAL COMPETENCE – A consciousness, knowledge and skill to work effectively in cross-cultural situations that is grounded in a self-awareness of one’s own personal and cultural values and beliefs.
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.
CUSTOMER JOURNEY – The customer journey is a graphical representation of how the customer perceives and experiences the service interface over time It often also shows the phases before and after the interaction with the service. A customer journey map is a tool to explore. visualize, understand and reﬁne an end user experience.
DEDUCTIVE ANALYSlS – A type of analysis that begins with theoretically derived hypotheses then tests them with data that were collected in accordance with the theoretical context.
DIARY STUDY – Asking users to record their experiences and thoughts about a product or task in a journal over a set period of time.
DIVERGENT – Expansive idea generation and exploration of ideas.
EMPATHIZE – This term is sometimes used to encompass the Understand and Observe steps or as a replacement for them. The use of this emotional term helps remind designers that they must always consider the human experience of real people. It’s more than just seeing it from their perspectives, it’s about understanding how they feel about it all and what it means to them.
EMPATHY – Principle in the design thinking process and human- centered design, in which the user’s perspective is always represented.
ENTRY POlNTS – Position of access to a service. where people are able to engage the service as customers. providers. or stakeholders.
ETHNOGRAPHY – The process of gathering information about users and tasks directly from users in their normal work, home or leisure environment.
EVIDENCE – Service evidences are touch-points that represent parts of a service experience.
EVIDENCE-BASED DESIGN – Evidence-based design is the approach of basing design decisions on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. Evidence-based design emphasizes the importance of basing decisions on the best possible data for the best possible outcomes. The design is not based just on the designer’s opinion.
EXPERIENCE DESIGN – The application of design processes with the goal of creating an appropriate experience for the person interacting with the product. This process begins with understanding the needs and wants of the user. Analysis focuses on cognitive, emotional and motor aspects of the interaction and is completed when the quality of the experience is measured with the developed product.
EXPERIENCE PROTOTYPING – Service experiences have components that are intangible and change over time and have multiple touch-points. Services are prototyped different ways then physical products. Experience Prototype is a representation, that is designed to help us understand, explore or communicate what it feels like to engage with a product, space, service or system.
EXIT POINTS – Point of disengagement of a service by stakeholders.
EXTREME USER – A person who lies at the periphery of a group of users. Extremes can include age, ability, occupation, experience, etc. Rather than designing for a composite or “average” user, a design team will oftentimes look to extreme users for surprising and actionable insights. Focusing on extreme users can lead to more innovative solutions, more profound insights about a group of users and new, untapped markets for a product or service.
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.
FIVE WHYS – An analysis method used to uncover the root cause of a problem.
FOCUS GROUPS – A direct data gathering method in which a small group (8–10) of participants are led in a semi- structured. brainstorming session to elicit rapid feedback.
FORMATIVE EVALUATlON – 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.
GAP ANALYSIS – A technique used to determine the difference between a desired state and an actual state, often used in branding and marketing. Gap analysis may address performance issues or perception issues.
GROUNDED THEORY – A qualitative research method in which theory is developed after data has been gathered and analyzed.
HCI – Human Computer Interaction involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people (users) and computers.
HEURISTICS – Best practices, principles, or rules of thumb. Established principles of design and best practices in interface design, used as a method of solving usability problems by using rules of thumb acquired from human factors experience.
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.
HORIZONTAL PROTOTYPE – Prototypes that display a wide range of features without fully implementing all of them. Horizontal prototypes provide insights into users’ understanding of relationships across a range of features.
HOW MIGHT WE? (HMW) – A positive, actionable question that frames the challenge but does not point to any one solution.
HUMAN-CENTERED – An approach to design that adapts the solution to the end user through understanding the end user. The understanding is developed through engaging the end user and testing a variety of possible solutions through an iterative design process.
INDUCTIVE ANALYSIS – A type of analysis that begins with collecting and analyzing data, after which hypotheses are made. Putting the user and users’ perspective at the 0f a solution. Human-centered or people-centric desk requires having empathy with the user to solve their specific needs.
INTERACTION DESIGN (IxD) – Sometimes referred to as IxD, interaction design strives to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use.
INSIGHTS – Ideas or notions expressed as succinct statements that interpret patterns in your research and can provide new understanding or perspective on the issue.
INTERVIEWER BIAS – The inﬂuence of the interviewer on the interviewee, which affects responses.
ITERATE – The act of repeating a process with the aim of approaching a desired goal, target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called an iteration. In design thinking it refers to the cycles of prototyping, testing and revision.
ITERATIVE DESIGN PROCESS – Iterative design is the process of prototyping testing and reﬁning a design in a series of repeated steps.
JOURNEY MAP – A visual representation of a particular person or persona’s experience with a service. The experience is documented over time and often shows multiple channels.
LEADING QUESTION – A question that is phrased in a way that suggests to the interviewee an answer that the researcher prefers.
LEARNINGS – The most basic level of information you record from your research, including direct quotes, anecdotes, ﬁrst impressions, notes on the environment, notes on what was most memorable or surprising, and more.
LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPE – A quick and easy translation of high-level design concepts into tangible and testable artifacts, giving an indication of the direction that the product is heading. Prototypes that are simple, focused on one or two features. Low resolution prototyping allows a team to make their ideas tangible and gather feedback.
MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT (MVP) – A minimum viable product is a simple version of a new product which allows a team to learn the maximum amount about customers with the least effort. The goal of an MVP is to test fundamental business hypotheses as efficiently in the real world as possible.
MODERATOR – 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.
NEEDS – A necessary function or condition. There are a wide variety of human needs such as food, shelter, security, affection and self-fulfillment.
NEEDFINDING – Need finding 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 that we can gain meaningful insights to inspire and inform a ﬁnal, impactful design.
OUTSIDE-IN PERSPECTIVE – This is the perception that people outside of an organization have of the organization and its products and services such as customers and other stakeholders.
PAPER PROTOTYPE – Paper prototyping is the process of creating rough. often hand- sketched. drawings of a user interface and using them in a usability test to gather feedback. A rough, often hand- sketched, drawing of 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.
PARTICIPATORY DESIGN – An approach that involves stakeholders such as clients, end users, community members in the design process to ensure that the design meets the needs of those it is serving as well as generating buy-in. A type of social research in which the people being studied have signiﬁcant control over and participation in the research.
PERSONA – A persona is a ﬁctitious identity that reﬂects one of the user groups for who you are designing. A representation of a user segment with shared needs and characteristics. In user- centered design and marketing. personas are archetypal characters that represent different user segments that might use a product or service in a similar way.
POINT OF VIEW (POV) – In design thinking, a POV means the point of view of a very particular person. Creating a point of view involves synthesizing the data gained in the Understand and Observe phases in order to create a common reference/inspiration for later ideation and prototyping. The idea is to focus on a real person, with many of the concrete details found during the Understand/Observe phases. One approach is to develop one or two concise sentences that express User+Need+Insight.
PROBES – Areas you want to go more in-depth in an interview. A technique used during in-depth interviews to explore the interviewee’s emotions about the topic we’re researching. The ‘probing’ questions asked gently to nudge the interviewees to disclose their feelings and beliefs.
PROTOTYPE – A prototype is a model built to test a concept with end users in order to learn from. Prototyping helps understand real, working conditions rather than a theoretical conditions.
QUESTIONAIRES – A research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents.
REFRAMING – Reframe to create different perspectives and new ideas.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) – A monetary evaluation of benefits relative to the effort or expenditure invested; a measure of how much return, usually measured as proﬁt or cost savings, results from a given use of money. In the context of usability, ROI is the monetary (or other) beneﬁt gained as a result of an investment in good usability design.
ROLE-PLAY – Assign roles and act out scenarios with props and end users feedback to reﬁne your design.
SCENARIOS – A scenario is a hypothetical narrative illustrating an event or series of events. It is a method of imagining a user experience in the real world.
SERVICE DESIGN – Design for experiences that reach people through many different touch-points, and that happen over time. Service design is a form of conceptual design which involves the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers.
SOCIAL LEARNING – Social learning refers to learning by observing and imitating what others do.
STAKEHOLDER – A person, group, or organization directly or indirectly involved or affected by a product. service or experience. Stakeholders include any individuals who are influence by the design. Specifically, the project team, end users, strategic partners, customers, alliances, vendors and senior management are project stakeholders.
SYNTHESIS – The sense-making process in which research is translated and interpreted into insights that prompt design. Useful frameworks for synthesis include journeys, Venn diagrams, two by twos and maps.
STAKEHOLDER MAP – A visual representation of the stakeholders in a service and the relationships between them.
SOCIAL DESIGN – Design done for the social good or top positively impact society.
STRATEGIC DESIGN – Design that focuses on big picture systematic problems in order to increase an organization’s future innovative and competitive advantage.
STORYBOARD – A storyboard is a graphic sequence of illustrations, words or images for the purpose of communicating a user scenario or experience. Storyboarding, was developed at Walt Disney during the early 19308. A storyboard is a tool inspired by the film-making industry, where a visual sequence of events is used to capture a user’s interactions. Depending on the audience, it may be an extremely rough sketch, purely for crystallizing your own ideas.
TOUCHPOINTS – A touchpoint is any point of contact between a customer and the provider of a service, product or experience. A touchpoint is where a potential customer or customer comes in contact with your brand before, during and after a transaction. Identifying your touchpoints is an important step toward creating a journey map or a service blueprint. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to create a better customer experience. A touchpoint can be a physical. virtual or human point of interaction.
USABILITY – Is the ease of use and learnability of an object, such as a book, software application, website, machine, tool or any object that a human interacts with?
USABILITY ROUNDTABLE – A meeting in which a group of end users is invited to bring speciﬁc work samples and discuss the validity of an early prototype.
USER CENTERED DESIGN – A design process during which the needs of the user is considered at all times. Designers consider how a user is likely to use the product, and they then test the validity of their assumptions in real world tests with actual users. Design that responds to user needs that is developed through engaging and understanding the point of view of users.
USER JOURNEY – The step by step journey that a user takes to reach their goal.
USER PROFILING – Based on research of user groups develop different character proﬁles to represent your users. These are also called personas.
USER VALIDATION – Process of testing to determine if the user’s needs or requirements have been met by a product or solution.
VALUE EXCHANGE – A service provider makes a promise to the service recipient in exchange for some form of value. The movement of value from the service provider to the recipient is the value exchange.
VERTICAL PROTOTYPE – Prototypes that display just a few complex features of a product and almost completely implement only these features. Vertical prototype tests provide insights into users’ understanding of the complexity, issues, and problems of a speciﬁc feature.
WICKED PROBLEM – A wicked problem is a problem with contradictory and changing requirements. The term ‘wicked’ is used, not in the sense of evil, but rather its resistance to resolution.
WIREFRAME – A rough guide for the layout of a website or app, either done with pen and paper or with wire framing software. The wireframe depicts the page layout and shows how the elements work functionally. It focuses on what a web interface does, not what it looks like. Wireframes can be sketches or computer images.
WORKAROUND – A user’s personal solution to a problem with a service or product, that circumvents the standard procedure. It is often temporary or makeshift. Observing these behaviors often leads to fruitful advances in insights and inspiration.
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