UX Terms

A mentee sent me an email asking me to define some UX terms, and re-bucket the terms in various sections (they were all out of order initially). It took about 20 minutes and I thought i’d share it here.

UX Analysis:

  • Competitive Analysis – Study of and collection of examples other companies offerings including screen flows of web pages, app pages, etc.
  • Stakeholder Interviews – The interviewing and collection of information from the subject matter experts. People who know the product well enough to give the designer (or person extracting the requirements) what they need to start on, and or fully produce a design deliverable.
  • Heuristic Evaluation – rule of thumb testing. doesn’t use real users, almost anyone will do to prove a point. Hard to do if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • UX Metrics – When you test, you get metrics on how the UX is working. Well, poor, fair? Is the design doing what it purports to do?
  • User research – Basically, overall research and understanding of who your users are. includes personas, testing, metrics, etc.
  • Task Flow Analysis – These are user roles, and sometimes interchangeable with personas. however, these are high level flows of what the user is trying to accomplish at its core with your product.
  • Persona Development – Personas were created initially by Alan Cooper (cooper.com) while at Microsoft, and they are usually used to show a development team who they are coding for. There is usually a picture of the user, a brief bio, name, age, and what their primary purpose or what they are trying to accomplish using your app or site.
  • Usability Testing – Bring people in and test a design on them. This is a practice all in its own, and too much for a couple sentences. Basically, you have a usability person take your design into a lab, record users using your design, and reporting back on what works and what doesn’t.
  • Focus Groups – Talking to groups of users who currently use your product, and getting feedback on what they like and don’t. Also can be done via online surveys, but, this is usually done in person.
  • UI Specification Review – Once the entire design is done, and you have everything spec’d out (specifications written), you go into the room with the team and do a UI or UX spec review. Remember, UI and UX are different. UI is visual and sometimes the visual designers spec, but its usually the UX leading the spec review.
  • Post Development UI Review – This is a review done after engineering is done coding so we ensure the UX and visual comps the engineering team was given were coded in correctly. Usually takes several 1 hour sessions depending on the size of the project.

User Testing:

  • A/B Testing is showing potential test subjects 2 examples of an interface and asking which one they prefer. It can also be done only showing one at a time not letting the user know they are being tested (Facebook does this all the time). They show one screen to one group, and another to another group. Classic A/B testing.
  • Functional Prototypes are the tappable or clickable prototypes that will be tested.

UX Design:

  • Information Architecture (IA) – mapping the page flows
  • Wireframing – low fidelity mock up of each box from the IA flows.  Usually down in Omnigraffle or other similar program.
  • Interaction Design – This is what the user taps or clicks on in the wireframes.
  • Visual Design/ Iconography – Higher fidelity than they wireframes, and usually done in Photoshop of Illustrator.
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