Discussing UX Design: 11 Fundamental Terms You Should Know


UX research and design is about understanding people and designing experiences.

Getting to the finished product is a journey with research, analytics, testing informing, and validating the design work. But to effectively communicate with colleagues and clients about your work, it is critical to understand the surrounding vocabulary.

There are many different methods, theories, tools, practices, and deliverables in the field. Consequently, there is extensive terminology that UX researchers and designers use. Becoming fluent with UX vocabulary will help novices and experts understand each other better and go deeper with research and design deliverables, as needed.

Starting out, these are the specific terms you’ll want to be very comfortable with: 

General Terms

  • User Experience (UX): A term that broadly describes the thoughts, emotions, perceptions, or attitudes people have while interacting with a piece of software. Emphasis is placed on how easy, pleasant, and efficient the software is to use. More from Wikipedia
  • User Interface (UI): The space (such as a computer or mobile screen) where users interact with software. More from Wikipedia
  • UI/UX Design: The process of designing a piece of software to account for the way humans think and interact with computers. UX Design focuses on the research-based design of a product or service to create a better user experience. UI Design focuses on designing the interfaces people use to interact with a software or service, based on the evidence presented by user research. The processes are often interrelated, and both are driven by research done to determine people’s needs when using the software product. The Difference Between UX and UI Design: A Layman’s Guide
  • Design Thinking: A problem-solving process used by designers to brainstorm innovative solutions. A successful design should make use of design sensibilities and best practices, meet users’ needs efficiently and be viable for the business to implement. Design Thinking
  • User-Centered Design (UCD): A design process that is driven by the needs of the product or service’s end users. It requires designers to determine users’ needs, design the product with those needs in mind, and then test the product with real users to ensure that the core needs of users are actually being met. More from Wikipedia

Product Research

  • Business Model: The way a business plans to make money with its product. User experience should play heavily into the business model; when a product provides a solution that is delightful to use, it stands out from its competitors. The Business of User Experience
  • Competitive Analysis: The process of comparing a product to other similar products on the market in order to gain insight about features, strengths and weaknesses, branding, and user experience of the products already available. How to Do UX Competitor Analysis
  • Feature Analysis: The process of ranking a set of potential features for the product based on some criteria, such as how useful, expected, or exciting a feature is for users. Strategies to Prioritize Product Features
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): A strategy for getting a product to market quickly in order to get feedback from users. The product is developed with a minimal set of features deemed necessary to meet users’ core goals. The idea is that the user experience for these core features is most important to get right during early development. Additional features are added after product feedback is taken into account. More from Techopedia
  • Minimum Lovable Product (MLP): A strategy to ensure that a product has enough features to be lovable. A product that is exceptional in the eyes of users will push beyond a basic set of features from the beginning in order to be exciting and novel. Beyond MVP: 10 Steps to Make Your Product Loveable
  • Product Roadmapping: A vision of the path a product will take. It is essential for communicating the purpose and direction of a product in order to gain funding and get everyone on the same page. 10 Tips for Creating an Agile Product Roadmap

These terms should provide you with a basic understanding of UX design and how to effectively articulate your plans and goals for your product. Feel free to contact us today with questions and inquiries about your UX design process.

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Jeff Dance


Jeff is Founder and CEO of Fresh Consulting. Formerly a Strategy & Operations Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, Jeff brings years of experience in the creative design and digital technology space, building teams and overseeing hundreds of digital projects.