Glossary

Some very useful definitions
to help you show off ­čśë

  • A

    • App

      Small software programme that can be downloaded, usually, into a smartphone or tablet.

    • Application prototype testing

      It is a method of testing real user interfaces on devices such as smartphones, tablets or televisions by observing users while they use the application prototype. This allows the designers to identify problems with the user interface.

  • C

    • Card sorting

      It is a method of User-Centred Design. It consists of presenting participants with images, the names of features, tasks, goals, etc. on index cards and asking participants to sort them into groups.

  • D

    • Double Flip

      Holding the phone in hand and rotating it along its long edge. This gesture enables starting apps faster and easily.

    • Double tap

      A gesture which consists of quickly touching the screen twice to enlarge the content or reduce it when it is too big.

    • Drag

      Changing the position of an element on a screen. Usually done by doing a long-press over the element and then sliding the finger to drag the element into the desired position.

  • E

    • End-User

      Its the person who uses a product or service.

    • Expert review/Heuristic evaluation

      It is a method that consists of assessing a user interface or system by comparing it against a list of usability principles. The problems found are then classified in terms of severity. It requires at least three evaluators.

  • F

    • Focus group

      It is group comprised of users who discuss several specific topics. Focus groups are moderated by a specialist, who conducts guides the discussion and allows the elements to listen to each other’s responses and discuss among themselves, resulting in rich information for researchers.

  • H

    • Hardware

      The physical components of a computer, cellphone or another electronical component.

  • I

    • It is a written statement that the researcher gives to participants with the description of: the goals of the study and the usability test, questionnaire or interview, the activity (test, interview or questionnaire), the ability to finish their participation at any time without consequences and the guarantee that the information is confidential. If the participant agrees, he or she signs the informed consent, giving a copy to the researcher and keeping a copy for him or herself.

    • Interview

      The researcher poses questions to a participant who verbally answers the questions. The interviewer uses a script and records the answers manually or with a voice/video recorder.
      It allows collecting detailed information about individual experience.

    • Iterative design

      Cyclic process through which prototypes are tested since the early stages of the design of the user interface and modified according to the results. The process repeats itself many times until the final product is reached.

  • O

    • Observation studies/Field observations

      Researchers observe users in their natural environment, which is the place where a product or service will be used. Researchers often take photos and notes during these studies.

  • P

    • Pan

      Using one or two fingers to touch and drag the page so that one can see other part of a long document.

    • Paper prototype testing

      It consists of using sketches, wireframes or mock-ups to obtain feedback from the users regarding the layout and functionality of the interface. It is a simple and useful method.

    • Pinch

      The user pinches his/her thumb and forefinger together or moves them apart to zoom in or out of a website, picture or map, enabling to enlarge or reduce it.

    • Prototype

      It is a preliminary model of the product or service built to test its design.

  • Q

    • Questionnaire

      It is a group of questions to understand a situation, context or user, or to evaluate a product or a service through the users’ point of view.

  • R

    • Recruiting

      It is a process in which users are selected according to their profile and invited to participate in a usability or validation testing session, interview, questionnaire or other design & research activities.

  • S

    • Sample

      It is a group of participants that have the same characteristics as the population of end users.

    • Scroll

      Bring content into sight from the sides, bottom or up by touching the screen and sliding the finger.

    • Selfie

      It is a popular self-portrait photography taken by a digital camera, a smartphone or a tablet.

    • Software

      Machine-readable instructions that directs a computer’s processor to perform specific operations. In a simply way, the programmes or libraries in code that allow the functioning of computers.

    • Swipe

      It is a quick and short movement with a finger to browse images, options, app lists, amongst others.

  • T

    • Tap

      It is a simple and light touch gesture on the screen for selection and activation commands.

    • Target group

      It is a specific group of people at which the product or service is aimed.

    • Touchscreen

      The surface of an electronic device that can be controlled by the user trough gestures on the screen with finger(s) or a pen.

  • U

    • Usability

      Usability is “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use” (ISO 9241-11). Inviting users to actively participate in the design of the technologies is key to achieve this purpose.

       

    • Usability testing

      It is a method to evaluate systems with user participation. In these tests, participants are asked to complete tasks using the product or service in order to assess performance and find usability problems.

       

    • User interface

      It is the layer through which users interact with machines and includes hardware and software components. User interfaces allow users to manipulate the system and at the same time allow machines to produce the effects that respond to users’ actions.

    • User research

      Understanding the users and their context by studying their characteristics, hopes and needs, amongst other.

    • User-Centered Design

      This is a process in which designers see the situations, problems and solutions through the eyes of the user. In this process, designers include end users from the design to the evaluation stages by sharing their needs, difficulties, expectations and opinions so that the service or product match these perspectives.

  • W

    • Widget

      It is an element in Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), for example, windows, buttons, menus, icons, etc.

  • Z

    • Zoom

      Putting the thumb and the index finger together and then sliding them apart enables to enlarge the content (zoom in); doing the inverse gesture (sliding the fingers together over the screen) reduces it (zoom out).