Product Design

Young people are changing careers, learning new skills, and adjusting to systems due to the numerous opportunities offered by the fast-paced technology sector. Technology systems have undeniably caused a shift in employment trends and influenced how society embraces solutions.

Product Design & Development: 60 Important Terms
Designed by Studio14

While digital products are in circulation to cater to problems faced by society, experts in technology are constantly building new products to aid communication, interaction and satisfaction of needs amongst humans. Hence, you’d agree that the development of products in the industry and demand for innovative solutions has birthed new skills needed for product development and caused a career-shift across the globe. While product success can be attributed to technological advancement, roles played by designers, data analysts, technical writers, strategists, and frontend and backend developers have made products usable by end users in the target market. 

When a product is in the conceptualisation stage, multiple teams within an organisation are required to streamline operations, track progress and ensure all teams align on the objective of the product. To accomplish this, they use specific terminologies to communicate effectively.  While tech experts are familiar with tech jargon, newcomers have difficulty understanding the meanings of specific terms used during meetings. As a result, learning essential industry terms and adapting to new systems are additional requirements for novices in the world of technology. Without a doubt, mastering terms can be daunting, but reciting, memorising and understanding terms every day has proven to be an effective learning strategy.

This brings to the fore the focal point of this article  — highlighting the common technical terms primarily used in product design and development.

Understanding product design terminologies

product design terminologies
Designed by Studio14
  1. Accessibility: A design procedure that allows people with disabilities (seen and unseen) to use a product. This entails creating designs that, among others, are accessible to those who are colour-blind, blind, deaf, and have cognitive impairments.
  1. Adaptive Interface: A group of layouts created for various devices makes up an adaptive interface. This interface recognises the device users use and displays the design created for the device type.
  1. Backlog (Product): A prioritised collection of ready-to-implement user stories or features for a service.
  1. Brainstorm: A concentrated attempt to produce many ideas; quantity above quality.
  1. Design (Product): The process of imagining, creating, and iterating products to address a user’s specific needs.
  1. Discovery:  At this stage, the designers usually do a lot of interviews and research. Here, objectives and problems a product seeks to solve are defined. 
  1. Empathy Map: This collaboration tool lets designers visualise user behaviour, attitudes, and feelings. Empathy maps include information about what the user is saying, thinking, doing, and feeling.
  1. End-user: A set of users for which a product or service is designed.
  1. Eye-tracking: Here’s a specialised technique in product design. Allows designers to track user eye activity and reveal where and how frequently people glance at a product’s interfaces. This technique aids in enhancing and evaluating a product’s user experience..
  1. Flow Chart: An illustration of the steps a user takes in completing a task.
  1. Grid System: Here’s a tool for arranging interfaces’ texts, buttons and icons. A grid system is a structural foundation for designs, and it’s made up of vertical and horizontal lines to create columns, grids, and rows. 
  1. Heat Map: A graphical representation of areas of a product that attract the most incredible user attention. A heat map uses a warm-to-cool colour spectrum to show users’ precise location and interaction.
  1. Ideation: The process of coming up with ideas for a targeted prompt or within a specific scope; more focused and constrained than brainstorming.
  1. Lean UX: A collaborative user-centric approach prioritising building, learning, and measuring through iterations over design documentation.
  1. Mockups: These are static representations of a product.
  1. Product Feature: Describes a benefit for the client and the desired outcome. A feature may affect a product’s components, layouts or appearance.
  1. UI: User interface refers to where the human and the digital product interact. IIts purpose is to visually guide users to allow a human to communicate easily with a device to complete a task.  
  1. UI Patterns: These are reusable solutions to common usability problems in products or on the web expressed as a collection of UI elements.
  1. User Scenarios: In the early stages of a product, user scenarios are mini stories describing the needs and/or context that brings a user to the product.
  1. User Journey Map: A sketch of the user flow across your website, from initial contact or discovery through the process of engagement to long-term loyalty and advocacy, is called a user journey map.
  1. User Persona: A fictitious depiction of a perfect client. A persona typically integrates a target audience’s needs, objectives, and observed behaviour patterns based on user research.
  1. UX: User experience design is concerned with building a relationship between the product and the user, specifically, how the user interacts with the products and the required functions it performs.
  1. Prototype: A product created to test concepts and effect modifications until a finished product is achieved. A product’s user-experience can be validated and tested by mocking up every feature and interaction in a prototype as they appear in the finished product.
  1. Wireframing: A technique to determine the structure and workflow of potential design solutions.
  1. Whitespace: An interface’s unoccupied or blank space. 
  1. SiteMap: A visual representation of website pages and hierarchies.
  1. Storyboard: A visual story of a narrative, concept, or script divided into sequential scenes. It communicates a story through images in an order of panels that chronologically maps the story’s main events.
  1. Sprints: Design sprints are a one- to four-week intensive process in which the team focuses on delivering designs that add value to the product.
  2. Style Guide: Here’s a visual library that documents a product interface’s colour systems, typography, grid systems, spacing, and other visual elements. 

Product development terms all software-enthusiasts should know

Product development terms
Designed by Studio14
  1. Product: A service designed through technological practices to solve problems. A product can be digital, like mobile and web apps, or physical, like laptops and mobile phones.
  1. API: An acronym for ‘Application programming interface’. An API is a set of computer instructions that allows data to be transmitted from one software product to another.
  1. APK: This means for – ‘Android Package Kit’. The Android operating system uses APK to install programmes, and all the elements needed for an app to properly function on the device are included in this file format.
  1. Android: What comes to mind? An android device, I guess? Well, android is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, not a phone or any application. Google designed and developed this operating system to efficiently use its features and applications.
  1. BackEnd: This describes the configuration area of a product. The back end of a website includes the coding, design, and plugins that make up the maintenance of such a website, ensuring that the front end, which is visible to website visitors, functions properly.
  1. Beta Version: A program or application’s first version, which has many brand-new features but isn’t yet finished, is referred to as a beta version. Sometimes, this version is only accessible to a small group or is open to everyone. This version is made available for testing and feedback.
  1. Bug: A glitch or error that prevents a website or mobile app from functioning as intended.
  1. Cache: In computing, this storage component saves data so that visited pages load faster for recurring website visitors. If changes are made to a particular website, developers often advise users to clear a browser’s cache, considering the previous version of the website must have been stored in the browser’s cache. 
  1. Chatbot: Instead of direct communication with an actual human agent, a chatbot is a software program to conduct online chats via text. 
  1. CMS: This means ‘Content Management System’. It’s an application used in building, updating and storing website content. An excellent example of a CMS is WordPress.
  1. Cookies: Cookies are brief text messages a website you visit sends to your browser. They aid a website in remembering details about your visit, making it simpler to return to the site and increasing its usefulness.
  1. Cross-Platform App: A computer software implemented on multiple computing platforms.
  1. CSS: ‘Cascading Style Sheets’ are codes instructing browsers on how to present a website page to users. Fonts, colours, and other visual aspects are formatted using this programming. 
  1. DevOps: ‘Development Operations’. A generalised term for a mode of operations aligns the developer, IT operations, and quality assurance team with a project goal for better end-products and collaborations.
  1. Domain: A domain is a website’s address – ours is as inputted into a browser. A domain serves as a website’s postal address.
  1. Firewall: A network security device that filters and keeps track of incoming and outgoing network traffic per previously set security policies for an organisation.
  1. Framework: A group of approaches used in building products from the ideation to the launch stage. A framework establishes the foundation for a developer’s programming language in creating a website or app.
  1. FrontEnd: The area of a product that users can access and interact with. This is what occurs on-stage when the back end of a website is everything that goes on behind the scenes.
  1. Javascript: A text-based programming language that enables developers to make website  pages interactive for users.
  1. HTML: ‘Hypertext Markup Language’. A coding language for implementing features and building a website in terms of form and function.
  1. Meta Tag: Additional details on web pages or parts, such as the keywords connected with a plugin, the photo credit for an image, or the way a piece of content should display in Google search results. 
  1. MVP: A minimum viable product (MVP) is a low-risk, core functionality version of a product with just enough features to be used, reviewed and assessed effectively by early users.
  1. MySQL: An open-source relational database management system that stores data in tables made up of rows and columns.
  1. Opening/Closing Tags: Angle brackets (< >) serve as the bookends of an HTML element which are used in website development, to  aid in constructing a webpage’s structure. A forward slash (</>) is used to close tags. To italicise a portion of this line, for instance, we would begin with <i> and end with <i>.
  1. Open Source: This is a platform that is intended to be publicly accessible; anybody can view, alter, and distribute the code as they see appropriate.
  1. PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor’. An open-source scripting language for creating websites, applications, customer relationship management systems and many more technology platforms.
  1. Plugin: A piece of software that acts as an add-on to a web browser and gives the browser additional functionality.
  1. SAAS: ‘Software As A Service’. The most fundamental cloud platform enables users to collaborate on projects and share files via their browsers. Dropbox and Google Drive are two SAAS platforms.
  1. Server: The hosting consists of computers running software that enables users to visit your website. If your domain is the address for your website, hosting is its home, and the server is the plot of land it is situated on.
  1. Tech Stack: A collection of functions, languages, frameworks, web servers, databases, and operating systems required to build a digital product
  1. Widgets: Applications that allow for specific interactive functions on a website.

The main terms for design and development described above are the frequently used jargon. However, developers and designers may also utilise additional words while working on specific projects. A simple learning tip: Dare to ask questions and read-up on all you need to know. 

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