June 14th, 2018
The digital realm has long been a breeding ground for clever, useful or often at times plain ridiculous buzzwords, acronyms and jargon. Trying to stay at the forefront of this digital lingoscape can be daunting (note: lingoscape is not a word yet, see 💪) — please enjoy this ‘lite’ and arguably not-detailed-enough list, in no real particular order, filled with too many emojis, gifs and retro 90s internet images than your mobile probably would care for, and then hopefully you too can keep up with the latest on blockchain at tomorrow’s scrum.
We’ll use a sophisticated difficulty rating system for the terms:
🌐 Welcome to the world wide web – easy
🏄♀️ Surfin’ the ‘net – not as easy
That’s you. The person reading this from a screen. In this case, we are talking about the end-user. The end-user is someone who ultimately engages and digests the product but does not own, or control the digital product or service they are experiencing.
User experience. UX is a very hot topic in the current digital and design world. A user digesting and engaging with information or a product is having an experience. We design user experiences to be clear, functional and enjoyable. Understanding not only a user’s needs and abilities, but also their limitations and constraints is increasingly becoming a fundamental part of modern business requirements.
User Interface. The user interface is how the user sees, hears or even feels and ultimately enjoys the experience. Think about the last button you tapped on a screen — that’s UI.
Operating system. An operating system is the primary programme your computer or device runs so that other smaller application programmes can run. The operating system allows the machines hardware to communicate with the software.
A very common term a lot of us will likely use nearly every day. A website is a static page with simple information in the form of text, image or video.
Similar to the website and depending on your own personal view, essentially the same thing. However, the main point of difference is the levels of interactivity. If a user orders a pizza online, pays for it and sets a delivery address, we could argue that is a ‘web app’.
This is the term for an online shopfront, payment gateways and transactions conducted electronically online.
Search Engine Optimisation. This is the practice of improving organic (unpaid) results in a search engine (like Google). We can optimise ‘search’ on many elements of a website including text, image, video and audio.
Or internet browser. The application(s) we use to view websites on. Your digitally illiterate aunt probably calls it merely ‘the internet’. Popular browsers include Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, but the list goes on and on.
The viewport is the visible area inside a browser or device screen. As screen sizes vary immensely, so does the viewport. This is a major factor in responsive web design, no longer can a single static design be enough, we have to consider very carefully what can and should be ‘above the fold’.
Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the internet’s standard language for creating content online. HTML builds the structure and format of visual web pages.
Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a programming language that allows us to define the visual appearance on aspects of a page or document written in HTML. Essentially, HTML is the content, CSS is the way the content looks.
Another web programming language, this time used for client-side scripting – meaning working with the HTML in the browser to give the user a fast, rich and interactive experience over a static page.
Quality Assurance, or quality assurance testing. As there are so many variable ways to view an app or website (broadband speeds, differentiating operating systems, etc), we engage a procedure to ensure the product will perform strongly in the widest range of environments. Typically with website design and development this will include making sure the UX/UI is designed, and tested across a range of browsers and devices.
This buzzword should really be up alongside UX and UI. We can define the product as ‘something that creates specific value for a group of people, the customers and users, and to the organisation that develops and provides it…’ (Roman Pichler). Here’s a simple example courtesy of Shane Rounce, Nipuna Gunathilake and Jordan Julien Experience (UX) › Product › Interface (UI) » Eating (Experience) › Soup (Product) › Spoon (Interface)
When you arrive on a website, a HTTP cookie, which is a small data message, will be passed from the web server to your browser and from there downloaded temporarily to you device. The cookie helps the website keep track of your activity and visits. This is generally helpful to the user, for example if you created a wishlist on an ecommerce shop, the stored information will allow you to continue browsing without resetting the list.
Artificial Intelligence. This can be defined as a machine (most likely a computer) simulating natural human intelligence. Contrary to Skynet’s not-so-good agenda, AI can be utilised to better humanity. The health and wellbeing sector is a great example currently enjoying a rapid increase in AI driven tech.
Finally as this list could go on for pages upon pages, my personal favourite:
Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Most often used as a quick online security system, these will likely see a decrease in popularity as technology advances, particularly due to the previous term (AI).
So, as roughly outlined in the above article, we can see there is no shortage of stuff-n-things to keep up with in a digital environment. For a real sense of the absurdity of some of these words, check this Wikipedia page.
Tweet us at @hatchedlondon and #digitalbuzzwords with some of your favourites!