The Ultimate UI/UX Glossary

We at Mobomo know that there are a lot of concepts and terminology that most people don’t know of that are often used in a software design and development environment. That’s why we have created one of the most thorough glossaries to help our audiences better understand the technical jargon. We hope this knowledge might help you gain an actionable understanding of UX and UI steps, methodologies and services, as well as standing confident during meetings, presentations, or any other endeavors.



60-30-10 Rule

A timeless decorating rule that can help you put a color scheme together easily.  To put it short, the 60% + 30% + 10% proportion is meant to give balance to the colors used in any space.

Design, Technique


A/B Testing

Determining which of two alternatives performs better with the target audience

Testing, Technique


The measure of a web page’s usability by persons with one or more disabilities

  • 508 Compliance

    Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their ICT such as technology, online training and websites accessible for everyone. This means that federal employees with disabilities are able to do their work on the accessible computers, phones and equipment in their offices, take online training or access the agency’s internal website to locate needed information.

  • WCAG

    The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are documents that explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. The WCAG is developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.

  • A-AA-AAA

    The WCAG standards have 12-13 guidelines. The guidelines are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria. The success criteria are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.

    The success criteria are what determine “conformance” to WCAG. That is, in order to meet WCAG, the content needs to meet the success criteria. Details are in the Conformance section of WCAG.

    Field of Work / Study

Affinity Map

Affinity mapping, sometimes also known as affinity diagramming, snowballing, or collaborative sorting, is the process of creating an affinity diagram. Simply, it’s when you gather qualitative information about your users and group it by category.

Research, Technique


Agile is a process by which a team can manage a project by breaking it up into several stages and involving constant collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement and iteration at every stage. Instead of building the entire product at once, Agile breaks it down into smaller bits of user functionality and assigns them to two week cycles called iterations.



Analytics measure human behavior on a website, app or digital product. By analyzing these patterns we can do educated changes and improvements that fulfill our product and user goals.

Design, Technique


Back and Front-End Development

Back end development refers to the server-side of an application and everything that communicates between the database and the browser. The front-end is what users see. Think buttons, text, beautiful colors, and the layer seen on screen when interacting with a product.

Field of Work / Study


A queue of work that needs doing on a product. A backlog is a list of tasks required to support a larger strategic plan. In a product development context, it contains a prioritized list of items that the team has agreed to work on next. Typical items on a product backlog include user stories, changes to existing functionality, and bug fixes.


Brand Book

An official corporate document that explains the brand’s identity and presents brand standards. Besides the design aspect, brand books may include a company overview and communication guidelines as well.

Design, Deliverable


Card Sorting Method

The goal of card sorting is to understand how a typical user views a given set of items. Designers write items on individual paper cards, and then ask users to group together similar cards. Card sorting helps to organize and structure content and features so that they are easy to navigate and engage. Additionally Card sorting is used to produce labels that are meaningful for the user base.

Research, Technique


Chatbots are a chat interface that allow the user to ask questions to the system and receive answers and/or guidance. They are a popular customer service tool made to mimic the experience of texting a friend.


Clickstream Analysis

A form of Web analytics. Clickstream analysis is the tracking and analysis of visits to websites. This analysis reports user behavior such as routing, stickiness, where users come from and where they go from the site.

Design, Technique

Color Contrast

The difference between two colors. Black and white create the highest contrast possible. Colors can contrast in hue, value and saturation. You usually want a high contrast between text and its background color. But too high contrast between design elements might give an unsettled and messy impression. Effective use of contrast is the essential ingredient that makes the content accessible to every viewer.


Color Wheel

This circle shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors. Artists and designers use red, yellow, and blue primaries arranged at three equally spaced points around their color wheel.


Competitive Analysis

Relevant product examples (documented during discovery) are analyzed comparatively to understand constant and variables. This analysis will show us in most cases baseline features which our users will expect to find in our product. It can also help us provide singular value to our products when finding needs not being addressed in existing products.

Research, Technique

Corporate Identity Guideline

Defines how your company’s brand, image and messaging are delivered to the public and particularly to your key audiences. The corporate identity guideline positions the company, no matter how big or small. The rules for consistent typography, color use, and logo placement are all laid out in the corporate identity manual.

Design, Deliverable

Customer Journey Map (CJM)

A tool companies use to see what their customers truly want. A customer journey map tells the story from initial contact through to engagement and the long-term relationship. It may focus on a particular part of the story, or give an overview of the entire user experience. It talks about the user’s feelings, motivations and questions for each of these touch points.

Research, Deiverable

CX (customer experience)

Customer experience (CX) refers to how a business engages with its customers at every point of their buying journey—from marketing to sales to customer service and everywhere in between. In large part, it’s the sum total of all interactions a customer has with your brand.

Field of Work / Study



This means using all the available data: analytics, A/B tests, customer service logs and social media sentiment to develop a better understanding of UX. There are common misconceptions that user experience is purely an art, but there is a lot more involved. Understanding how to collect and process data is one of the key tasks you have to face as a UX designer.


Design Debt

A design system that has accrued design debt is made up of elements and features that will need to be cleaned up later on. The efforts made to quickly set them in place eventually generate more work down the line.


Design System

A library of user interface elements, components, and guidelines that are used as the basis for any new and updated features in a product. The purposes of a design system include: maintaining consistency across a product when new features are added; making it easier to update components across an entire product; and reducing the amount of development time involved in any project.


Design Thinking

Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Involving five phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test—it is most useful to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown.


Digital Services Playbook

A guideline that stipulates steps and actions that need to be taken when creating a digital product, intended for the Federal space.


Dots Per Inch (DPI)

A way to measure the density of a print or video image. The number of differently colored dots that can fit into a one-inch space provides information about the resolution of an image. If an image is not of adequately high quality, it may not be able to be resized or printed without a loss of resolution.



Empathy Map

Empathy maps are collaborative tools that help visualize user behavior, attitudes and feelings. They are split into 4 equal quadrants containing information about what the user is saying, thinking, doing and feeling. The user persona is placed at the center. Then, each quadrant is filled with information collected through user research.


Eye Tracking

Specialized hardware and software that tracks users’ point of vision on an interface. Namely, it tracks where users focus their visual attention while viewing an interface.



Flat Design

A design philosophy based on simplicity and functionality. There are no techniques used to convey depth: no gradients, shadows, textures, and highlights that give a realistic view of the object. Basically, flat design refers to the basics of graphics — bright colors, simple forms, buttons, and icons.



Flowcharts illustrate the steps a user can take to complete a task on a product.


Focus Group

A focus group is a pointed discussion with a group of participants led by a moderator. Questions are designed to gather feedback about users, products, concepts, prototypes, tasks, and strategies.

Research, Technique

Full Stack

Typically heard in the context of “full-stack developer”. The term refers to a person or role, and means that the person has both front-end and back-end development skills. It’s becoming increasingly common to hear the term “full-stack designer”—this typically means that the person has a mix of UX, visual/UI, and graphic design/illustration skills.

Field of Work / Study


Gestalt Principles

People do not visually perceive items in isolation, but as part of a larger whole. These principles account for human tendencies towards similarity, proximity, continuity, and closure.


Golden Ratio

A mathematical ratio with origins in ancient Greece, also known as the Greek letter Phi. It is found in nature, and has made its way into graphic and print design as people deem it to be the most visually appealing layout to the human eye. The Golden Ratio approximately equals 1.618. We find it when we divide a line into two parts so that the full length divided by the long part is equal to the long part divided by the short part.



A system of horizontal and vertical lines providing a structural basis for page layout and design. It communicates order, economy and consistency. The grid provides a common structure and flexibility for organizing content.



HCI (human computer interaction)

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a multidisciplinary field of study focusing on the design of computer technology and, in particular, the interaction between humans (the users) and computers. While initially concerned with computers, HCI has since expanded to cover almost all forms of information technology design.

Field of Work / Study

Heat Maps

Color-based representations of areas of interest/focus points; generally associated with eye-tracking software.


HFE (human factors engineering)

HFE is a framework for efficient and constructive thinking which includes methods and tools to help healthcare teams perform patient safety analyses, such as root cause analyses.The literature on HFE over several decades contains theories and applied studies to help to solve difficult patient safety problems and design issues.

Field of Work /Study

Human Centered Design (UCD)

HCD is a design approach that puts the users first, resulting in useful and usable products and services. Teams who foster HCD create a culture of focusing on the user when creating products, keeping them at the heart of the product development process. Considering their limitations, constraints, and desires, you end with tailor-made solutions that satisfy their needs.

Process, Field of Work / Study


Information Architecture

The information architecture consists of the organization of content into sections and sub sections, and the labeling and categorizing of content. When done right users will find desired content and features swiftly and efficiently. We rely on Tree testing and card sorting exercises to evaluate the performance, and the creation or improvement of categories and labels.

Research, Field or Work / Study

Interaction Experience Design

Interaction Design is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a product, system, or service. This dialogue is both physical and emotional in nature and is manifested in the interplay between form, function, and technology as experienced over time. Interaction designers focus on the way users interact with products and they use principles of good communication to create desired user experiences.

Design, Field of Work / Study


The user interview is a method of research that gives you deep insights into users’ needs, pain points, and desires while also building empathy with them.

Research, Technique


The process of repeatedly gathering feedback on a design solution, and acting on that feedback to make targeted improvements and move towards a final design.

Design, Technique

IxD (interaction design)

Interaction Design (IxD) is the design of interactive products and services in which a designer’s focus goes beyond the item in development to include the way users will interact with it. Thus, close scrutiny of users’ needs, limitations and contexts, etc. empowers designers to customize output to suit precise demands.

Design, Field of Work / Study


Journey Maps

Journey maps are deliverables created to make visible the context and motivation to engage with a product or activity, as well as to reveal challenges, pain points and opportunities of improvement.Journey Maps are created based on real information and insight collected from direct engagements with users.

Research, Deliverable


Lean UX

Remember Agile? Lean UX, based on Agile, is a collaborative user-centric approach that prioritizes “learning loops” (building, learning, and measuring through iterations) over design documentation.




The ubiquitous text that turns up in tiny chunks on a webpage or in an application when you need it. It can be the label on a field, a quick set of instructions on what button to push, etc. It’s the tiny text on which much of the product’s UX hinges. Micro-copy provides those just-in-time clear instructions.



A diagram used to visually organize information. A mindmap is hierarchical and shows the relationships among the parts of the whole. It is often created around a single concept to which associated images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.


Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

MVP is a product with enough features to meet the needs of early customers. This strategy provides feedback for future product development.



Also known as a modal window, modal dialog, or modal pop-up. A kind of in-window or in-app dialog box that either displays a message to be dismissed, or invites some kind of action from the user.




Designing a welcoming experience for new users by easing them into it. The design of the onboarding process for your site is usually limited to a first-time use scenario.




A prototype is a simulation or sample version of a final product, which is used for testing prior to launch. Its goal is to test products (and product ideas) before sinking lots of time and money into the final product. Examples of digital prototypes include interactive mockup of an app, website, or device.

Design, Deliverable


Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD provides an optimal viewing experience across platforms and devices. The content and layout of a website should efficiently adapt to the sizes and technical abilities of the device it is opened on.




Software as a Service, or SaaS, is a software distribution model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and hosted on external servers. Subscribing users are able to access it through the web. The practice of delivering software via online subscription, rather than as a standalone product that is purchased one-off. An Office 365 subscription is SaaS; Office 97 on a CD-ROM is delivered as a one-off license.

Field of Work / Study


A set of project management practices emphasizing daily communication, flexible planning, and short, focused phases of work.


Site Map

A site map is a visual representation of a website’s pages and hierarchy.



In agile software development, we call defined periods of time assigned to complete certain tasks “sprints.” Their length can vary but is usually around 1-3 weeks.


Style Tiles

Style tiles are basic takes on visual styles with a focus on typography, colors and imagery. Style tiles and/or concept designs will be created to approach the final visuals and aesthetics that will make up the product interface. This step will define visual rules that will tie and establish consistency among the interface items and sections.

Design, Deliverable


A survey is a quantitative user-research tool and often takes the form of a questionnaire. Surveys are an economical way of acquiring user feedback for app development. You can conduct a survey verbally, manually, or digitally, by asking candidates to answer a series of questions.

Research, Technique


The Twelve Factors App

A framework for building apps and digital tools, that ensures standard quality output.



Usability Testing

Usability testing is a research method that lets us evaluate how parts of a product perform by testing it on a group of representative users. These tests most commonly focus on effectiveness (is conversion happening) and efficiency (is the time necessary to fulfill the goal adequate).

Testing, Technique


An agency dedicated to improve practices and value of digital products in the federal space.


User Centered Design (UCD)

User-centered design (UCD) is an iterative design process in which designers focus on the users and their needs in each phase of the design process. In UCD users are involved throughout the design process via a variety of research and design techniques, with the goal of producing products with highly relevant features and high level of usability for them.

Process, Field of Work / Study

User Engagement

It represents the purposeful choices a user makes with website content. Engagement is how people get value from the site.


User Personas

User Personas is a deliverable format that summarizes key elements of a product’s user groups. They are archetypes of our users that serve as reference and guidance when making decisions over User experience items, and help us establish priorities of work.User personas are created based on real information and insight collected from direct engagements with users.

Research, Deliverable

User Scenarios

Hypothetical circumstances used to frame and prompt the user to follow or pursue a particular task path.


User Stories

A user story is an informal, general explanation of a software feature written from the perspective of the end user. Its purpose is to articulate how a software feature will provide value to the customer.

Research, Deliverable


A library of user interface elements, components, and guidelines that is widely used as the basis for digital products in the federal space. The initiative aims to establish consistency across products in the fed space.



Web Analytics

The measurement, collection, and analysis of the internet to understand and optimize web usage.


White or Negative Space

The use of blank (unmarked) space on a page to promote content and navigation. To be precise, when the products or pages have enough white space, it helps them feel uncluttered, elevates them, and makes them feel special. And it makes people want to take a closer look.



Wireframes are early interface designs that focus on content, layout and functionality, and those are created without styling. We prioritize creating Wireframes of key flows and/or sections first, and proceed to subsequent ones after approval to complete the larger user flow of the product. Once flows have been explored and constituted, prototypes for testing and/or review will be created per case.

Design, Deliverable