Glossary

A repository of acronyms, jargon, and useful words for product and customer teams

A

The 80/20 rule, also described as the Pareto Principle, is an assertion that 80% of outcomes stem from 20% of the effort. Put simply, it’s about creating the most impact and influence with the minimum amount of work. This can be applied to productivity and time management, economics, finance, psychology, and virtually almost any industry. To find the 20%, you may rely on methods like usability testing and analytics.
Active listening is when before beginning to try to solve a customer's problems, you listen and understand your customer's feedback, needs, and insights. Design teams should make a conscious effort to listen to and engage with their customers, so customers can feel like their voices are being heard and understood.
The active voice is a form of writing that's more direct, concise, and explicitly states who's doing what. When UX writers use the active voice, it empowers users to take action and enables clear web copy.
Affinity mapping, also known as affinity diagramming, snowballing, or collaborative sorting, is the process of creating an affinity diagram. Simply put, it’s when you gather qualitative information about your users and group it by category.
Agile has become the go-to development methodology for organizations that want to reduce the risk involved in shipping new products and features.

C

Card sorting is a qualitative research method used to group, label, and describe information more effectively, based on feedback from customers or users.
Think of a case study as a way to tell the story of your UX design or research project. In it, you’ll highlight the process you took to address a specific challenge you were solving for your users and customers as well as the resulting outcomes.
A cognitive walkthrough is a usability testing method where reviewers perform tasks from the user's perspective. The goal is to discern whether new users can complete tasks on an interface.
Concept testing is a method of research that involves getting feedback from your customers or target audience to validate a concept before bringing it to market.
Confirmation bias occurs in UX research when teams rely on results that support their ideas or hypotheses rather than thoroughly testing them. It also happens to be a common human tendency which can make it especially challenging for teams to identify.
Context of use analysis is about understanding and analyzing your users, their tasks, and how they intend to use your product in everyday situations.
Customer empathy is focused around gaining a richer understanding of your customers—who they are, what their lives are like, how they manage their work and personal lives, and what motivates them.
There are many different definitions for CX, but at its core, it all comes down to how a person feels about the experience of interacting with your brand. Great CX is about providing a valuable, easy-to-use, and enjoyable experience to every customer, on every device, across every touchpoint—in a way that fulfills on the expectations that you set and the promises you made.
While customer experience (CX) is known as how a user feels about interacting with your brand or product, Customer Experience Narratives is a term coined by UserTesting to describe the user feedback entries received through the platform—as well as all the unique features that come with it. More than 80% of CxNs are completed within just a few hours, thanks to our contributor network.
Customer insights are an interpretation of trends in human behaviors which aims to uncover the underlying preferences, frustrations, and motivations of a consumer to increase the effectiveness and relevance of a product or service.
Cyber insurance protects companies from hackers and other people attempting to interfere with private, protected information. It helps protect against losses from data breaches or interferences with sensitive, personally identifiable information or personal health information.
Cybersecurity, sometimes referred to as information technology security, is how organizations protect their networked technologies, information, and customer data. This includes preventing data theft or corruption, as well as damage to the organization’s hardware, software, or disruption of services.

D

Dark patterns—also known as deceptive design patterns—are interfaces designed to subtly trick you into doing a task you otherwise normally wouldn’t do.

E

In general, the empathy gap refers to the idea of not being able to relate to the emotions, needs, and feelings of others because they’re naturally experiencing the world around them differently than you are. In business, this refers to the gap between the experience organizations feel they’re providing versus how customers actually feel about those experiences.
An enterprise organization is a large business that has the size and resources to dominate a specific market and is characterized by being high revenue and having many employees.
Ethnography is qualitative type of study that observes people in their natural environment to gain a deeper understanding of their daily habits and provide more context around their behaviors and actions.
Evaluative research can be defined as a research method used for assessing a specific problem to ensure usability and ground it in the wants, needs, and desires of real people.
An expert review, also known as expert evaluation, critique, assessment, is what its name suggests. It’s a process when UX professionals conduct an analysis of a digital product, from a website to a service. Similar to a user feedback test, a user takes an outsider view and analyzes the usability and accessibility of a system while recommending improvements. However, expert reviews are easier to organize and ideal for tight budgets and timelines. Both are valuable to developing your prototype or redesigning your product.
Eye tracking is a method for measuring where a person is looking or where the person's eye is moving in relation to their head, typically in reference to viewing websites or apps.

F

The false consensus effect is the phenomenon and tendency to overestimate the degree to which other people will agree with you, think like you, and behave like you.
A fishbone diagram, also known as an Ishikawa diagram or cause and effect diagram, is a visual tool that illustrates the causes of an event. The goal is to find the root cause of an issue instead of implementing a surface-level resolution.

H

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a US federal law that protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent.
Human insight is the process of understanding your customer by listening and observing with empathy. It offers a valuable new understanding of your customer that results from listening and observing with empathy and can be used to connect the dots between what they think, feel, say, and do. It provides the "why" context that gives organizations the ability to understand customer needs and rethink ways to better serve them.
A hybrid navigation model, or an information architecture is the method of organizing information in a structured format where users can easily find what they need. When designing a site, content should be categorized clearly and flow interchangeably between other pieces of content.

I

An incentive is a reward or compensation that motivates a participant to take your survey or test, in exchange for their effort and time. Having a compelling incentive is important to help your study get to the top of the ‘to do’ list of your customer.
The intent path is an interactive visualization, part of the UserTesting platform, that groups specific customer behaviors, based on that individual's intent. As part of the Interactive Path Flow, it works to evaluate the web elements users engage with.
In the context of human insight, an interview is a face-to-face conversation between an organization and its target audience. Sometimes called a moderated study, interviews can be conducted either in person, or more commonly, remotely via remote conferencing.

L

Likert scales assess the degree to which a test participant agrees or disagrees about a given statement, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 commonly representing “strongly agree,” and 1 signifying “strongly disagree.” Due to the numeric scale, these assessments offer more insight than a “yes” or “no” question, which is often too black and white and doesn’t allow for any neutrality.
Longitudinal studies refer to the repetitive action of observing the same test participants over days, months, or even years to notice what changes and developments naturally occur. Researchers can obtain long-term insights into their customers, providing valuable information for how they interact with and experience a product or service.
Low-fidelity prototyping is a method of testing design concepts by transforming your ideas into limited function, testable artifacts. The role of low-fidelity prototypes is to collect feedback on your design during the early stages.

M

A middle market, or mid-market, organization is a business with an annual revenue range of between $10 million and $1 billion—with categorizations of the lower middle market, middle market, and upper middle market.
Minesweeping is the manual act of using your web cursor, or “sweeping,” to pinpoint tooltips and page links.
Mobile testing is the process by which mobile apps and digital experiences (like websites and ecommerce) are tested for relevance, functionality, usability, and consistency.
Multichannel testing tests if your users have a consistent and similar experience across multiple channels and devices.

N

Net promoter score, or NPS, measures customer satisfaction. It’s typically measured with a customer survey that asks the customer, “How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend or colleague?” on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest and the best score and 0 being the lowest.

O

An omnichannel test is when participants complete an activity that spans more than one channel or device. For example, if a customer finds a recipe on their desktop and adds the ingredients to a shopping list on their smartphone, refers to the list on their phone while at the grocery store, and then follows the recipe at home on their tablet, they’ve completed an omnichannel experience.

P

Interactive Path Flows (IPFs) help you understand the behavioral data of the individuals who took your test. They illustrate the diverse paths users take to navigate a web-based experience you are testing.
A persona is a description of a user that details their characteristics, pain points, and sometimes some personality traits, intended to serve as an archetype for real uses to help teams anticipate user needs.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is data that could be used to contact and discover the identity of a living person. Since many contributors use their personal devices for recorded tests, which must adhere to certain policies, PII should always be taken seriously.
Phishing is a method of cyber attacking, with the hopes that an unsuspecting individual will consensually offer personal and sensitive data through a form of communication that appears reputable but isn’t. Commonly, the goal is identify theft or financial gain and the most-used method is through email.
Product management is the intersection of business, technology, and UX to strategically drive the vision, development, market launch, and continual support and improvement of an organization’s products.

Q

Qualitative data is non-numerical data describing qualities and characteristics that can be collected or recorded.
Qualitative research is a behavioral research method that relies on non-numerical data derived from observations and recordings that approximate and characterize phenomena. It’s collecting, analyzing, and interpreting non-numerical data, such as language. It sometimes seeks to understand how an individual subjectively perceives and gives meaning to their social reality.
Quantitative data is numerical data that can be counted or measured. It's any data that can be quantified and has a numerical value. This data is calculable and can always be verified.

R

Remote focus groups, or group interviews, are similar to traditional in-person focus groups, however, they’re conducted remotely via video conferencing.
Remote usability testing is a method of remote research that uses an insight platform to record the screen (and voice, depending on the software you choose) of test participants as they interact with your product or experience in their natural environment—at home, in their office, or a specific location.

S

Scannability is the method of implementing formatting and writing techniques to make your site easily digestible for the reader.
A scenario is a few sentences that help set the stage for your test contributor. It appears only after a test participant has passed the screener questions and met the qualifications, and is the first part of the test that they see when it commences. A scenario may complement screener questions, but this doesn’t always have to be the case.
When it comes to testing, a script is a plan that one follows to ensure all tasks are completed successfully and consistently, leaving the contributor with plenty of opportunities to provide feedback. For you to stay organized and strategic, a script should be made for various types of tests, from usability and moderated tests to benchmark studies.
A sentiment path is an analytical feature, part of the UserTesting platform, that highlights positive and negative experiences as users complete tasks. Similar to other features like intent path, click maps, keyword maps, and more, they make up some of the many metrics—which are designed to save time by automatically highlighting contributor sentiment, intent, and behavioral insights.
Skip navigation, also known as skip logic, is a link that allows users to skip a chunk of navigational links to get to the main content.
A small business is an organization with less than 500 employees, according to the Small Business Administration. However, a small business can be classified various ways depending on factors like size, revenue, country, and industry, so there is no one set definition.
A startup is an early-stage organization made to fulfill a need a founder believes exists—and disrupt the industry for the better. Startups are typically funded by the founders themselves, or family and friends, as they seek out crowdfunding and venture capitalists.
A survey gathers data from a representative group of people, usually to understand a larger population. Surveys with large numbers of contributors collect quantitative feedback, while UserTesting tests collect qualitative feedback via video recording.

T

Thick data, a term originally coined by Tricia Wang, is qualitative data (like observations, feelings, and reactions) that provides insights into consumers’ everyday emotional lives. Big data is quantitative data sets (collected at an extremely large scale) that may reveal patterns and trends relating to human behavior.
This unofficial “rule” in the world of UX design asserts that no page should take more than three clicks or taps to access. Or conversely, no piece of important content or information should take more than three clicks or taps to navigate to.
A tooltip, also known as screentips or hover help, is an overlay or callout that appears in certain parts of the user workflow on a digital product, containing helpful hints about less intuitive features. An appropriately placed tooltip can provide crucial information at the exact moment the user needs it, and is usually initiated either through mouse-hovering or keyboard-hovering.
A research method used to help you understand where people get lost finding content or information on your website.

U

User interface (UI) is anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service. This includes everything from screens and touchscreens, keyboards, sounds, and even lights.
Usability evaluation, composed of qualitative and quantitative research, is the process of assessing the user-friendliness of a system or product—and whether or not it satisfies users’ needs. Potential goals include simplifying a process, boosting efficiency, and raising awareness of a specific feature.
Usability labs are laboratories where usability testing is conducted under the supervision of a UX researcher. Test participants are recorded to observe how they complete tasks using the software.
A use case is a written account of how a particular product, feature, or concept is utilized, or alternatively, how a specific challenge or pain point can be addressed. Organizations typically rely on use cases to highlight how their products or services can benefit their customers.
User experience is how you feel about every interaction you have with what's in front of you in the moment you're using it.
UX research is the practice of studying user interactions to help with the design of people-first products and experiences.
A user research education program is an education program within an organization that strives to educate more individuals within the organization about customer research and testing to help build awareness, knowledge, and skills so human insight can scale across the organization.
User-centered design can be defined as a creative approach to problem-solving that centers on users throughout planning, design, and development—customized to fit their needs. Whether you’re developing a digital or physical product, with the user in mind, you guarantee creating a product that’s both desired and user-friendly.
UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.