Product Design Glossary

Welcome to our comprehensive glossary of essential terms in the field of product and industrial design. Whether you're a seasoned designer, a business owner looking to collaborate with a design firm, or someone new to the field, understanding the language of design is crucial. This glossary serves as a valuable resource, providing definitions and insights into 75 key terms that you'll encounter in the world of design. From essential methods and software tools to principles of usability and user experience, each term is defined to deepen your understanding and equip you with the language needed to navigate complex design projects.

  1. 3D Modeling: The process of creating a three-dimensional object using specialized software.
  2. A/B Testing: A method of comparing two versions of a webpage or product to determine which performs better.
  3. Affordance: A design feature that helps users understand how to use a product.
  4. Agile Development: A method for software development that emphasizes flexibility and collaboration.
  5. AutoCAD: A popular software for 2D and 3D design and drafting.
  6. Benchmarking: Comparing your product or design processes against industry standards or competitors.
  7. Brainstorming: A collaborative idea-generating method used in the design phase.
  8. CAD (Computer-Aided Design): Software used to create, modify, or analyze a design.
  9. CMF (Color, Material, Finish): Describes the color, material, and finish options for a product.
  10. CNC Machining: A manufacturing process where pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of machinery.
  11. Concept Testing: A stage in product development where concepts are evaluated before going into production.
  12. Constraints: Limitations or restrictions in design, such as cost, materials, or production methods.
  13. Consumer-Centered Design: Design focused on the needs, wants, and limitations of the end-user.
  14. Cross-Functional Team: A team composed of experts from different domains working together.
  15. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): A stylesheet language used to control the look and feel of web-based designs.
  16. Deliverables: Tangible or intangible goods or services that will be delivered to the client or stakeholder.
  17. Design Brief: A document outlining the objectives and constraints of a design project.
  18. Design for Assembly (DFA): Creating products in a way that makes them easy to assemble.
  19. Design for Manufacturing (DFM): Designing products in a way that makes them easy to manufacture.
  20. Design Iteration: The cycle of creating a design, testing it, and revising it.
  21. Design Language: The style and appearance that products from a certain company or sector commonly exhibit.
  22. Design Pattern: A general reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem within a given context.
  23. Design Sprint: A five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas.
  24. Design System: A collection of reusable components, guided by clear standards, used for creating consistent designs.
  25. Design Thinking: A problem-solving method that involves empathy, ideation, and prototyping.
  26. Elevation Drawing: A type of drawing that shows all parts of a building as if you were looking at it straight on.
  27. End User: The person who ultimately uses or is intended to use a product.
  28. Ergonomics: The science of designing products, systems, or processes to take proper account of the interaction between them and the people who use them.
  29. Experience Design (XD): Focuses on the overall experience between a user and a product.
  30. Figma: A cloud-based design tool similar to Sketch.
  31. Form Factor: The size, shape, and style of a product, especially electronics.
  32. Front-End Development: The practice of converting data to a graphical interface for user viewing.
  33. Functional Requirements: The features a product must have to meet its purpose.
  34. HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The standard language for creating web pages.
  35. Human-Centered Design (HCD): A design process that focuses on the users and their needs at each phase.
  36. Inclusive Design: Designing products or environments to be accessible to people with disabilities.
  37. Industrial Design: A professional service that creates and develops concepts and specifications to optimize function, value, and appearance for the mutual benefit of user and manufacturer.
  38. Information Architecture: The structure, organization, navigation, labeling, and indexing of a website or app.
  39. Interaction Design (IxD): Designing interactive products and systems to support the way users communicate and interact in their daily lives.
  40. Iterative Design: A design methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product.
  41. JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): A commonly used method of image compression.
  42. Kerning: The adjustment of the space between individual letter forms in typography.
  43. Low-Fidelity Prototype: A prototype that is sketchy and incomplete, representing only a few features of the final product.
  44. Market Research: The action of gathering information about consumer needs and preferences.
  45. Material Design: A design language developed by Google.
  46. Mockup: A model or replica of a machine or structure for instructional or experimental purposes.
  47. Mood Board: A type of visual presentation or 'collage' consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition.
  48. MVP (Minimum Viable Product): The version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
  49. Photoshop: A software application for image editing and photo retouching.
  50. Pixel Density: The number of pixels in a given physical space.
  51. Portfolio: A collection of work that showcases your skills and qualifications.
  52. Product Lifecycle: The cycle through which every product goes from introduction to withdrawal or eventual demise.
  53. Prototype: An early sample or model built to test a concept or process.
  54. Rapid Prototyping: Quickly constructing a model of a part or finished product.
  55. Responsive Design: An approach to web design that makes web pages render well on various devices and window or screen sizes.
  56. Scalability: The capability of a system to grow and manage increased demand.
  57. Sketch: A basic, non-interactive drawing or rendering that serves as a starting point for more complex designs.
  58. Storyboarding: A technique used to visualize the user's interaction with a product in a series of sketched scenes or 'boards'.
  59. SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics): An XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics.
  60. System Usability Scale (SUS): A questionnaire used to evaluate the usability of a project.
  61. Texture Mapping: A method for adding detail, surface texture, or color to a computer-generated graphic or 3D model.
  62. Typography: The art of arranging text and type.
  63. UI (User Interface): The space where interactions between humans and machines occur.
  64. Usability: The ease of use and learnability of a human-made object.
  65. Usability Testing: Evaluating a product by testing it on users.
  66. User Experience (UX): How a user interacts with and feels about a product.
  67. User Flow: The path taken by users through a website or app to complete a task.
  68. User Persona: A fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product similarly.
  69. User Research: Understanding user behaviors, needs, motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.
  70. User Stories: Simple descriptions of a feature, told from the perspective of a user.
  71. Vector Graphics: Use of polygons to represent images in computer graphics.
  72. Viewport: The user's visible area of a web page.
  73. Visual Hierarchy: The arrangement of elements in a way that implies importance.
  74. Wireframe: A visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website or product.
  75. Workflow: The series of activities that are necessary to complete a task.

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