Design Debt

A concept used in systems design to describe the negative consequences of making seemingly innocuous design changes. Shorthand for a product's delayed but inevitable need to be reworked due to earlier, seemingly trivial decisions not having been fully thought through in the original release.

Designers incur this "debt" by making quick and easy choices that save time in the present but cause more complex problems later on down the road when it becomes necessary to change or add something.

More terms you might want to know

Persona

A sample of the target audience for which a product or service is intended.

Design Sprint

A way to create and test designs. Designers use design sprints as a time-intensive method of quickly testing ideas and then pivoting into designing for user needs. A designer may then take the prototype they created on the first day of the design sprint and fix any usability issues with it, which is a quick way to get feedback on their work before continuing development.

Gamification

The process of adding game-like qualities to an experience like a website or application. To ensure that these activities are engaging enough for the users, it often includes gradual rewards such as levels and badges systems, which can further encourage engagement with the app.

Zeigarnik Effect

A psychological phenomenon that states that people tend to remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.

Opacity

The measure of how easily light passes through a material. It is a quantitative characteristic that can be represented as a number within the range of [0, 1], and in some cases [0%,100%], with lower numbers indicating higher transparency.

PDF File

An abbreviation for Portable Document Format. The PDF format was originally developed to share documents between different operating systems in the late 1980s. Any text document, image or page layout can be saved as a PDF file that includes all of the font information needed to display it without losing quality.

AI File

An Adobe Illustrator vector format file. Files with the extension .ai are often used for artwork and illustrations as users can resize them without distortion. It is composed of several layers with objects and text on each layer. Users can import Illustrator files into many other programs like InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop etc. If you design or print your t-shirts, you can create your designs in Illustrator and apply them to your t-shirt using a heat press.

Stock Photo

A photograph that is purchased and licensed for exclusive use by an individual or business.

Left-aligned

Text that flows from left to right and is the default reading direction of a page with its content aligned on the left margin.

Tone

The feeling or mood created by a design.

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