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

Heuristic Evaluation

A usability assessment method that is used to evaluate a design against established usability principles or heuristics. It is based on the idea that designers can use their experience to find areas of poor design without extensive user testing.

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of a rectangle's width to its height. It is measured by dividing the shorter side length, here "w" or width, by the longer side length, "h" or height. The aspect ratio may be given as either a fraction or as a decimal.

Iterative Design

A way of developing new products or services using a process of repeated and regular refinement, in which prototypes are made, evaluated, revised, and re-evaluated until the desired result is achieved. High profile companies have successfully implemented iterative design to create effective and innovative products.

Small Caps

Small uppercase letters, generally about half as tall as regular uppercase letters.

Monochrome

Designs that are created in one colour. It can be any colour, but the whole design will range from light to darker shades. As the name implies, it is typically a single hue, with black and white also being typical combinations for this type of design.

Trim Size

The width and height of a document, after having been cut down to size from a larger sheet.

Ball Terminal

In handwriting and calligraphy, ball terminals are the end of a stroke that resembles a ball. They are also used in some typefaces like cursive or old-style typefaces.

Pilcrow

Also called a paragraph mark, a paragraph sign or section marker, is a typographical character for separating paragraphs. It looks like a "¶".

Web Page Elements

A textual or graphical component in a web page.

Ellipsis

Also known as a suspension point, is a series of dots (…) that is used either as a substitute for some text that has been omitted from a sentence or when the author does not wish to pause in their writing.

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