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

Bold

A greater typographic weight than the standard typeface, often used to highlight text that the writer wants to emphasise or denote sections, headlines or quotes in printed material.

Bold type is a little heavier than the average type because of its higher contrast, making it more readable. The opposite of bold type is light type, also known as regular or book.

Affinity Diagram

A data visualisation tool that can be used to explore and group people's thoughts or reactions to a set of concepts. Affinity diagrams are often used in user research and design thinking as an experimental technique for generating new ideas or solutions.

The emergent patterns in these visual representations can help identify which aspects your audience will respond well to, thus enabling decisions on the information architecture and next steps in the process.

It is important to note that affinity diagrams were initially developed for qualitative research but have since been adapted for quantitative research (though they are not typically used with statistical data).

Lettermark

A symbol that is used in the design industry to give a more personal touch. Lettermarks can be an individual's name or initials that are cleverly designed and incorporated into a company's logo.

User Research

A field of study that aims to understand the user experience of a product or service. Conducting UX research includes interviewing, observing, and surveying users. Understanding the user experience is important because it helps designers understand how to design a better product that will be more appealing and usable for people.

Grid

A system of columns and rows designers use to create layouts. It's used in graphic design and web development to align elements for easy use on the page. Grids are a key part of design because they help you create balance, rhythm, proportion and hierarchy in your layout.

Link

A prominent design feature of web applications. Links can be used to navigate websites, provide shortcuts to content, or change views within a web application. These links allow for ease of access and save time when users need to find information or use services from other domain names.

KPI

A key performance indicator is a variable that measures how well an entity is performing. It's a figure that designates an individual or item's performance level. A particular company may use metrics such as sales, revenue, production, and market share to gauge the success of their firm.

User Interviews

The act of gathering qualitative data about a person's thoughts and feelings related to a product.

Descenders

The portion of a letter such as y, p, q or j that hangs below the baseline of the text.

Slab Serif

A type of serif, characterized by large x-heights and thick, blocky strokes with little variation in width.

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