April 25, 2023

Fortnight Glossary


Are you about to embark on a mobile app development project? It's important to have a clear understanding of the terminology used in the industry. With the fast-paced and ever-evolving nature of technology, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest buzzwords and phrases. To help you navigate this maze of jargon, we've put together a comprehensive glossary of terms that will come in handy for mobile app clients. From UI/UX design to Agile methodologies, they all have a short and concise explanation - exactly how we like to work at Fortnight; finding the best solutions as efficiently as possible.

So here are some fundamental terms you’ll come across when working with a design and development agency like Fortnight:

  1. A/B Testing

also known as split testing, compares two versions of a web page with a single variable online to determine which one performs better.

  1. Animations

are moving images that a web designer uses to capture attention and help users move through a webpage more naturally, and take specific actions.

  1. Agile

a project management methodology that emphasises flexibility, collaboration, and continuous iteration and improvement in the development process

  1. API

or Application Programming Interfaces, are pieces of software that help different applications communicate with each other. Products develop APIs to let you access and read the information on their server easily and exchange data.

  1. ASO (App Store Optimisation)

is a strategy that improves an app’s visibility in an app store. By successfully using optimal keywords, metadata and localised descriptions, you can rank higher and drive more downloads due to that visibility.

  1. AWS

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (short AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs. We use it to host the websites we create.

  1. Back-end

refers to the server-side components of a web or mobile application, which provide functionality and data storage, processing, and retrieval to support the front-end user interface.

  1. Bugs

are errors or glitches in the code of a mobile application that cause unexpected behaviour and negatively affect the user experience.

  1. Clickstream

when you land on a site, you click your way through it to complete a task. This is what a clickstream represents: the path of clicks you took to accomplish a goal.

  1. Code Audit

is a comprehensive analysis of the app's source code with the intent of discovering bugs, security breaches or violations of programming conventions.

  1. Commits

Developers create commits when a good point in a project is reached, kind of like a draft.

  1. Cross Platform

or multiplatform software works on various operating systems or devices, which are often called platforms (such as Windows, Mac OS, Android, or iOS).

  1. CSS

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is a style sheet used to define how a website should be styled. It contains information on fonts, colour, spacing, layouts, and graphics among others, and how each should be applied to the website. Think of the top coat of paint!

  1. Customer Experience (CX)

or CX, refers to all the different interactions a user has with a brand through its channels and products, and how a user feels about them. It has a profound impact on a brand image. 

  1. Design Debt

A design system that has accrued design debt is made up of elements and features that will need to be cleaned up later on. The efforts made to quickly set them in place eventually generate more work down the line.

  1. Design System

is a set and combination of reusable functional elements, components and patterns used to create a consistent experience across a range of products. This is guided by standards creating a shared language and visual consistency across different pages and channels.

  1. Design Thinking

a human-centred approach to problem-solving that involves empathy, experimentation, and iteration to create innovative and effective solutions.

  1. Domain Knowledge

is usually used to describe the knowledge of specialists or experts in a particular field. In software engineering, it is the awareness of the environment in which the target system operates. 

  1. Dual track

a method of innovation that involves simultaneously pursuing two parallel streams of work: one focused on improving existing products, services or processes, and the other focused on exploring new possibilities and breakthrough innovations.

  1. Figma

is a collaborative web application for interface design, with additional offline features.We design the majority of our work on Figma. 

  1. Fortnight

two weeks; used to indicate that something will take place in/within two weeks. Also an awesome award-winning design and development studio in London.

  1. Front-end

refers to the client-side components of a web or mobile application, which include the user interface, visual design, and interactions with the user, typically implemented using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  1. Heat map

is a graphical representation of the areas on your product that receive the most user attention. They use a warm-to-cool colour spectrum to show you where exactly your users are going.

  1. High-Fidelity Prototypes

are highly functional and interactive prototypes. These are very close to the final product, with most of the necessary design assets and components developed and integrated. They are often used in the later stages to test usability and identify more significant issues in the workflow.

  1. HTML 

or Hypertext Markup Language is the standard programming language used to create websites. Unlike CSS, it is concerned with the structure of a website. Think of it as the programming language we use to create the blueprint of a website. 

  1. Interactions

explore how micro-interactions of navigating an interface and using a series of functionalities and widgets or controls impact the larger goals of a user using the app.

  1. Java Script

defines how both HTML and CSS should behave. Think of it as the language that helps us make elements on a page interactive.

  1. Kotlin

is the programming language for Android. Kotlin can be used for any kind of development, be it server-side, or client-side web as well.

  1. Low-Fidelity Prototypes

are simple and low-tech concepts. The goal is to turn ideas into testable prototypes that then can be used to collect and analyse feedback in the early stages.

  1. Lean UX

is a collaborative user-centric approach that prioritises “learning loops” (building, learning, and measuring through iterations) over design documentation.

  1. Microcopy

small bits of text that help navigate. It can be labels, buttons, error messages etc.

  1. Micro-Interactions

are small, preferably functional animations or events that support the user by giving visual feedback and displaying changes more clearly. They have one main task, a single purpose.

  1. Mock-ups

are static representations of a product. You can’t click through them or interact with them. They are essentially a picture of what the product will look like. It allows you to create a sample of your product or show your work in a real-world setting without having to create a physical product.

  1. MVP

or Minimum Viable Product refers to the essential set of features we can launch a product with to get the ball rolling. This isn’t to say we won’t develop further elements or parts down the line. Products are often launched as MVPs to release fast and gather valuable user feedback. 

  1. Native

means your code natively supports the specific operating system of mobile devices. So an example would be a native iOS app vs. a native Android app. This is used if you’re building an app specifically for the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

  1. Node.js

is a platform used to execute Javascript code on the server-side (back-end)

  1. React Native

is an open-source JavaScript-based framework developed by Facebook. It is a hybrid mobile app framework, allowing you to develop mobile applications with a single codebase and lets you build mobile apps that work natively across different platforms like iOS and Android.

  1. Slack

is the messaging tool we use to communicate and a place where work flows between people, systems, partners and customers.

  1. Swift

is the programming language for IOS (Apple) apps. It allows developers to define UI using swift code.

  1. Triggers

are commands that specify where and when tags should be fired. They are activated when their corresponding event occurs in the database. This trigger event occurs when the specified action is performed.

  1. User Experience (UX)

refers to a user’s emotions, attitudes, and perceptions about a product, system, or service. It describes how you feel while interacting with an app or website and makes a product useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible, and credible.

  1. User Flow

describes the intended series of steps a user needs to take to complete a goal on a product. They often include a name, steps, events, and descriptions of what happens during each of the steps a user takes.

  1. User Interface (UI)

is a set of visual components a user needs to interact with a product, made up of elements. It is also the point of human-computer interaction and communication in a device. This can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse, and the appearance of a desktop. 

  1. User Journey Maps

are narrative documents that help us visualise the process a user goes through to accomplish a goal. They document the tasks executed during each stage, user emotions, and product opportunities.

  1. Unique Screens

are a sum of different layouts and screens an app exists off. For example, a Login, a Chat, a Map, and a Profile view would make a total of 4 screens. 

  1. Problem-identification

as the name implies, helps you pinpoint what types of problems you potentially have. Problem-solving research helps then identify ways to solve those problems.

  1. Prototype

is a preliminary model of our product used for testing. You’ll often build different fidelity prototypes during the product development process. During the early stages, you can build paper prototypes (low-fidelity) with pencil and paper to validate concepts or flows. Later on, with flows and concepts validated, you can jump on a design software to build a high-fidelity prototype. Instead of looking like a doodle, prototypes will look like apps on your mobile device do and can be used to fine-tune details on your UI.

  1. Refactoring

is the process of cleaning up & typing code without affecting functionality or quality

  1. Responsive

adapts to fit the device they are being displayed on. They are a single layout that shrinks and stretches and rearranges the content on it to be easily viewed on each device type.

  1. SaaS

or Software as a Service is a software distribution model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and hosted on external servers. Subscribing users can access it through the web. 

  1. Solution mapping

is a process tool for idea creation, problem-solving, knowledge sharing, and value and strategy processes. It's a flexible tool that supports a process in which ideas, problems, and dilemmas are tested, solved, and discussed through the involvement of the desired stakeholders.

  1. (Design, Development) Sprint

is a defined period assigned to complete certain tasks. Their length can vary but is usually around 1-3 weeks.

  1. Technical debt

is similar to design debt but instead of taking a toll on the design system, it takes it on the code. Products accrue technical debt whenever an easy but messy development solution is favoured over a better yet more time-consuming alternative. Eventually, the messy solution will need to be cleaned up, generating work. This is what we call technical debt.

  1. UI Element

or User interface (UI) elements are all the different parts found on an interface we need to trigger specific actions or get around an app or website. Think of the buttons, input fields, toggles, and radio buttons.

  1. UI Patterns

are reusable solutions to common usability problems in products or on the web expressed as a collection of UI elements. Think about a login screen. A common login UI pattern is made up of two input fields, one for a username and one for a password, and a button to submit these. We call this collection of elements a login pattern.

  1. Unit Testing

is the process of testing parts of an application to ensure they are working properly. It can be done manually or can be an automated process.

  1. Usability testing

is a research method that lets us evaluate how easy a product is to use by testing it on a group of representative users.

  1. User-centred design

UCD is an iterative design framework in which users and their needs are always kept at the centre of every decision. 

  1. Waterfall

means in software development, each phase must be completed before the next phase can begin. So, all the designs would have to be completed before developers could begin any work.

  1. Webflow

is the software we use for building and hosting websites. Their online visual editor platform allows users to design, build, and launch websites.

  1. White Space

or Negative Space refers to unoccupied or blank spaces on a page. 

  1. Wireframes

are a low-fidelity representation of a website’s layout and content. Think of wireframes as the blueprint of a screen.

Fortnight Glossary