I'm trying to identify the lexical, syntactic and semantic concepts on this screen of the Waze application, but I don't know if I really understood these concepts.

Are buttons considered as lexical level?

Is the function that the button performs the syntactic level?

Is the general idea of the Waze app the semantic level?

Can anyone elaborate a little more on these concepts and say what each element of this screen represents and why?

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    Hi, and welcome to the site! Unfortunately, I can't help with your question, because I have absolutely no clue what lexical, syntactic and semantic means on the UI. (I do know what they mean in linguistics, but that's far off.) Let us know where you picked up the terms, why you want this question answered, where we can find a definition of the terms (applied to UX), and then maybe somebody will be able to answer. Have a nice day! Mar 4, 2020 at 7:55
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    Sounds like you're on a class assignment ;) As @virtualnobi said, the question in its current state cannot be answered due to the lack of a problem statement. You can find some guidance here to help formulate your question so people can help out: ux.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Mar 6, 2020 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


User interface can be divided in to four different levels of which three are lexical, syntactic and semantic. Fourth is conceptual level. This is a top-down approach to designing systems starting from the conceptual level through semantic and syntactic to lexical level. It was developed by Foley and van Dam.

Conceptual level

On conceptual level you build conceptual model of the system. It contains all the objects and actions users need to know about to use the system.

To use the text editor user needs to know about characters, paragraphs, line heights, kerning etc. and actions they can do with them such as copy and paste.

Semantic level

On semantic level you define all semantic specification for each action identified in the conceptual level. Or if there are also other actions, for those actions as well. Your specification should include the description of the function, its parameters, feedback user gets and possible errors.

Text editor has a function for user to copy characters. Function has parameters which tells what characters to copy and from where. Function shows which characters are copied and shows error if copying is impossible.

Syntactic level

On syntactic level you define the syntax or the structure of the system. Syntax defines how different system states are connected. It should show how system responses to user's actions. Jacob has a good example of state diagram in his template for conceptual-semantic-syntactic-lexical model.

Lexical level

On lexical level you define how user actually interacts with the system. What user interface components are used to "physically" build the system defined on the syntactic level.

In text editor user can select the text with a mouse and can click a button which copies selected text on to clipboard.

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