Inspired by this question What is the information that's always present in a toolbar called in UX lingo? we have to consider how much jargon is too much.

Because too many names have the effect of creating communities who speak this jargon and therefore “they know while others doesn’t” and this allianates designers who might have the empathy but are not yet familiar with the jargon. Don’t get me wrong, this is meant to happen more or less in any community but too much makes it counterproductive for the community itself.

On the other hand I am all in for jargon that corresponds to unique names of components that are already built and you can find them easily online to integrate them in your software products.

So what’s your thoughts about it?

(as another example note that this principle is valid in coding itself since you do not use variable names for everything. Sometimes an anonymous function is ok)

  • presumably an anonymous function would only be okay it occurred only once or very rarely? if there's a function that is used regularly by devs across tech then the chances are someone would name it...just like components and patterns in UX :)
    – Chris
    May 11, 2016 at 8:48
  • ok maybe not the best example then :) May 11, 2016 at 9:21

3 Answers 3


Naming things isn't necessarily useful for the user as they often don't care what somethings called, they just want things to work intuitively to get things done/solve problems etc. For the UX community however I'd say naming is vital and natural evolution of the discipline.

Each named UI component or pattern is a simple word (or a few words) that summarises a broader concept. For example, if I had to explain 'Toasts' in conversation it would become laborious and ineffective, whereas if my peers and I all understand the definition and/or specification of 'Toast Notifications' then we're all on the same page:

Windows Toasts definition:

Toasts allow your app to provide time-sensitive or personally relevant notifications to users regardless of whether they are in another app or on the Start screen, lock screen, or desktop. For example, you could use a toast to inform a user of: an incoming VOIP call. a new instant message. a new text message.

from https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/windows/apps/hh465391.aspx

Imagine if I had to say all that each time! Ever industry has specific jargon and if it served no purpose it likely wouldn't be so common. Ask a friend or family member what Toasts are and they'll start talking about breakfast, and rightfully so. Just like they probably don't know what tiles, headers or widgets are.


Users aren't typically interested in how the design, development and UX community name components or patterns etc but for UX professionals it's important that there is a continuing evolution and development of definitions.


I don't think we can have rules for terms of emerging concepts.

I had never heard about "pinching", for example, nevertheless the name turned out (I think) to be a useful term when discussion touch interfaces. Without it, we would have a hard time describing how to interact to zoom a map.

So acceptance and usage will indicate whether the term is useful for a number of people, and with sufficient usage comes "jargon" (meant in a positive sense here). Which is fine, since specialized terms allow a more precise communication; in the end, "jargon" is about reducing the usual linguistic ambiguity.

In addition, "jargon" is not as problematic anymore as it was, I think. Google's first hit on "pinch" gives a very accurate description of what the pinch gesture is, and is used for. In earlier days, it was much harder to come by a definition of the terms, so I feel "jargon" is less of a problem today than it was 10 years ago.

  • Thanks for your answer. You are correct about Google. I actually had in mind more of the face to face conversation than online. But if you are going to use google I think it is smart enough nowdays to show you images of something that you describe. Well not super smart but they are getting there! May 12, 2016 at 19:05

As a programmer, I am always wanting to know more about what is going on inside of program compared to the average user, though I still don't want to feel overwhelmed. Consider this question:

Who are my target users?

Are they knowledgable computer programmers or are they old people that only know how to email & use their internet browser? The more knowledgable target group, then maybe add more information. If they are less experienced, or aren't interested in every little detail, then include less. Consider this question:

What does the user gain from this specific feature or piece of information?

If they gain little, then leave consider leaving it out, so as not to over complicate things. Though don't make it so minimal that the user gets frustrated. It is the worst when there isn't that one setting you wish a program had. In settings for your program, an "Advanced" tab is a great idea. It welcomes knowledgable users, and doesn't put more complex options in front of average users.

Settings for hiding or showing features in your program lets the user limit how much information they desire to see. By default, maybe show a reasonable amount of information on a status bar, and then let the user if desired have the option to show more. It also gives the program a "customizable" feel to it, giving each user a custom experience they have input into.

One of the best things you can do for your UX over all is document how to use your program, what certain things mean in your program, and readily provide help for using your program. A good idea if you deem it necessary may also be to create a forum for the users of your program on the program's website. An FAQ or user guides/tutorials could help extensively, along with step by step official videos if you want to get real fancy.

Overall, when it comes down to, it depends on what the program's purpose is, your target user, and how readily available documentation on your program is. I hope this helped and I wish you the best. Sorry for late response.

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