Designer vs Developer dictionary

By Robert Brown

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Graphic design User Experience
An image showing the words 'Designer vs Developer'

If you work within the industry, you may not be a stranger to the so-called designer and developer divide. After all, it’s not only the job titles or often the separate rooms of an office that divide them but particularly the associations attached to each that mark the two as stark oppositions.

Typically, designers are ‘the creatives’. They use the right side of their brain to work up creative solutions and are skilled in the likes of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign with an eye for detail and a strong understanding of type, space and image. Developers on the other hand are the 'left-brained logicals’, navigating multiple screens at once to tackle PHP, CSS, Javascript and more.

You’ve probably heard some of the stereotypes. As in the designer, a sensitive soul, generating emotionally fueled designs through imaginative musings and whacky waves of inspiration. Just like the developer is a certified geek.

Whilst these stereotypes are comical to a certain degree (and quite possibly exaggerated), Google Advocate Mustafa Rutuldu suggests that they also serve to highlight an important problem that we need to address. In his series ‘Designer vs Developer’, he talks about a lack of understanding that can exist between designers and developers, something that with improvement could serve to generate a higher output of work. He states that ‘the premise of the show is to try and solve the challenges faced in the industry by having an open conversation between the two.

This series fueled a lot of discussion in the JUMP office given that we work across design and digital, relying on a strong relationship between both to fuel the work that we do. We asked ourselves what, if anything, we could do to improve understanding between the two. As a company, we felt the biggest barrier (and in fact for our clients too) would have to be the different languages we use in each discipline, oftentimes inaccessible to one or the other. So how could we fix this? Over the last few months, we have been designing a jargon dictionary, helping to differentiate the terminology used in each field. We plan to keep adding to this as it grows and hope it functions as a useful tool for others too!





Artwork: The final design.

Assets: All materials needed to successfully complete a project – usually referring to text, content, graphics, photographs etc.



Accessibility: The practice of removing any barriers that could limit a user's ability to interact with a website.





Brand: Not just a logo but the design ‘style’/approach (the illustration could be part of the design approach) that is consistently applied to your literature (print and online). It is the tone of the company altogether and how it feels to a customer.

Brief: There are usually two kinds of brief – one from the client and another that gets sent around internally. It is a document designed by a person or a team in consultation with the client which outlines the details of a project.


Backend: A non-public facing section of a website or system that allows administrators to securely log in and update the data within their system.

Browser: A program that allows a user to view web pages stored on the World Wide Web e.g. Chrome and Firefox




Content: Content is the presentation of information through a certain form.


CMS: Content Management System: This is a piece of software that allows the client to edit the content of their website. There are many different types from generated sites, database and flat file.

CRUFT: It means badly designed, unnecessarily complicated, or unwanted code or software.

 CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): A coding language that defines and describes how a page appears visually to the user.





Debugging: The practice of sifting through code looking to identify any bugs or issues and remove them.

Deployment: The release of a piece of software. This is usually a replacement of the existing code, migration of the database, clearing of caches. Deployment can be done by hand or more commonly in an automated fashion with Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD for short). Usually, there is a procedure to roll back a bad deployment.

DEV: Development.









Google Tag Manager (GTM): A Google created a suite of tag management tools. Used by marketers to simply and reliably integrate tagging and analytics into their systems.

Google Webmaster Tools (GWM): An invaluable set of tools for owners of websites. Allows you to track search performance, crawl errors and security issues with your website.

GUI (Graphical User Interface): A type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators.




HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): A coding language that defines and designs the structure of a web page.





Javascript: The programming language of HTML and the Web. Most commonly used to add additional behaviour to a page once it has been loaded.



Keywords: A series of words or phrases that describe the contents of a particular web page.




Logo: The combination of a logotype (text) and an icon/symbol that is your identity in its simplest form.

Logotype: The font (text) part of a logo









Organic Traffic: Traffic that comes to your website as a result of unpaid search results





Pitch: A pitch is where designers or a design team present to clients in order to win projects that they will then go on to work on.







Referrals: Effectively a recommendation from one website to another.





Scrum: This involves planning out projects throughout the week and scheduling time in so that everything gets done on time.

Sign off: Where the client commits to the final design (the green light).


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Maximizing visitors to a website through making sure it appears high on results lists of a search engine

Smoke test: This is preliminary testing that is done to reveal simple failures severe enough to reject a prospective software release.

Sprint: It is a fixed period of time in which work is completed.







User-centric design: This is when the end user’s needs, wants and limitations are a focus at all stages within the design process and development lifecycle.

UX: The process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.


UAT (User Acceptance Testing): The last phase of the software testing process where software users test it to make sure it can handle real-world scenarios.

User Experience (UX): A person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service.







Wireframes: A visual guide that represents a skeletal framework used to decide how to arrange elements.







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