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Glossary

  • Scanability
    How easy it is to read and understand a body of text.
  • Scanning
    An information-retrieval method whereby users look quickly through a Web page looking for target information (headers, keywords, etc.). Scanning can be a quick and efficient information-retrieval method if Web pages are designed to accommodate scanning.
  • Scenarios
    Hypothetical circumstances used to frame and prompt the user to follow or pursue a particular task path.
  • Screen reader
    A software program used to allow reading of content and navigation of the screen using speech or Braille output. Used primarily by people who have difficulty seeing. JAWS and NVDA are examples.
  • Screener
    A questionnaire used in recruiting to ensure participants meet a defined criteria and are part of the targeted audience.
  • Screenful
    A screenful is defined as that portion of a Web page that is visible on any given user's monitor or screen at any given point in time. The size of the screenful is determined by the user's monitor size, screen resolution settings, and the user's selected font size.
  • Scroll bar
    The scroll bar is visible along the right edge of common browsers. It is defined by a movable box that runs on a vertical or horizontal axis.
  • Scroll stopper
    A graphic or other page element that may visually impede a user from scrolling to the true top or bottom of a page. Misplaced headers, horizontal lines, or sections of text in very small fonts may act as scroll stoppers.
  • Scrolling
    A method of traversing a Web page wherein users either roll the scroll wheel on their mouse, or manually move the scroll bar located on the right side of their browser's screen.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    Techniques used to improve website positioning (ranking) on the web's search engines. The specific goal is to have the site listed among the first results for searches on particular keywords.
  • Section 508 [see also 508]
    Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. To learn more go to 508.gov.
  • Semantics
    Semantics is a term used to distinguish the meaning of an instruction from its format. A semantic error occurs when you enter a legal command that does not make sense in the current context. To reduce error, provide semantic hints. Example of a semantic hint: Use AND to retrieve a smaller set of records in which both of the search terms are present. Use OR to retrieve a larger number of records; OR is commonly used to search for synonymous terms or concepts.
  • Sequence error
    An error that occurs should a user attempt to complete an ordered task out of the defined sequence.
  • Sequential flow
    Where information flows or proceeds in a logical sequence. For example: alphabetically, chronologically or from general to specific.
  • Serif
    A projection off of the stroke of a character
  • Server-side (image map)
    Occurring on the server side of a client-server system. For example, on the Web, CGI scripts are server-side applications because they run on the Web server. In contrast, JavaScript scripts are client-side because they are executed by the browser (the client). Java applets can be either server-side or client-side depending on which computer (the server or the client) executes them.
  • Signal/noise ratio
    The proportion of strong messaging (signal) with extraneous information (noise)
  • Similarity
    Perception that elements of the same size, shape or color belong together
  • Simultaneous menus
    Menus that simultaneously display choices from multiple levels in the menu hierarchy, providing users with the ability to make menu choices in any order.
  • Site map
    A clickable, graphic- or text-based display of a Web site's hierarchy.
  • Skip Navigation / Skip Logic
    Allows you to create custom paths based on previous actions or answers
  • Split site studies
    Creating two versions of the same website and testing them against each other
  • Statement of work (SOW)
    A contract document that states work activities and tasks used for project planning and management
  • Static menus
    Menus that always shows the same choices
  • Storyboard
    A visual representation of how a user will interact with an application or interface.
  • Style sheet
    A set of statements that specify presentation of a document. Style sheets may have three different origins: they may be written by content providers, created by users, or built into browsers or plug-ins.
  • Survey or questionnaire
    Questionnaires sent out to target audiences to collect data from individuals about certain topics or experiences
  • Syntax
    The formatting rules tht aaddress the spelling of language components and the rules controlling how components should be combined. A syntax error occurs if you misspell a command, use inappropriate grammar, capitalization, etc. To reduce error, provide syntactic hints. Example of a syntactic hint: "Enter search terms separated by AND, OR, NOT, and/or enclose terms in double quotes to specify your search." "All operators must be capitalized."
  • System Usability Scale (SUS)
    SUS is a technology independent ten item scale for subjective evaluation of the usability.