is archived and no longer updated

External links may not function and information on the site may be out of date. Visit for current information.


  • Captioning
    The art of adding captions to a television program or movie.
  • Captions
    A textual representation of sounds--usually associated with television programming or movies; captions are meant to display in real time and to capture speech sounds and sounds beyond speech in some cases.
  • Card sorting or Card sort
    A method used to identify categories that are inherent in a set of items. The goal of card sorting is to understand how a typical user views a given set of items. Card sorting can be done manually by writing items on individual paper cards, and then asking users to group together similar cards. This also can be done using many different software systems. The grouping information from all card sorters is then combined and analyzed using cluster analysis software. See Also Open & Closed Card Sort
  • Cascading menu
    A menu structure where submenus open when the user selects a choice from a menu. Cascading menus are particularly useful in hierarchically-complex Web sites.
  • Cascading style sheets (CSS)
    Code that defines how to display HTML elements in externalstyle sheets that enable you to change the appearance and layout of all the pages in a Web site by editing one single file.
  • Case Study
    Analysis of a group, person or event to explore causation or determine underlying principles.
  • Check box
    A control element that a user can click to turn an option on or off. When the option is on, an X or 3 appears in the box. Check boxes are conventionally used when users may select one or more items from a list of items.
  • Clickability cues
    A visual indication that a given word or item on a Web page is clickable. Cues that can be used to indicate the clickability of an item include color, underlining, bullets, and arrows.
  • Client-side
    Occurring on the client side of a client-server system. JavaScript scripts are client-side because they are executed by the user's browser (the client). In contrast, CGI scripts are server-side because they run on the Web server.
  • Closed Card Sort
    A card sort exercise where participants are grouping content topics or "cards" into predefined categories. [See Card Sort and Open Card Sort]
  • Cognitive load
    The amount of mental effort it takes to understand something.
  • Cognitive walkthrough
    An inspection method for evaluating the design of a user interface, with special attention to how well the interface supports exploratory learning, i.e., first-time use without formal training. The evaluation is done by having a group of evaluators go step-by-step through commonly used tasks. It can be performed by evaluators in the early stages of design, before performance testing is possible.
  • Collaborative design
    Inviting end users to work with designers and researchers to provide and feedback on design ideas.
  • Color depth
    How many colors a computer screen can display, based on the number of bits per pixel.
  • Competitor analysis
    An assessment of the relative strengths or weaknesses of competitor products or organizations.
  • Concept testing
    A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of gathering user responses to a new product.
  • Confirmation bias
    Selective thinking in which one has the tendency to search for or interpret information that coincides with their existing beliefs or ideas.
  • Connection speed
    The maximum rate at which Web pages are downloaded to a user's computer. Connection speed is often quoted in bps (bits per second). Common connection speeds include dial-up (modem) at 56,000 bps, DSL/cable at 500,000 bps or higher, and T1 at 1,500,000 bps or higher.
  • Content page
    A Web page designed to convey specific information to a user. Content pages are often found two or three clicks deep within a Web site. The defining characteristic of a content page is a reliance on text, graphics, and pictures that are designed to convey information on a given subject to users.
  • Context effect
    The influence that environmental factors have on users' perception of a stimulus.
  • Context of use analysis
    A method for determining the salient characteristics of an application by collecting and analyzing detailed information about the intended users, their tasks, and the technical and environmental constraints.
  • Contextual inquiry
    A research study that observes how users interact with equipment and interfaces in their own environment.
  • Continuous text
    In a Web context, continuous text comprises sentences and paragraphs. See also Prose Text.
  • Conversion rate
    Percentage of visitors that complete a targeted transaction online
  • Corridor testing
    Informal or ad hoc test or solicitation to gain quick user feedback or data
  • Critical Incident Technique (CIT)
    A method of gathering facts (incidents) from domain experts or less experienced users of the existing system identify possible sources of serious user-system or interface difficulties
  • Cross check (cross-validation)
    Quality assurance technique that compares two or more field inputs.