Quasi Glossary!

Real glossaries are probably best written by professionals, so I’ll do my best to highlight some of the most used words you might hear in a room full of regular people who know a thing or two about technology, discussing technology. This page is a CROWDSOURCED work in progress. If you’d like to add something, send me a note.

Apps
Of the many ways to understand what an app is, one way is to think of a smartphone app as a mini version of a site that is (a) not accessed through a web browser, (b) gives you the ability to perform common functions of the site and (c) accessed on the go, meaning not accessed on a desktop or laptop (in most cases). You might think of an app as limited or basic – I call them pared down. For example, on the WordPress app, you can add, edit, delete, upload images – all from your phone, tablet or hybrid, and most importantly without a browser launch. So you can do nearly everything via app the same as you can via browser. In many cases, using an app is faster than a browser. A person who makes and improves apps is known as a developer.

(Not to confuse you, but in desktop lingo, a desktop application normally refers to a program designed for daily heavy use such as Microsoft Word. In desktop lingo, a desktop application is almost never called an “app” – Instead, it’s almost always called an application, its correct term – but they’re called programs too, which is completely accurate and fine to say. With that said, please read the next paragraph! You didn’t think this was over, did you?)

Web-based apps, as explained by Google, are designed to be used entirely within a browser. You can do stuff like create documents, edit photos, and listen to music, without having to install complicated software. These days, websites are capable of dynamic functionality that you’d expect to get from desktop applications on your computer. Robust sites have web apps and if you use services like Gmail or Google Maps, you’re already using apps. Click here to see a great explanation video from Google on what a web app really is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB5KFJULahs Here’s an app news article I found about something new going on with Chrome apps. Click here.

SEO
An acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” Simply put, SEO consists of anything you do to improve your rankings on the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). Everyone wants to be found on the first page of search engine results — but that isn’t possible. That is where SEO comes in — doing what you can to get your website and content found by searchers. (Special thanks to Don Sturgill for this definition)

Negative SEO
Blackhat linking tactics and other tactics maliciously undertaken by your competitors to get your website penalized or knocked off the top spots in Google. (Special thanks to Nick Fettiplace for helping with this definition)

SERP
An acronym for “Search Engine Results Pages.” When you enter a word or phrase into the query box on a search engine, the resultant search can return thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of results. Those sites that “rank high on the SERP” for a given query are more likely to receive visits from searchers than those who are buried deep in the results. That is where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes in — doing what you can to get your web property found by searchers by getting it as close as possible to the top of the SERP. (Special thanks to Don Sturgill for this definition)

UI
User interface refers to the way a site looks to the human eye, and its layout, including where to click and find what you need. Same is true for the way an OS or an app looks – including layout. All of that is UI.

UX
Simply means “user experience”. UX refers to all human interaction with a UI. The letters “UX”, written alongside users’ comments articulating gut feelings, reactions, praise or critiques on usability/flaws/general site behavior, etc., etc. are usually seen where comments and discussions are encouraged (including Twitter and especially on Google Plus). Don’t be scared – it’s nothing esoteric. It simply means “user experience.”  One of the crucial goals for a developer is to create a superb UI for a great UX.

Widgets  (special thanks to arstechnica.com) provide a portion of an app’s functionality on Android screens, allowing you the option of a cuter,  better, quicker UX (matters of opinion, of course). How so? Mostly because we Android users can see real-time updates with a simple glance and it results in less touching or no touching at all. In most cases we can manipulate the widgetized app in limited ways. Example: Using widgets on the Nexus 7, you can scroll through recent e-mails, read their subject lines, see upcoming appointments on the calendar, etc. Or, you can check weather without actually pressing the actual weather app. 

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