Glossary of common terminology

This page provides definitions for standard terminology used in the discussion of visual system creation.

Typographic fonts which contain signs, symbols and pictograms.

Direct manipulation
By pointing at visual representation of objects and actions, users can carry out tasks rapidly and observe the results immediately. Keyboard entry of commands or menu choices is replaced by cursor-motion devices to select from a visible set of objects and actions. [6]

GUI (Graphical User Interface)
The presentation framework of a screen. ) is a graphical (rather than purely textual) user interface to a computer. A GUI is usually a more ergonomically satisfying or user-friendly interface to a computer system. []

The semiotic definition is where the sign relates to its object in some resemblance with it, e.g. a photograph. [3]) For additional details see the
Definition section.

A user interface, consisting of the set of dials, knobs, operating system commands, graphical display formats, and other devices provided by a computer or a program to allow the user to communicate and use the computer or program. See also GUI. []

In a Web-style design, a page is the span of information that can be viewed in a window. [5]

From "picto" meaning picture and "-gram" meaning message. [4]

Something that stands for something else. Used by semioticians as an all-encompassing or all-inclusive term. Symbols, icons, myths, texts, etc. are all signs or systems of signs. In other words, sign is used as an umbrella term - a term under which a host of subtypes huddle. [3]

a component of a sign:  signified is the thing or idea it represents. Much of the literary criticism (linguistics) of the last twenty-five years has focused on the relationship between the signifier and signified, and therefore on the very nature of meaning. [1]

a components of a sign: the signifier, to put it simply, is the word. Signifiers needn't be confined to words; they can include any system of representation, including drawings, traffic lights, body language, and so on. [1]

There are several definitions of symbols among semioticians, the most prevalent is where the sign relates to its object by means of conventions alone, e.g. a word, a flag. [3]

Web Page
A collection of information or Web resources, intended to be rendered simultaneously, and identified by a single uniform resource identifier, or URI. [2]

Web Site
A collection of interlined Web pages, including a host page, residing at the same network location. [2]


Additional Resources:


References on this pageSources:

  1. Glossary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms
  2. The Industry Standard, March 6, 2000, pg. 174
  3. Colapietro, Vincent. Glossary of Semiotics,  pg. 180
  4. Pierce, Todd. The International Pictograms Standard, pg. 3
  5. Microsoft User Experience Guide 0e.htm
  6. Shneiderman, Ben. Designing the User Interface, pg. 72


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