Compendium of Design

We slave to decode the vernacular of design
Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)


Term Main definition
Workplace environmental factors
These factors can be considered to maximise performance of a user in a role and reduce the risk of accidents. They can be categorised as:
Unit of Measure
A divisional system or standard used to measure lenght height depth volume or area. Metric units of measure include millimetres centimetres metres. Imperial units of measure include inches feet yards.
Synonyms - Unit of Measurement mm cm m inch feet
Two Dimensional
A surface or plane having only two measurements ie. width and length.
Synonyms - 2D 2-dimensional
Timber Plane
A woodworking tool that removes wood to create a flat surface.
Synonyms - Wood Plane
Three Dimensional
A form or object with three measureable dimensions ie. Width depth and height.
Synonyms - 3D 3-Dimensional
A line, edge or thickness that gradually increases or decreases in size.
Style Board
A Collection of images gathered onto a presentation board or digital projection to help clarify and communicate aspects of research in response to the given design brief. This usually includes influences (historic or contemporary) elements and principals of design fashion trends etc. of the yet-undesigned product.
Synonyms - Mood Board Theme Board
Structural data
Refers to measurements taken while the subject is in a fixed or standard position, e.g. height, arm length.
Static data
Human body measurements when the subject is still.
Secondary data
Data collected by someone other than the user.
  1. The strategic and methodical investigation into and study of information and sources in order to be inspired
  2. Establish new facts
  3. Reach new conclusions
A range that a person can stretch to touch or grasp an object from a specified position.
Ratio data scale
A ratio scale allows you to compare differences between numbers. For example, use a rating scale of 1-10 to evaluate user responses.
Range of sizes
A selection of sizes a product is made in that caters for the majority of a market.
Quantitative data
Data that can be measured and recorded using numbers. Examples include height, shoe size, and fingernail length.
Qualitative data
Typically descriptive data used to find out in depth the way people think or feel - their perception. Useful for research at the individual or small (focus) group level.

The ability of a design solution to fulfil or respond to a genuine need in a way that addresses a client or user's needs.

Synonyms - Design Purpose
Psychological factor data
Human factor data related to psychological interpretations caused by light, smell, sound, taste, temperature and texture.
Product Design Specifications

The essential identification and definition of what design factors a product or environment is required to provide or respond to.

Synonyms - PDS
Primary data
Data collected by a user for a specific purpose.
A flat continual or infinite surface. eg. a horizontal plane.
Synonyms - Drawing Plane Drawing Planes Planes
Physiological factor data
Human factor data related to physical characteristics used to optimise the user's safety, health, comfort and performance
The way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
Percentile range
That proportion of a population with a dimension at or less than a given value. For a given demographic (gender, race, age), the 50th percentile is the average.
Ordinal data
A statistical data type that exists on an arbitrary numerical scale where the exact numerical value has no significance other than to rank a set of data points. Deals with the order or position of items such as words, letters, symbols or numbers arranged in a hierarchical order. Quantitative assessment cannot be made.
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