As an experienced design and development agency, digital jargon is embedded in our daily narrative. From acronyms to application languages, we use digital language with a shared understanding across the team. We’re aware, though, that many of our clients aren’t familiar with all digital terms and that we work a little differently to most other digital agencies!
With this in mind, we’ve put together a digital jargon guide to demystify some of the typical techy terms you may hear when discussing a digital project with the DD team.
Sure, you’ve probably heard the term ‘agile’ within your workplace, but do you know what it actually means in practice? In the wider world of digital, people often use the word ‘agile’ to describe a particular aspect of project management. At Digital Detox, we think differently - to us, agile is something you ARE as a company, not just something you DO.
It refers to the structure, culture, mindset, tools and ways of working that allow a company to respond to changing customer needs. It also reflects an approach to project delivery that is based on continuous, incremental change rather than mass long-term projects or heavily documented workflows. It’s a low risk, high value approach that has become part of our DNA here at DD.
2. Sustainable development
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The Brundtland Report.
The UN has shared its list of sustainable development goals, which cover multiple initiatives we can all undertake to build a better, more sustainable world. At Digital Detox, we use these principles as a guide for the way we think and act at a personal and professional level.
From a technology perspective, sustainable development refers to our processes, practices and tools - all of which are aimed at minimising any negative impact on the planet and making a genuine and tangible difference to others.
For us, sustainable development is all about designing and building products in an ethical way, with a direct focus on how what’s delivered will impact people and the planet. It is also reflected in the way companies set and measure KPIs (i.e. ‘commercial and business’ versus ‘people and planet’).
It’s evident too in the shelf life of the technology that’s built too. For example, at Digital Detox we try to use reusable components and open source development that can be added to, amended and enhanced at any time in the future.
3. Digital pollution
In a similar vein to the topic of sustainable development is the term ‘digital pollution’. This is a phrase that often leads to jaws dropping and mouths gaping when we share it with our clients.
It makes sense when we explain that every email you send or every time you visit a website on your laptop, you require electricity to power your device and a Wifi connection to retrieve the content. This uses energy, which creates carbon and that in turn contributes to your carbon footprint. So, in addition to the pollution in the air caused by air travel, smelly factories and non recyclable waste, there is a digital equivalent, which is having a significant and negative impact on the environment.
Our goal is to raise awareness of the term ‘digital pollution’, so it becomes less jargon and more everyday language - perhaps more business leaders will take note and focus their efforts on trying to minimise its impact.
4. AI technology
Artificial intelligence at Digital Detox, or AI for short, is not, we repeat not, related to the 1982 Spielberg blockbuster E.T.
In fact, AI technology is often a case of buzzword bingo – many businesses, both big and small, refer to using AI in some shape or form because it shows that they are innovative or technologically savvy. The truth is, using AI technology is not always necessary. We believe in using technology only when it delivers purpose and value to our clients. AI is a fantastic resource and can provide incredible opportunities, but only when it’s used correctly.
We’re exploring AI technology for automation, data visualisation and scalable development capabilities for our clients. With access to out-of-the-box software like Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, we’re able to use AI to solve complex problems for clients, quickly, affordably and with little risk to their existing technology stack or web systems.
5. Technology stack
If the term ‘stack’ conjures up images of American style pancakes drenched in maple syrup, you’re not alone. For us though, the term ‘technology stack’ refers to the collection of technologies, software and tools we use to create apps, websites, digital user journeys for our clients.
We often talk about ‘full stack development’, which is a way of saying we can cover the front-end (bits you can see on screen) and the back-end (bits in the background) that bring a web application to life.
Some agencies only cover the front-end or back-end but we do both, so clients can trust us to create a safe, scalable and user friendly technology stack to help them meet user needs or overcome a particular challenge.
6. User journey
As a digital design agency, we talk about user journeys a lot. When we design something for a client, we do a lot of research to understand what users want, what the competition is up to and where existing, similar products or services are going wrong.
We then take this information and build a visual prototype that aims to solve problems, meet needs and provide value in a simple and seamless user interface. The user journey reflects the path people take when using a website or application and it’s our job to make sure that journey is as clear and simple as possible.
A prototype can take many forms. Sometimes it can be as simple as a clickable Powerpoint slide that shows which elements of the design should be interactive. Other times, a prototype could be a beautiful visual walk-through of a product that allows the user to interact with it as though it were a fully developed website.
But here’s the upside; although a prototype tends to look and behave like a finished piece of development, it’s usually just a simple wireframe brought to life with design and clickable features.
Prototypes are quick to design (if you’re experienced and know what you’re doing), low risk and affordable for clients because they don’t require any development to bring them to life. We create prototypes for clients to help them test out hypotheses about user behaviour, obtain stakeholder buy-in to a concept or for user testing and feedback sessions.
These are a few typical terms you’ll hear when discussing a digital project with Digital Detox and similar agencies. Hopefully our digital jargon buster has provided an introduction into why and how we use technology to make a difference to people and the planet. If you have a challenge, idea or opportunity, we’d love to hear about it! Get in touch to find out more about what we do and how we can help you.