Deconstructing Buzzwords

Communicating in plain English is an important part of our mission to take a much more minimal approach towards Business Development, so I thought it would be useful to explain and deconstruct some of the popular phrases and buzzwords on the Internet.

As I did my research on widely used industry related jargon, I realised that it would be impossible to cover it all in this month's post, but I will do my best to clarify the terms we come across most often, and perhaps we can add to the list as we find more new and/or confusing tendencies.

While we do believe that it is not possible to progress in the Digital Industry without keeping up to date with the latest trends, we also think it's probably sensible to accept that most of the buzzwords are just that; popular or fashionable words that describe processes or technologies you already know.

Before I deliver, what turned out to be a somewhat lengthy directory of definitions, I will leave you with a few wise words from Humpty Dumpty and Alice;

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
(Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, 1871)

A/B Testing is a design strategy that tests different versions of an idea or product and compares which is more effective. It is also often used in big Inbound Marketing campaigns.

Agile Software Development is described on Wikipedia as a set of principles for Software Development in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. Agile itself has never defined any specific methods to achieve this and the short description would be that it is an Adaptive Development Process, which is pretty important for any Custom System Development.

Ajax is a is a set of Web Development Techniques using many Web Technologies on the client-side to create asynchronous Web Applications. With Ajax, Web Applications can send data to and retrieve from a server asynchronously (in the background) without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page. In other words Ajax allows Web Pages to change content dynamically without the need to reload the entire page. Ajax is not a technology, but a group of technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Algorithm: In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a self-contained step-by-step set of operations to be performed. Algorithms perform calculation, data processing, and/or automated reasoning tasks. Google uses an algorithm called PageRank to rank websites in their search engine results. PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to autonomous intelligent behavior of software or machines that have a human-like ability to make autonomous decisions and to improve over time by learning from experience. Currently popular approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence and traditional symbolic AI.

Big Data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy.

Bleeding Edge Technology is a category of technologies so new that they could have a high risk of being unreliable and lead adopters to incur greater expense in order to make use of them, so in our experience these technologies do not conform to our lean, effective and efficient ethos very often and we usually steer clear of them.

A Blog is a discussion or informational site published on the Internet, consisting of entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order. You may think of it as your online diary of topics you'd like to share and discuss with the world.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language - usually in HTML - to set the visual style of web pages and user interfaces for many mobile applications.

Cloud Computing, also known as On-Demand Computing, is a kind of Internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services).

A Code Ninja is supposed to be someone who has excellent knowledge in many programming languages and we think real Ninjas are great, but we prefer terms like Programmer and Software Developer etc.

Content Management (CM), is a set of processes and technologies that supports the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium. When stored and accessed via computers, this information may be more specifically referred to as digital content and in our Industry usually takes the form of text, photos, audio and video for Web Applications.

A Content Management System (CMS) is a computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content using a common user interface and thus usually supporting multiple users working in a collaborative environment. Numerous Commercial Content Management Systems are available e.g. CS Cart, Joomla and WordPress, but we have also developed many Custom Content Management Systems over the years and this will always be our preference.

Content Marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers, usually by focussing on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company's interaction with current and future customers. The CRM approach tries to analyze data in order to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on retaining customers in order to drive sales. Through the systems used to facilitate CRM, businesses learn more about their target audiences and how to best cater to their needs.

Deep Learning is one of the new big trends for 2016. It promises more powerful and fast machine learning, moving us one step closer to Artificial Intelligence. This refers to where neural networks create a system of interconnected layers with each subsequent layer acting as a filter for more and more complex features that combine those of the previous layer. This feature hierarchy and the filters which model significance in the data, make it possible for the layers to learn from experience. Thus deep nets can crunch unstructured data that was previously not available for unsupervised analysis.

Data Mining is the practice of sorting through large data sets to identify patterns and establish relationships. Often used to gain deep understanding of users of a product or a service.

A Framework in the Software Industry is a reusable set of libraries or classes for a software system for example an Application Framework is used to implement the standard structure of an application for a specific operating system and a Web Application Framework is used for development of dynamic websites, web applications, and web services.

Gamification is the concept of adding game elements to software or processes to make them more fun. The intention is good but we're not so sure.

HTML5 is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the Internet. It is the 5th and current version of the HTML standard. HyperText Markup Language, commonly abbreviated as HTML, is the standard markup language used to create web pages. Web browsers can read HTML files and render them into visible or audible web pages.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects-devices, vehicles, buildings and other items-embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems; for example connecting a wireless speaker to your mobile phone via Bluetooth to listen to music, or connecting your mobile phone to your car to do hands free calling.

JavaScript is a high-level, dynamic and interpreted programming language which has been standardized alongside HTML and CSS as one of the three core technologies of Web Content Production. The majority of websites employ it and it is supported by all modern Web Browsers without plug-ins. JavaScript is prototype-based with first-class functions, making it a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.

Machine Learning is a set of techniques used to design and construct algorithms that adapt based on data and make predictions based on it.

A Mashup is a Web Page or Web Application that uses content from more than one source to create a single new service displayed in a single Graphical Interface. For example, a user could combine the addresses and photographs of their library branches with a Google map to create a map mashup.

Millennials are people who are tech savvy, cool and born in the '80s or '90s and companies often want to focus their Marketing on this general age group.

Mobilegeddon: On 21st April 2015 Google released a new algorithm that favors mobile-friendly pages in its mobile search results ranking and as a result of this update, there was an immediate increase in mobile friendly sites, because so many webmasters were finally incented to make their sites mobile friendly.

Net Neutrality/Encryption means that Internet Service Providers should provide us with open networks - and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that is sent via these networks. Net Neutrality is the Internet's guiding principle, without which cable and phone companies could 'divide' the Internet into fast and slow lanes. One Internet service provider could slow down its competitors' content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could apply preferential treatment to some companies, whereas charge extra fees to other.

A Podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio, video, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded automatically through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience-easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling-across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors, laptops, tablets and mobile phones). We are very serious about making sure that all our websites and applications are truly responsive.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. SVG images and their behaviors are defined in XML text files, which means that they can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed. As XML files, SVG images can be created and edited with any text editor, but are more often created with drawing software. All major modern web browsers-including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari-have at least some degree of SVG rendering support and SVGs are widely used in Responsive Web Design.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a Web Page in a Web Search Engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results. In general, the higher and more frequently a web page ranks on the search results page, the more visitors (and potential customers) it will receive.

Smart Factory/Industry 4.0 is the factory of the future which will be a merger of IT and manufacturing. Machines will be interconnected and intelligent, and thanks to software applications will make use data to make smart, timely and data-driven decisions.

Storytelling is similar to Content Marketing and refers to creating narratives in a diverse range of content types.

The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), also referred to as the Application Development Life Cycle, is a term used in to describe the process for planning, creating, testing, and deploying an information system, in other words describing a project from start to finish.

User-Generated Content (UGC) is defined as any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via Social Media websites. UGC may be monitored by website administrators to avoid offensive content or language, copyright infringement issues, or simply to determine if the content posted is relevant to the site's general theme.

User Interface Design (UI) focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions.

User Experience Design (UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.

Vector Graphics is the use of polygons to represent images in computer graphics and are based on vectors, which lead through locations called control points or nodes. Each of these points has a definite position on the x and y axes of the work plane and determines the direction of the path; further, each path may be assigned various attributes, including, but not limited to, such values as stroke color, shape, curve, thickness, and fill.

Viral Marketing, Viral Advertising, or Marketing Buzz refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing Social Networking Services and other technologies to try to produce increases in brand awareness e.g. Videos that go viral on YouTube.

Web 2.0 describes Websites that emphasize user-generated content, usability, and interoperability. A Web 2.0 site may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to Websites where people are limited to the passive viewing of content. Examples of Web 2.0 include Social Networking sites, Blogs, Wikis, Folksonomies, Video Sharing sites, Hosted Services, Web Applications, and Mashups.

Quantum Computing is a rising technology buzzword and in general quantum computers can solve much more complex problems than classical electronic computers by using quantum bits (qubits) instead of binary digits (bits). This means that the data doesn't have to be limited to 2 defined states any more: 0 or 1. For this reason quantum computing is much more flexible by allowing computations to be performed in parallel.

Please let us know if you want more buzzwords deconstructed.

We found most of our definitions here on Wikipedia, but also found a lot of useful information on the following blogs:

All photos are courtesy of the awesome Ryan McGuire at Gratisography.

Jeri Limited is committed to Bespoke Software Development and will always aim to create effective business solutions that are intuitive and easy to use.