iA / Dictionary / C
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

California: Mythical place whose inhabitants consciously or unconsciously work for the Advertisement industry. Californians drink the finest coffee and only eat Cucumber Sandwiches. Californians are positive, healthy and live in a perfect work/life balance while obsessing over death (aka “Exit”) and working relentlessly towards burnout. Californians, especially San Franciscans, are paid high salaries to cope with the rent of their tiny apartments. To an outsider, the streets of California appear to be overwhelmed by armies of homeless people struggling to survive, but all Text depends on Context.

Capolavoro: Italian for “masterwork.” The highest form of praise for a perfect Design. Often used in a humorous but heartfelt context, and commonly spoken with southern Italian pronunciation: “capulavo!” or “gabulavor!”

CMS: Content Management System. Source of laughter and tears. Often used as a euphemism for Wordpress by clients, which itself is a euphemism for “I don’t want to pay for technology.” Using a CMS (aka Wordpress) for the wrong purpose often leads to a CMS in a CMS. A common misunderstanding with CMS is when a Content Management System replaces Content Management. Systems facilitate management. They do not replace it.

CMS in a CMS: A futile attempt to use a CMS against its purpose or to build core technology that deals with key deficiencies of a CMS. Sometimes CMS in a CMS describes the efforts of a junior who fantasizes about reinventing the CMS and making it “really easy.”

Cold and Exposed: The state of a small dressing cabin for people who cycle to work, installed in our Zurich office’s storage area. It’s cold in winter and exposed because our office neighbors who are Real Architects like to spend most of their time there. Cold and exposed also symbolically represents exaggerated expectations towards workplace amenities fostered by Californian startup culture. Example: “I was expecting color balls, slides and free M&Ms, but you just left me sitting in an ergonomic chair, cold and exposed.”

Conference: The expression “heard at a conference” or “they say at conferences” is used for a Design method that sounds good in theory but leads to no useful results in practice. The exclamation “Conferences!” suggests that the more you attend conferences the better you speak and the less you’ll know what you are talking about—since you have no time to get work done. In theory you may gain business through a conference. However, as your service degrades you’ll lose your main source of revenue: recurring business from a happy client, which includes introductions from your first client to another. Several techniques help deal with the conundrum. For example, you can repeat and perfect the same speech, or limit your speeches to a handful of venues within driving distance. But they all run counter to the dream of being able to live off acting like a design genius without actually working. There are nevertheless a few conferences that you should attend because they are fun. Most conferences are not, because they precede the time where web design agency business was still a serious business and design conferences met an industrial need.

Container: Container-based information architecture appears simple at first but is also the most difficult discipline in our craft. Its theory is broad and spiked with hairy contextual exceptions. No one fully masters or understands the magic behind it. A container generally consists of a self-sufficient block of content that a) spans the full width of a page b) is useable on more than one page c) scales responsively. The rules of container-based information architecture can be learned and improved through practice over years. The benefits of container-based IA for structure, responsiveness, content strategy and Design flexibility are obvious and can be proven quite easily. But, just like logic, the deeper metaphysics of container-based information architecture can never be fully understood. The hardest part in container-based IA is usually the home page.

Context: Context is information that surrounds text. Context defines text. Moving from text to context and back clarifies the meaning of a text. Even though they are two distinct words, the exact Threshold between text and context is not always clear. The way you move between text and context defines a core element of an information system’s Information Architecture and thus the Interface. Certain interfaces improve access to context, like Wikipedia. Others, like X, prefer tight framing which is an ideal architecture for ideologues and Trolls.

Copy of Copy: A page naming system used by Axure, the prototyping tool. When you duplicate a page named “Page 1”, the resulting page would automatically be named “Copy of Page 1”. The duplicate of this would be named “Copy of Copy of Page 1”. This system led to the iA expression “Let’s copy of!” as an invitation to rapidly iterate an idea.

Crisp: Another word for slick design that just feels right, sits in place, is held firmly together. Crisp work looks like the Real thing. One may argue that Crisp belongs to the category of design words that Hit the Ground Running as Sexy, fresh, or, if you speak German, “frech”. Handle with care. Use the word freely amongst friends and colleagues, but never use it to explain your design.

Cucumber Sandwich: Symbolizes an over-the-top approach to healthy living. “He just had one of his delicious cucumber sandwiches” describes a techie who bragged about his healthy living. Implicitly makes fun of the California lifestyle.