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Tomato, Tomahto

Jun 24 '16

When building websites there is always a point in time when some form of this conversation comes up between developers and designers:

"How's that thing with the slash supposed to work? 

"Which thing? The module from the article page?"

"Not the module, the component that displays the text"

"Ohhh, yeah, that tile should expand 50px when clicked, and then..."

...and so on.

The devil, as always, is in these details, but how easy it is to get to the answer of a question like this largely depends on the individuals involved, and the vocabulary they have at their disposal. Modules, components, panels, tiles, bands, beans, nodes...all could mean the same thing, or not at all. 

Each team member comes to TAG with varied and valuable experience—a big reason why our group is so strong—but a byproduct of that spice we call variety is the subtle differences in tech vernacular that come through the door. Some folks were CS majors, some were English majors...some know CMS systems well (which have their own vocabulary) and for some, a CMS is brand new. This is further compounded by our design and UX team, who use a variety of atomic design terms (modular modules, anyone?), but often inconsistently.

All of which is to say, it was amazing to hear the other day while on in a meeting with James and Dan from the TAG team, that they are working on a glossary of sorts to help everyone get comfortable with the same terminology. During that discussion we had to unravel a nuanced difference between what one spreadsheet was calling a "component" and what Dan was referring to as a "field," and it was time lost that could have easily been avoided.

I highly recommend this exercise for all dev and design teams, especially if you work in systems (like Drupal, Wordpress, Magento, etc) that have their own (often duplicative) language. As we finish up The TAG Glossary, we'll be sure to share.