Top 20 Tech Terms Nonprofits Should Know — Entidad’s Glossary

Written by:

Elizabeth Melton

20 minutes

If you're not working in tech day in and day out, the jargon can feel impossible to learn.

There are so many acronyms for everything.

So many well-established workflows and terms you never even knew existed.

People are speaking another language.

The good news? You can learn that language too. To give you a headstart, we've put together a glossary of 20 tech terms every non-profit leader should know. Below, we define each term, explain how to use it in a sentence, and share some additional resources for further learning.

Agile (vs. waterfall)

What is Agile Methodology?

Agile methodology is a project management framework that emphasizes iterative and incremental development, allowing teams to respond promptly to customer feedback and evolving project requirements. It promotes adaptive planning, early delivery, continuous improvement, and collaboration between cross-functional teams.

You may have heard of Atlassian, a popular engineering project management tool, which is built atop agile methodologies.

Further reading: The Secret History of Agile Innovation, HBR

Why is Agile Methodology Important?

Agile processes foster transparency and client involvement throughout the development process. Typically, development teams showcase their progress every two weeks, demoing new functionality to confirm it matches stakeholder requirements. 

By breaking projects into smaller increments, teams can deliver tangible results faster, reducing time-to-market while maintaining customer satisfaction and enhancing product quality.

Its iterative nature and emphasis on customer feedback improve productivity, accelerate time-to-market, and help organizations hit their goals.

Agile vs. Waterfall

Often agile is talked about in relation to waterfall — an older approach to project management.

Waterfall follows a sequential, linear process, where each phase (e.g., requirements gathering, design, development, testing) must be completed before moving to the next.

In contrast, agile methodology embraces an iterative, flexible approach, focusing on delivering value incrementally in the form of user stories. Working on small chunks of development in short timeframes allows for continuous feedback and course correction, making it well-suited for dynamic projects with changing requirements.

Agile methodology is widely applicable across various industries and project types but is particularly effective in software development, where the market demands frequent updates, feature enhancements, and quick turnaround times.

Learn more about agile vs. waterfall in this video:

How to use “agile methodology” in a sentence: "By adopting agile methodology, the software development team achieved higher productivity, delivering valuable features to customers in short iterations while maintaining constant collaboration."

Requirements gathering

What is Requirements Gathering?

Requirements gathering is the process of collecting, analyzing, and documenting the needs, expectations, and constraints of stakeholders for a specific project.

Thorough requirements gathering may involve conducting interviews, workshops, and surveys to elicit and prioritize requirements that serve as the foundation for project planning and execution.

Further reading: 6 Ways to prepare for a digital transformation project, Entidad

Importance of Requirements Gathering

Requirements gathering sets the stage for project success, ensuring a project team and its stakeholders are aligned on project goals, scope, and deliverables.

By understanding end-user needs early on, the project team can make informed decisions, accurately estimate project timelines and costs, and mitigate risks.

Getting all of the necessary information together at the beginning of a project:

  • Sets expectations
  • Minimizes misunderstandings
  • Reduces timeline setbacks
  • Enhances project transparency
  • Increases customer satisfaction
  • Decreases the chances of scope creep

You’re most likely to hear “requirements gathering” in the context of a software implementation, but it can apply to other business process improvements that depend heavily on stakeholder input. 

How to use “requirements gathering” in a sentence: "Thorough requirements gathering allowed the development team to gain a deep understanding of the customer's expectations, resulting in a tailored solution that exceeded their needs."

Watch this video to learn about various requirements gathering techniques:

Low-code (and no-code)

What are Low-Code and No-Code Tools?

Low-code or no-code tools are platforms that enable users with minimal coding experience to build applications and automate processes. Usually, these tools have drag-and-drop interfaces with logic builders, pre-built templates, or easily configurable components, helping users get up and running quickly.

Low-code tools may involve some level of coding, while no-code tools require no coding knowledge at all. These might be especially suitable for a nonprofit team without developers on staff.

Further reading: Freelance Developers, The Tech Talent Shortage, and No-code, Entidad

Why are Low-Code Tools Important?

Low-code and no-code tools are critical in today’s tech landscape.

Why? Because they democratize software development, empowering non-technical users to turn their ideas into reality.

Low and no-code tools bridge the gap between business requirements and technical implementation, reducing dependency on IT teams and expediting the development cycle, which:

  • Fosters innovation
  • Enables rapid prototyping
  • Promotes iterative development (see Agile)
  • Quickens deployment by automating workflows
  • Enhances collaboration between business users and IT professionals
  • Ships more efficient, highly-customized solutions

For nonprofit teams, low-code and no-code tools make web and software development more accessible to a broader audience and drive digital transformation across industries.

Want some inspiration for new low or no-code tools to add to your workflow? Watch this video:

How to use “low-code” in a sentence: 

"Using a low-code platform, the marketing team created a customized customer relationship management (CRM) application without the need for a dedicated development team."

Workflow automation

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation refers to the use of technology to automate manual and repetitive tasks within a business process.

It involves the design, execution, and monitoring of workflows to:

  • Streamline operations
  • Improve accuracy
  • Reduce human intervention

Workflow automation software often utilizes predefined rules, triggers, and integrations to facilitate seamless process execution.

Why is Workflow Automation Important?

Workflow automation is essential for businesses seeking to enhance efficiency and productivity.

By automating routine tasks, organizations can reduce errors, save time, and allocate resources more effectively.

Plus, workflow automation enables seamless collaboration between team members, accelerating decision-making, and increasing overall operational agility. Workflow automation can also improve consistency and ensure compliance with security and privacy regulations.

Check out this video to learn more about how workflow automation works:

Workflow Automation vs. Traditional Methods

Traditional workflows rely on manual, paper-based processes. As you might guess, this can result in:

  • Inefficiencies
  • Delays
  • Higher error rates

By contrast, workflow automation leverages technology to eliminate bottlenecks and automate repetitive tasks, offering greater: 

  • Visibility
  • Traceability
  • Control over business processes

Plus, it allows organizations to achieve faster turnaround times, reduce costs, and improve end-user satisfaction.

Workflow automation is used in many different contexts, from automating invoice approvals to employee onboarding to marketing campaign management to customer support ticket routing. Workflow automation is particularly beneficial in complex and repetitive processes that involve multiple stakeholders.

Further reading: What Nonprofits Should Know About Process Automation, Blackbaud

How to use “workflow automation” in a sentence: "With workflow automation, the finance department was able to reduce invoice processing time by 50%, leading to improved cash flow and greater operational efficiency."


What is a Demo?

In the world of software development, a demo (short for demonstration), is a presentation of a product's features and functionality to potential users, customers, or stakeholders.

Demos can showcase proofs of concept or fully baked products and are conducted in person, remotely, or through pre-recorded videos. They are designed to encourage stakeholder participation and feedback.

Why are demos important?

Demos play a critical role in the product development lifecycle, enabling product teams to validate ideas, gather feedback, and showcase progress.

Demos confer many benefits, including:

  • Identifying user needs and pain points
  • Gathering feedback
  • Keeping the product development cycle on track (see Agile)
  • Validating assumptions
  • Providing opportunities for early-stage customer engagement
  • Generating buzz

Here’s what to expect in a demo:

10 Secrets to Delivering a Great Product Demo, Adobe

4 Best Practices for Sales Demonstration Success, Gartner

How to do a great product demo, Lucidchart

How to use “demo” in a sentence: "We conducted a demo of our new software product to a group of potential investors, and the positive feedback we received helped us secure funding to continue development."


What is a Query?

A query is a command or request made to a database or dataset to retrieve specific information.

Often, a query will have specific criteria and conditions for data retrieval, such as no null values or data contained in a certain table. Queries can range from simple requests for specific data to complex operations involving multiple tables and conditions.

Learn basic SQL in 15 minutes with Vitamin BI:

Why are Queries Important? 

Queries are the backbone of data analysis.

They help you extract valuable insights and information from vast amounts of data you collect, perform calculations, filter results, and generate reports. Overall, queries enable efficient data retrieval and analysis, empowering organizations to make data-driven decisions and gain actionable insights.

In traditional data retrieval methods, accessing specific data required manual sorting, filtering, and analysis — think Dewey Decimals. Modern database queries provide a structured and efficient way to retrieve data based on rules written in a coding language like SQL or Python.

Developers and business analysts are typically the people in an organization that query data the most — often on a different department’s behalf. But some no-code tools have prebuilt queries to get non-technical users familiar with how to generate the data they want and need.

How to use “query” in a sentence: "The analyst used a query to retrieve customer data based on purchase history, allowing them to identify target segments for a new marketing campaign."


What is UAT (User Acceptance Testing)?

UAT, or User Acceptance Testing, is the final phase of software testing before a product is released to end users.

In UAT, folks who will be using the product will test:

  • Software functionality against predefined user requirements (see Requirements Gathering)
  • Usability (See UI)
  • Overall user experience (See UX)

Often, testers will work off of test scripts that reflect feature acceptance criteria and pass or fail each step and take notes on their observations. 

Further reading: What Is User Acceptance Testing (UAT)? How to Gather User Insights, G2

Watch this 8-minute video to learn the basics of UAT:

Why is UAT Important?

UAT is crucial for validating that a software system meets the needs and expectations of end-users.

By involving users in the testing process, organizations can identify any issues or gaps in the software's functionality or usability before Go Live. UAT helps ensure a high level of user satisfaction, increases confidence in the software's performance, and reduces the risk of post-release issues.

While other testing phases like “unit testing” or “performance testing” validate the internal functionality and performance of the software, UAT is specifically designed to assess user satisfaction, usability, and overall acceptance of the product.

UAT is typically conducted in a controlled environment that closely mimics the actual user environment. It involves real end-users (or their representatives) performing predefined test scenarios, providing feedback, and reporting any issues.

How to use “UAT” in a sentence: "During UAT, the end-users thoroughly tested the new e-commerce platform to ensure it met their requirements and provided a seamless shopping experience."


What is DAU (Daily Active Users/Monthly Active Users)?

DAU, short for Daily Active Users, is a metric commonly used in the digital and software industries to measure user engagement and retention.

DAU represents the number of unique users who actively engage with a product or service on a daily basis. You may also see the abbreviation MAU, which stands for Monthly Active Users.

Further reading: You’re Measuring Daily Active Users Wrong, Amplitude

Why is DAU Important?

DAU and MAU reflect the stickiness and ongoing usage of a product, providing insights into user engagement, product adoption, and retention.

By tracking DAU, organizations can:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of their product or service
    Identify trends
  • Make data-driven decisions to improve user experiences
  • Drive growth
  • Retain their user base

And by analyzing the ratio of DAU to MAU, businesses can determine the level of user engagement and the stickiness of their product over time. A high DAU/MAU ratio indicates strong user engagement and retention.

Watch this breakdown of MAU from AppsFlyer:

How to use “DAU” in a sentence: "The social media app boasts impressive DAU ratios, indicating high user engagement and long-term retention."


What is an ICP?

ICP stands for Ideal Customer Profile, a term used to define the characteristics and attributes of the most desirable customers for a business. ICPs are detailed descriptions of the characteristics, traits, and attributes that define the most suitable and valuable customers for a business.

ICPs may take into consideration factors such as industry, company size, demographics, pain points, and buying behaviors. ICP helps businesses identify and prioritize the target audience that is most likely to benefit from their products or services. Putting together an ICP helps companies identify and target the right audience, increasing the effectiveness of their campaigns.

In the nonprofit world, ideal community member profiles or ideal donor profiles may be more relevant. 

Learn how to create an ideal customer profile:

Why is an ICP important?

By clearly defining the ideal customer, companies can tailor their messaging, marketing campaigns, and sales strategies to resonate with the specific needs and preferences of their target audience. ICP helps improve lead generation, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction.

ICPs are particularly relevant for organizations with a diverse customer base or operating in highly competitive markets. They help organizations narrow their target audience, optimize marketing strategies, and allocate resources effectively by prioritizing customers most likely to benefit from the products or services offered.

Getting extra specific with an ideal community member profile or ideal donor profile can result in more customized software solutions, better overall member outcomes, higher member satisfaction, and increased average donation size.

Further reading: Knowing Your Audience as a Nonprofit Organization, NONPROFITMEGAPHONE

How to use “ICP” in a sentence: "The marketing team developed a comprehensive ICP to guide their campaign targeting efforts and ensure they reach the most relevant audience."


What is NPS?

NPS, short for Net Promoter Score, is a widely used framework for measuring customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Typically, NPS is based on one survey question: "On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?"

Respondents are categorized into three groups: Promoters (9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (0-6). The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.

Further reading: What Is a Good Net Promoter Score?, HubSpot

Why is NPS important?

NPS is important for businesses as it provides a clear measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction. It allows companies to identify areas for improvement, track customer sentiment over time, and benchmark themselves against competitors. NPS is a valuable tool for understanding the overall customer experience and driving customer-centric strategies.

NPS is commonly used across industries to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction. It can be applied to various touchpoints in the customer journey, including after-purchase surveys, support interactions, or overall brand perception. By collecting NPS data and analyzing the feedback, businesses can identify areas of improvement, prioritize initiatives, and enhance the customer experience.

NPS vs. Traditional Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Unlike traditional customer satisfaction surveys that may involve complex questionnaires, NPS focuses on a single, straightforward question. This simplicity makes it easy for customers to provide feedback and for businesses to calculate and track the NPS over time. NPS also correlates with business growth and profitability, making it a valuable metric for assessing customer loyalty.

At the same time, NPS doesn’t give much detail — you don’t necessarily know why someone is a detractor. Consider using NPS in combination with other methods of measuring customer satisfaction, adoption, and value.

Further reading: Where Net Promoter Score Goes Wrong, HBR

How to use “NPS” in a sentence: "The company achieved an impressive NPS of 75, indicating a high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty."


What is PMF (Product-Market Fit)?

PMF, or product-market fit, measures how well a product satisfies the needs and demands of a specific market segment.

In other words, it’s a signifier of alignment between a product's features, benefits, and value proposition with the requirements and preferences of a target audience. When customers or end users feel the product fulfills their unique needs, they are more likely to adopt it and recommend it to others.

While PMF is a term often used in the SaaS world, it can also refer to the extent nonprofit-built applications nonprofits serve their constituents or donors.

Further reading: How to know if you've got product-market fit, Lenny’s Newsletter (ex-Airbnb Head of Product)

Why is PMF important?

Achieving product-market fit is the key to unlocking:

  • New market share
  • Growth and expansion
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Loyalty

It also helps businesses allocate resources effectively and make informed decisions for product development and marketing strategies.

You’ll often hear PMF used in association with early-stage startups because they are trying to validate their product's value in order to seek additional funding. Showing that a product has sufficient traction and customer acceptance gives investors more confidence in a product’s viability and potential for success.

Measuring PMF can be tricky. It involves gathering customer feedback, analyzing data, and iterating on the product to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of the target market. 

Further reading: Product-Market Fit: What It Is and How to Measure It, Built In

Signs you have product market fit from Y Combinator:


How to use “PMF” in a sentence:  "The company conducted extensive customer interviews and surveys to determine if they had achieved PMF before scaling their marketing efforts.".


What is SLA (Service Level Agreement)?

An SLA, or service level agreement, is a contractual agreement between a service provider and a customer that defines the expected level of service quality, performance, and responsibilities. SLAs establish clear guidelines and metrics used to measure and monitor service delivery.

Besides laying out terms and conditions for service delivery, SLAs may also include KPIs, targets, and remedies in case of non-compliance. For example, a product may have a service availability SLA, with guaranteed hours of service and percent uptime.

SLAs are commonly used in various industries, such as IT, telecommunications, and outsourcing. Nonprofits will run into SLAs when working with service providers (see MSP), or may even guarantee SLAs within casework, between internal departments, or external-facing applications. 

Further reading: What is an SLA? Best practices for service-level agreements, CIO Magazine

Why are SLAs Important?

SLAs are important for service providers and customers, ensuring delivery in accordance with agreed-upon standards and expectations.

In the absence of an SLA, service agreements may be informal or loosely defined. An SLA provides a formal framework that specifies measurable service levels, response times, uptime guarantees, and other key performance indicators. In this way, SLAs help prevent misunderstandings, resolve disputes, and foster a strong working relationship between parties.

Overall, SLAs promote transparency, customer satisfaction, and effective service management.

How to use “SLA” in a sentence: "The IT department committed to a 99.9% uptime SLA for their cloud infrastructure services."


An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate and interact with each other. APIs serve as an intermediary layer permitting different applications to share data and specify the methods and formats for making requests and receiving responses between those tools.

APIs enable developers to access the functionality and data of a software or service and use them to build new applications or integrate existing systems. APIs are commonly used to retrieve data, perform actions, or extend the capabilities of existing systems. For example, you might use an API to pull donation data from one source and display progress toward your goal on your website.

Visualize how APIs work in this video by MuleSoft:

Why are APIs Important?

APIs are the foundation for software integration, interoperability, and the development of new applications, providing a standardized way for applications to communicate. APIs also facilitate collaboration and innovation, since developers can create new applications that combine multiple APIs.

Traditional software integration often required custom-built solutions, which were time-consuming and costly. APIs revolutionized the integration process by providing interfaces to simplify and streamline communication between applications.

Unlike traditional integration methods, APIs offer flexibility, scalability, and reusability, making it easier for developers to connect platforms or software libraries and build new applications.

Further reading: Types of APIs and how to determine which to build, MuleSoft

A few examples of APIs used by nonprofits:

5 Creative Uses of the Classy API, Classy

API Explained: This Technology Will Transform Your Company’s Charitable Giving, GlobalGiving

How to use “API” in a sentence: "The mobile app uses the Google Maps API to provide real-time navigation and location services."


SSO, or Single Sign-On, is an authentication method that authorizes users to access multiple applications or systems with a single set of login credentials. SSO eliminates the need for users to remember multiple usernames and passwords, improving user convenience and security.

Instead of managing separate usernames and passwords for each application, users authenticate themselves once and obtain a token or session that grants them access to authorized resources. SSO can be implemented through various protocols, such as SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) or OAuth, depending on the specific requirements of the applications involved.

You’ve probably used SSO before to log into Google-based applications or logged into an app using your Facebook account.

Learn how SSO works in this video from Tech Target:

Why is SSO Important?

Traditional authentication methods require users to log in separately to each application or system they want to access, often leading to frustration and an increased likelihood of weak passwords or password reuse. 

SSO improves the user experience and reduces the risk of password-related security vulnerabilities — users only need to remember one password, like the one associated with their Google Workspace or Facebook accounts. SSO is also useful for IT teams, centralizing user management and making it easier to provision and de-provision user accounts across multiple systems.

SSO is commonly used in organizations where users need access to multiple applications, such as enterprise systems, cloud services, or collaboration platforms.

How to use “SSO” in a sentence: "The organization implemented SSO to streamline user access to various internal applications and enhance security."


What is MFA?

MFA, or multi-factor authentication, is a security measure requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification to access a system or application. MFA adds an extra layer of protection by combining something the user knows (e.g., a password) with something they have (e.g., a security token) or something they are (e.g., a fingerprint).

You might’ve used MFA to log into sensitive apps on your phone. First, you use Face ID to unlock your phone, you enter your password in the app, then enter a code you receive via text message, email, or authenticator app.

Learn more about how MFA works in this video:

Why is MFA Important?

Traditional authentication methods typically rely on a single factor, such as a password or PIN. But passwords can be compromised or stolen. Passwords alone can be vulnerable to theft, brute-force attacks, or phishing attempts.

MFA makes it harder for attackers to gain unauthorized access — even if they have obtained the user's password.

Typically, MFA is used to access online banking, email services, cloud platforms, and other sensitive tools. By implementing MFA, organizations can ensure that only authorized individuals can access their systems and data.

Further reading: Why Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Is Important, Okta

How to use “MFA” in a sentence: "The company implemented MFA to strengthen the security of their online banking platform by requiring users to provide both a password and a fingerprint scan."


What is GDPR?

GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is a comprehensive set of data protection rules and regulations implemented by the European Union (EU). GDPR aims to protect the privacy and personal data of individuals within the EU. Organizations must implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data, obtain valid consent for processing, and provide individuals with rights to access, rectify, or erase their data.

If you’re a global nonprofit, you must ensure that member or donor data collection, processing, transfer, and storage processes follow GDPR protocols to avoid hefty fines, legal fees, and damage to your reputation.

The state of California also has similar regulations under CCPA, the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Further reading: I am a nonprofit/not-for-profit: What policies do I *really* need for GDPR?, Golden Data Law

Further reading: What Does GDPR Mean For U.S.-Based Nonprofits?, Forbes

Why is GDPR Important?

GDPR replaced the previous Data Protection Directive, introducing several significant changes and enhancements, and expanding the territorial scope to cover all organizations that handle the data of EU individuals, regardless of their location. For example, many US-based SaaS companies must comply with GDPR because their customers (or their customer’s customers) live in the EU.

GDPR applies to any organization that collects, stores, or processes personal data of individuals within the EU, including:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Businesses
  • Government entities
  • Online platforms

GDPR gives individuals greater control over their personal data and ensures that organizations handle it responsibly and securely, imposing substantial fines for non-compliance. Promoting transparency, accountability, and consent in data processing practices fosters trust between individuals and organizations. 

Learn more about what GDPR is and how it might affect you in this video by the Wall Street Journal:

How to use “GDPR” in a sentence:

"The company implemented strict data protection measures to comply with GDPR and ensure the privacy and security of customer data."


A DPA, or data processing agreement, is a legal contract that defines the terms and conditions under which a data controller engages a data processor to handle personal data on its behalf. DPAs outline the responsibilities, obligations, and rights of both parties to ensure compliance with data protection laws and regulations.

As you can imagine, DPAs are particularly important when initiated and signed in the EU and CA because of GDPR and CCPA. If you’re working with a SaaS platform, they will likely have you review and sign a DPA prior to implementation or activation.

Watch this video to learn more about what a DPA is and how to use it for GDPR and CCPA:

Why are DPAs important?

Under GDPR, data controllers are required to have a written agreement in place with their data processors, outlining specific obligations and safeguards to protect personal data.

Having a DPA establishes roles, responsibilities, and obligations concerning personal data processing between a data controller and data processor to protect the rights and privacy of individuals. Signing a DPA also helps build trust and transparency between the parties involved in the data processing activities.

DPAs are typically used in situations where a data controller (like a nonprofit) engages a third-party service provider or vendor to process personal data on their behalf, such as:

  • Cloud computing services
  • IT outsourcing
  • Marketing agencies
  • Payroll processing

The DPA will outline data security measures, data handling procedures, data breach notification, and the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Further reading: What Is a Data Processing Agreement & Why Do You Need One?, Turing

How to use “Data Processing Agreement” in a sentence: "The company entered into a data processing agreement with its cloud service provider to ensure compliance with data protection laws and maintain data security."


What are MSPs?

MSP is short for managed service provider. MSPs are third-party companies that deliver IT services and support to clients. MSPs deliver a wide range of services, including:

  • Network monitoring
  • Security management
  • Data backup
  • Support for specific cloud computing applications
  • General technical support

MSPs often act as a strategic partners, providing expertise and resources to optimize IT operations.

Further reading: How to Find the Right MSP for Your Nonprofit, Altitude Integrations

Why are MSPs Important?

The concept of MSP emerged as organizations realized the need for professional IT support and management. As technology became more complex, businesses faced challenges in maintaining and securing their IT infrastructure. MSPs evolved to fill this gap by offering specialized services, proactive monitoring, and 24/7 support.

Because MSPs take care of managing complex IT systems, staying up to date on IT trends, ensuring data security, and minimizing downtime, organizational leaders can spend more time focusing on strategic activities.

MSPs are employed by organizations of all sizes and across all industries that lack the resources or expertise to manage their IT infrastructure effectively. MSPs are engaged on a contract basis, offering customizable service plans based on their clients’ requirements.

Learn more about MSPs in this video from Tech Target:

How to use “MSP” in a sentence: "The company outsourced its IT management to an MSP to ensure reliable network connectivity and efficient technical support."


What is UX?

UX, or user experience, is the overall experience a user has when interacting with a product, system, or service. UX considers every aspect of the user's interaction, including usability, accessibility, responsiveness, and emotional connection.

The goal of UX design is to create a positive and meaningful experience that meets the user's needs and expectations. 

Further reading: UX for Nonprofits: Best Practices for Clearer Communications, Kanopi Studios

Why is UX Important?

The concept of UX has evolved as technology has advanced and user expectations have grown. It emerged from the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and has since expanded to encompass various disciplines such as psychology, design, and information architecture. Today, UX design is an integral part of product development, with an emphasis on user research, prototyping, testing, and iterative design processes.

UX is relevant in various contexts, including website design, app development, software interfaces, and product design. It involves understanding the target audience, conducting user research, creating user personas, mapping user journeys, wireframing, prototyping, and conducting usability testing. UX designers collaborate with stakeholders, developers, and designers to create intuitive and engaging experiences that align with user needs and business objectives.


Because if a user can intuitively understand how to use a tool, they’re likely to use it more (and more effectively). By focusing on user-centric design principles, organizations can create productive and enjoyable experiences that encourage users to continue using their products or services. A well-designed UX:

  • Enhances customer loyalty
  • Drives conversions
  • Reduces user frustrations
  • Increases overall customer satisfaction

Watch this TedX Youngston talk to learn more about the impact of UX:

How to use “UX” in a sentence: "The company hired a UX designer to improve the user experience and usability of its mobile app."


What is UI?

UI, or user interface, refers to the visual and interactive elements of a digital product that users interact with. While UX focuses more on usability, UI focuses on creating visually appealing designs that enhance the user's experience.

UI dictates how components like buttons, menus, forms, and icons look and pairs that with good UX to enable users to navigate and interact with the product.

Further reading: What is UI design? What is UX design? UI vs UX: What’s the difference, UX Planet on Medium

2 Common UX/UI Website Audits for Nonprofits, NONPROFITMEGAPHONE

Why is UI Important?

UI design has evolved alongside software development methodologies. UI design is often integrated into Agile and iterative development processes to ensure that the UI aligns with user needs and preferences. UI is relevant in various contexts, including website design, mobile app development, software interfaces, and interactive media.

UI designers collaborate closely with UX designers, developers, and stakeholders to create visually appealing interfaces that align with the target audience and business objectives. UI design considers factors like typography, color schemes, iconography, and layout to create a cohesive and engaging user experience.

A thoughtful UI design can positively impact:

  • User interactions
  • Conversions
  • Brand perception
  • User satisfaction

Learn the differences between UI and UX in this video:

How to use “UI” in a sentence: “The UI of the new mobile app is sleek and intuitive, providing a seamless user experience.”

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Julette Martinez

CEO, Farm Worker Organization