What Does Jank Mean?

The term jank in IT refers to defects or low-quality processes that lead to poor response times for software, or that impede user operations. Most of these refer to speed or smooth interface manipulation. Over time, this term has become popular for talking about how an interface or software application performs, and what level of quality is built into it.


Techopedia Explains Jank

In general, the term jank for software interfaces seems to be derived from a more common adjective janky that’s used for anything that has a low quality look or feel. In IT, jank has been specifically applied to issues with interface use. For example, a based rolling interface that always scrolls smoothly and responds instantaneously to user events is an example of something that does not have jank. By contrast, users or developers may define jank as poor responses or complexities within the scrolling interface, such as when a scrolling page is choppy, slows down or even hangs.

Many instances of jank are essentially caused by performance bottlenecks. With that in mind, consultants or experts can come in and eliminate jank in a Web or software project by solving the bottlenecks and promoting smooth, immediate workflow. As a way to talk about all of the glitches and stutters involved in a less than stellar interface, the term jank can be applied to conventional interfaces for desktop or laptop computers, or, perhaps more routinely, to the kinds of new touchscreen interfaces applied to smart phones and mobile devices.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…