What is the difference between technical criteria and functional criteria?

Website architecture is an approach to the design and planning of websites which, like architecture itself, involves technical, aesthetic and functional criteria.


In software development, including website design and especially web applications, functional is concerned with how things will function from a user's perspective, whereas technical is concerned with the inner workings of how that functional component is delivered.

So a functional description might be:

When a user clicks the up arrow next to an answer, this adds 1 to the answer's score. It also adds 10 points to the answerer's reputation and records this in the user's activity log. If necessary the answers are moved to ensure they stay sorted by score.

Whereas a technical description would mention the technologies used to do this (such as jquery and ajax), which data tables are updated, which functions are called, etc. In essence the two describe the same functions but from different perspectives - the functional description is from the user's perspective and the technical description is from the software developer's perspective.

  • Couldn't technical criteria also include hardware and infrastructure like networking? – jimreed Nov 8 '11 at 15:04
  • @jimreed Yes, absolutely - although that's slightly less likely in the context of a standalone website – Waggers Nov 8 '11 at 15:50

In this case there is very thin difference.

Functional in this stands for process or functionality whereas

Technical relates with software.

Remember functional can be used in any field while technical is used generally with the field relates with technology.

  • Technical can relate to hardware and actually to any requirement or criteria that is related to technologies that are used. Functional is related to the functions performed by the system. There is an overlap, but when looking at criteria or requirements it is useful to take extreme conceptual positions. – Unreason Nov 8 '11 at 11:26

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