When you contact a Web Design company to build a website for your small business, chances are they will use a bunch of jargon which not everyone will know. We thought it would be good to create a Web Design glossary to help everyone understand what we’re talking about.
404: If you’ve been browsing the net for a while, we’ll bet you’ve come across a ‘404 – file/page/site not found’ message on a website you’ve tried to visit. A 404 page is automatically generated by the website content management system (CMS) or the server software to tell users that the web page they are trying to visit doesn’t exist, has been deleted, or has moved to a new location.
Above the fold: Above the fold is a term that came from newspapers meaning, literally, the content above the fold in the newspaper sheet. Normally this was the most eye-catching and noteworthy content. In web design, above the fold means anything visible in the browser window when the page first loads before scrolling down.
Alt-tags: An alt-tag is a text-based description of what an image displays. Alt-tags are used a lot by SEO professionals to help communicate to search engines who can’t see images, only text. Alt-tags can also be referred to as alt-text or alt attributes.
Back-end: The Back-end of a website is all the behind-the-scenes a user won’t see like the Content Management System (CMS) or application administration dashboard.
Backlink: A link pointing to your website from an external domain, that is, a page that is not yours, is commonly referred to as a back-link. Backlinks are a key component of any good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaign as good back-links from high-ranking, quality websites can provide a significant boost in your position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Below the fold: Like above-the-fold, this term is a hangover from newspaper publishing and referred to any content below the physical fold of the newspaper. In web design, below-the-fold refers to all the content below what is visible when the page first loads. In other words, below-the-fold is all the content on the page that you must scroll down to see.
Bounce rate: The thing that is most likely to keep an internet marketer up at night. The bounce rate is the percentage of a website’s visitors that leave the site from the same page that the entered, without clicking through to any other pages or content. A high bounce rate indicates a poorly performing website and is a symptom of poor User Experience design, poor navigation, poor relevance to search terms or poor content.
Browser: The browser is the software on a computer which allows the user to access websites and browse the internet. Some examples of popular browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.
Burger Menu: The burger menu or nav-burger is a triple-line icon on a website that is placed in lieu of a permanent, fixed website menu. The menu will appear on the website when this button is clicked, commonly from the side of the website or as an overlay. The purpose of a nav-burger menu is to improve the user experience for people browsing on handheld devices and to de-clutter websites.
Cache/Caching: Cached files are ones which are downloaded by a web browser and stored on a computer to help a web page load quicker the next time a user visits it. File types that are commonly cached by web designers to help speed up a web page are HTML files, images and CSS.
Call to action: A call to action is an element on a website, usually a text or image, that elicits a response from the user. Common examples are a ‘Buy Now’ button on a product page or a ‘Contact Us Today’ banner at the bottom of a service page.
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS): Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web page written in a markup language, like HTML. CSS is commonplace among the web design community as it allows the user to make limited or site-wide changes to the look and feel of web pages without having to create multiple different HTML templates. The idea behind CSS is to separate web page content from web page presentation and often dictates things like fonts, font-size, colours, element sizes and more.
Content: Content in web design the contents of the page including textual, visual and aural content types. It may include text, images, videos, music, radio or many other things. Content is most commonly managed by a Content Management System (CMS) which makes it easier for a user to add, edit, organise and remove the content on their website.
Content Management System (CMS): A content management system, or CMS, is a backend application used to manage the site’s on page content. A CMS allows the site administrator to change and manage the site’s look and feel as well as the content on the pages. A CMS makes it easy for website administrators to look after their website and run eCommerce stores. Common content management systems include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and Concrete 5.
Conversion: A conversion is when a user takes a specific desired action on a website. That might be to purchase a product, fill in a contact us form or subscribing to a mailing list. Conversions are often the result of a good call-to-action.
Deprecated: Deprecated code is code which is no longer included in the language of that code. Most often, code becomes deprecated because it is superseded by more efficient or more accessible alternatives. Often you will also see features becoming deprecated in things like your CMS, this is often due to new features being released which supersede the deprecated ones.
Domain: The domain is the text-based address a user types in to get to a website. For example, our is brothers.digital. The text-based domain name is then translated into an IP address and routed through the domain name service (DNS).
Domain Name Service (DNS): The domain name service, also known as the domain name server or domain name system, is the thing that converts a text-based domain like google.com into an IP address. A web server issues a website with an IP address for the server where the website is hosted. When browsers enter a URL, the DNS translates that into an IP address and routes the browser to the website where the requested website is.
eCommerce: eCommerce is short for electronic commerce and is the buying and selling of goods and services on the internet, via a website. Products sold through eCommerce Websites can be physical products or digital products available for download. eBay, Amazon and Etsy are all examples of eCommerce websites.
Favicon: A favicon is a little icon that sits in the browser’s web address bar to allow users to easily a website. A favicon is normally 16×16 pixels but some are now 32×32 pixels and are saved in either .ico, .gif, or .png formats.
Focal Point: The focal point of anything, including web pages, is the point where the eye is naturally drawn to. This could be an image, a banner or video. Some older websites would use flashing or expanding elements to create a focal point but this is seldom done now. The focal point is most often where the vital information is, or the website’s call to action.
Fold: The fold is a term carried over to web design from newspaper publishing days. The term quite literally means the point on a newspaper where the page is folded. In web design, the fold is the bottom part of the website which is visible in the user’s browser. Web designers argue over the importance of the fold but we believe it is important to get visitors as much information about you above-the-fold as possible.
Front-end: The front-end of a website is basically the opposite to the back-end. It is all the things on a website a user can see and experience (text, images, forms, content etc). The front-end can more specifically refer to the interface client’s user to access a website’s content, often referred to as the User Interface.
Graphical User Interface (GUI): A Graphical User Interface, or GUI, is a human-computer interface which allows humans and computers to communicate. A GUI uses windows, images, button and text which are interacted with by a mouse, or sometimes a keyboard, to allow users to manipulate a computer or software.
Hexadecimal: Hexadecimal or hex number is an alphanumeric combination that defines a colour used in HTML, CSS and other front-end coding languages. A hex number is created by using three sets of numbers and letters to determine the red, green and blue (RGB) hues of a colour. Hexadecimals are always preceded by a hash (#). Common hexadecimal numbers are #FFFFFF (white), #008000 (green), #0000FF (blue), #FF0000 (red), #FFC0CB (pink), #FFFF00 (yellow) and #000000 (black).
Hit: Contrary to popular belief, a hit is not a single visit to your website. A hit is a request by anyone (or anything) for a file on a web page. This means a single web page can serve up many hits as the browser accessing all the files needed to ‘build’ the web page in the user’s browser.
Hosting: Hosting is the web servers where your site’s files are located, served and maintained. Your hosting allows users to access your website via a web server through an interne-connected web browser or mobile device.
.HTACCESS: .HTACCESS, short for HyperText Access, is a configuration file found on Apache-based web servers that control the directory that it is located in. .HTACCESS governs things like who can access a website, caching, redirects, password protection and error pages.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML): HTML is the primary language used to write webpages and display content like text, images and videos on the internet. HTML is primarily intended to provide content to web pages while CSS would be used to determine the web page and content looks.
HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP): HTTP is a protocol for transferring HyperText requests between a web server and a web browser.
HyperText Transport Protocol Secure (HTTPS): HTTPS is the same as HTTP except that the transfer of HyperText requests between a web server and a web browser is secured by an SSL or TLS security encryption. It is used to create a layer of security which helps limit the ability of people to access or steal information being transferred like credit card numbers or personally identifiable data.
Hyperlink: A hyperlink is a link from one page to another, either internally (from the same website) or externally (from another website). Normally, a hyperlink will be text or an image, and be highlighted in some way.
Hypertext: Hypertext is a software system which allows extensive cross-referencing between related sections of text, images or graphic material.
iFrame: Short for inline frame, an iFrame is essentially a window in a window allowing a webmaster to embed another website or content from another source on their own website.
Landing Page: A landing page is a page where the user first enters the website. Most often the landing page is the website’s homepage but increasingly webmasters and internet marketers are creating unique landing pages for certain search queries, or for lead generation to improve conversions.
Markup: This refers to the sets of symbols or a language that can be used to provide instruction. A web page is created by marking up content (text, images, graphics etc) using the HyperText Markup Language or HTML.
Metadata: Metadata is information contained in the header of a web page that gives information about the web page the user is currently browsing. The metadata is not visible on the web page (except via source code) and often includes things like page titles, descriptions and keywords.
Meta Tag: A meta tag is an HTML tag used to include metadata on a web page’s header.
Navigation: Navigation refers to the system that allows a user to browse a website. Navigation is most commonly thought of as menu bars but can also include page links, breadcrumbs, related posts and any other link that allows a user to travel from one page to another.
Open Source: Open source describes software which the original core code is freely available to the general public. Open source software can include both web-based and desktop-based software. Open source software is often very low cost or free and is developed by teams of people generally as part of wider communities built around that software.
Pageview: A page view is a request for an entire web page (not just an element) from a web server by a web user’s browser. In other words, each page view is a different time a user (or search engine spider) viewed a page
Permalink: A permalink, short for permanent link, is the link that is the address of that page. For example, egroup.com.au is the permalink for our homepage. Since most websites have constantly changing content a permalink is a great way to organise that content for users or to allow users to bookmark or memorise pages to come back to later.
Plugin: A plugin is a piece code that alters how the website, both frontend and backend, displays or functions. Plug-ins are a great way to expand the functionality of your website without having to engage a web developer or know how to code. Common plugins are for things like eCommerce, shipping modules, SEO modules or for altering the way a site displays.
Registrar: The registrar is the organisation used to register your domain name.
Resolution: In computers and design, the resolution is a number of pixels contained within a monitor or element, expressed as the number of pixels of the horizontal and vertical axes. The sharpness of an image varies depending on the screen size. A 1600x1200px image would look sharp on a screen under the same resolution but start loosing sharpness on screens bigger than it.
Responsive Design: Responsive Web Design is an approach to web design which allows content to be delivered to devices of all different shapes and sizes. Responsive web design uses media queries to detect screen sizes, then the site elements are adjusted to fit the site design.
Schema: Schema, or schema markup is code we put on a website to give more exact information to a search engine. Schema is used to boost SEO by providing better, more specific information about you to your users via search engines.
Search Engine Optimisation: Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making a website more search engine and user-friendly to appear higher on the search engine results page. You can read more about SEO here.
Slider: A rotating banner of images that is commonly put at the top of a website’s homepage. The slider displays content in a slideshow-esque format.
Server-side: Server-side refers to scripts that are run on a web server as opposed to those which run on a user’s browser.
Site Map: A sitemap is a document that shows a list of all your web pages accessible by robots or users.
Template: The template is the file that dictates the location of elements on your website or web page. The template can either be site-wide and determine the location of things like header logos or menus, or it can be page-specific and determine where elements like the contact forms go and how they function.
Theme: A theme is a series of files that dictate how a website looks and feels, and where elements should be placed.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The URL is the site’s address. The www.yoursite.com address points to the server where the site is housed.
Usability: Usability refers to how easy a website is for a user to use as intended. Usability will assess how easy a site is to navigate? Are content elements in a logical spot and do they give the information the user expects? Does every element function as it is intended?
User Experience (UX): The user experience is the interaction between a user and a website. User experience has a lot in common with usability and governs how easy a site is to use.
Web Page: A web page is a single document, often an HTML or XHTML document which is viewed in a user’s browser. A website is often built from many interlinking web pages.
Web Server: A website is a computer with software installed and network capabilities allowing it to serve hosted content to web users on-demand.
Web Standards: The World Wide Web Consortium set we standards for the purpose of standardising web design and web development. Web standards make it easier for web designers and those who build web browsers to make sure websites appear consistently across the web.
Wire Frame: A wireframe is a visual guide of how a website or webpage is going to appear. A wireframe suggests the layout of elements without any text or graphics. This helps designers focus on the layout of content without worrying about the design aspect.
What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG): A Wysiwyg editor allows a webmaster to add content to a page and see how it will appear on the front-end. It is the interface in the CMS that applies styles to text and images to allow the user to see how the end product will appear.