If you’re a small or mid-size business owner, blogger, private coach, etc. you are probably planning on having a website. Or, you might already have a website, but you don’t know a wireframe from a content management system (haha I found that funny). But anyhoo, it doesn’t matter if you are having someone build a website, building it yourself, or just need to know the lingo your employees are using, this article is for you.
The sheer amount of definitions and acronyms can be daunting, and as a fellow business owner myself, I’m sure you don’t want to sit around studying web design definitions when you have a business to run. That’s why M.J. Web Design has compiled all the most pertinent web design definitions so you know what web designers are talking about.
But, beyond just being a guide for you to reference, we’ve included some links to resources in regard to each term. Plus, on the right side of the page all you have to do is click the button to join our free newsletter. That way you can always have the definitions with you when you need them.
Let’s get started!
301: This is a code used to tell Google that a specific page has changed locations and is at a different URL.
404: Generally shows up as an error when you try to access a website’s URL. This code means the website can not be found on the server.
Above The Fold: This is the part of a webpage that can be seen before the user starts to scroll down the page.
Accessibility: Web accessibility refers to website technology that allows people with disabilities to use them.
Alt Tag: The ALT tag contains the alternative text for an image on a web page. This text appears if the image cannot be shown on the screen.
Ajax: Stands for Asynchronous JavaSscript And XML. It’s not a programming language but a way for a website browser to request data from a web server.
Anchor Text: The text that is highlighted in a hypertext link that is clicked to open a new web page.
Backend: The opposite of the front-end (just kidding haha). The backend includes the server, applications, and database that runs the website.
Backlink: A link from another web page to your website.
Bandwidth: A website’s bandwidth is the amount of data a website uses during a specific time period. It’s affected by the number of current website users and the resources the website has.
Below The Fold: The part of a web page a site visitor must scroll to see.
Bounce Rate: Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave your page without clicking anything or taking any actions.
Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are a second form of navigation that a website uses to display the user’s location on the website. It generally follows the format: home/service/page name/sub-page name/etc
Breakpoints: Breakpoints are the screen resolution sizes where the website will rearrange elements on the page to appear properly on a different-sized screen.
Browser: The web browser is a piece of software that allows a user to navigate the internet.
Cache: Website caching is when the internet browser stores certain files such as images, in a temporary location so they can be accessed and the website will be loaded more quickly later on.
Call to Action: This is a web designer and marketer’s term that’s a direct sentence or set of words designed to incite a website visitor to submit information, call, or perform some other action on the website.
Cascading Style Sheets: These are written with CSS code and control the styling of a web page. This includes fonts, text sizes, image backgrounds, colors, and more.
Client Side: Everything that is displayed to the website visitor on their device.
Comment: A feature of online blogs, news websites, and other sites where a publisher invites the readers to comment.
Cookies: Web cookies are small files that contain pieces of data (ex. Username and password). They are used to identify your computer as you use a computer network.
Content Management System: Also known as a CMS, is a piece of software that helps web designers manage, modify, and create content on a website without the need for technical knowledge like coding. Although, more usability and customization are available since the CMS can be modified with code.
Content Roadmap: A roadmap is a tool that helps you post content in an attempt to accomplish a specific goal or objective.
Conversion: Website conversions are when a visitor completes a specific action you desire them to. An example is when someone fills out a form.
Core Web Vitals: These are a set of metrics from Google that help web designers and developers understand how the user experiences a web page.
CSS: See Cascading Style Sheets
CSS Framework: CSSS frameworks are tools used by web designers to make their job easier. It’s a library of website templates (in CSS code) that can be downloaded and installed.
Dev Site: Stands for a development site. This is the staging area where a website is built before it is uploaded to the internet.
Deprecated: A coding language that is no longer supported or recommended.
Dither: Reducing the color range of images.
DNS: Stands for domain name system. It is the phonebook of the internet. Web browsers interact with an IP address, and DNS translates the domain name to an IP address.
DOCTYPE: An HTML declaration relaying to the internet browser the type of document.
DOM (Document Object Model): a programming API for HTML and XML documents. It defines the structure of the document elements.
Domain: The name of a website.
ECommerce: This is the buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds through the internet.
Element: An individual part of a web page.
EM: This is a way the browser displays font size. EM resizes the font based on the screen size.
Embedded: Embedding is when you place content on your page rather than linking out to it.
Extensible Markup Language: (XML) A standard platform-independent markup language that defines format rules for encoding data.
External Style Sheet: A CSS document linked to the web page it’s designing.
Favicon: The Favicon is a graphic image located on the website’s internet tab.
Filter and Search: The search tool embedded on a website that allows users to search for specific content.
Fixed Width Layout: When the website is displayed, it will always be at the same pixel width, no matter what resolution the screen is.
Fluid Layout: A type of webpage where the layout of the site resizes as the screen size is changed.
Focal Point: An area of interest or emphasis on a web page that the designer wants visitors to focus on.
Font Family: Set of fonts that contain a common design.
Font Style: Defines the style of a font as either italic, oblique, or normal.
Font Weight: The boldness of a font.
Front End: The front end of a website is the part of a website the user interacts with.
Geolocation: A feature of a website allowing the user to search for other IPs by geographic location.
Google Analytics: Tools provided by Google to analyze your website visitors’ behavior.
Google Tag Manager: Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) that allows you to quickly and easily update measurement codes and related code fragments collectively.
Google Search Console: Reports provided by Google that lets you see your website’s performance such as clicks, impressions, and click-through rate.
Graphical User Interface: A visual way of interacting with the web page including the icons, menus, and windows.
Heatmap: Graphical representation of data where values are represented by color.
Hero Image: The oversized image or graphic at the top of a web page.
Hexadecimal: A system of numerical notation that has 16 rather than 10 as its base.
Hosting: The process of renting or buying space to place a website on the internet.
Hover State: What the button or element will look like when a user hovers their cursor over it.
HTACCESS: A file on your website’s server that makes the server behave a certain way.
HTML: Stands for HyperText Markup Language and tells the web browser how to display web page elements.
HTML Tag: A piece of HTML markup language used to indicate the beginning and end of an element.
HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol is used to load web pages using hypertext links.
HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a secure version of HTTP, that uses SSL/TLS for encryption and authentication.
Hyperlink: A link from a text file or document that directs the browser to go to another location.
Hypertext: A software system that links topics on the screen to related information and graphics.
Iframe: An HTML element that loads another HTML page within the document.
Image Map: The HTML tag <map> defines an image map with clickable areas.
Image Overlay: An additional image or texture is added as a layer over another image.
Inheritance: When no value has been specified on an element through CSS code, the element gets the value from its parent element.
Inline Styling: Styling code applied to a specific element within the body of the webpage.
Interactivity: An interactive web design is a design that promotes users to be actively engaged, improving the user experience (UX).
Lamp: Lamp is a software bundle including Linux, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python.
Landing Page: Standalone web pages that a person lands on after clicking through an email, advertisement, or other location.
Lazy Loading: When a website loads images and other content after the main content is loaded.
Link Farm: A link farm is a website (or group of websites) created for the purpose of increasing the number of links to another website.
Liquid Layout: Also known as fluid website design. Elements are sized with percentages instead of pixels so they change size depending on the user’s screen.
Markup: Markup is a language or set of symbols that can be used to provide instructions to a web browser.
Meta Data: Set of data that describes and gives information to a search engine about a website.
Meta Tag: Snippets of text that describe a page’s content. They don’t appear on the web page itself but are in the website’s source code.
Micro Animations: Small, functional animations that support the user by giving visual feedback and displaying changes more clearly.
Navigation: Website navigation is an integral part of web design. It’s a collection of user interface components that help users find content and features on the website.
Nesting: This is when you place, or nest one HTML element inside of another element.
Non-Breakable Space: Also called fixed space or hard space. Programmers use this to create a line of space that cannot be broken by word wrap.
Open Source: A platform for sharing standards-compliant free web design templates.
Pagespeed: How fast a website loads on a user’s device.
Page Template: Templates are predesigned layouts that allow you to arrange content onto a webpage and create a simple, well-designed website.
Pageview: A pageview is an instance where a web page is loaded or reloaded on a web browser.
Permalink: These have two parts. One is the domain name and the other appears after the domain name and is called a slug.
Plug-in: A software add-on that’s installed on a program (WordPress), that enhances the features.
Progressive Enhancement: A web d ensign philosophy that means to provide as many essential pieces of content and functionality to as many users as possible.
Propagation: When a website is moved to a new server and its IP needs to be updated around the world.
Property: A CSS property is a characteristic such as a color that defines how your browser should display it on the screen.
Pseudo-Element: A keyword added to a selector that allows you to style a specific part of an element.
Pseudo-Class: Selectors that select elements in a specific state.
Registrar: A domain name registrar is a business that handles the reservation of domain names as well as the assignment of IP addresses for those domain names.
Resolution: The number of pixels a screen has horizontally and vertically.
Responsive Web Design: An approach to web design that suggests a website’s design should respond to the user’s environment.
Rich Snippets: Also known as “rich results”, the snippets are extra data displayed about a web page in the organic results.
Schema: Special code that talks to search engines and tells them more about your website.
Script: Pieces of code embedded into a website.
Selector: Pattern of elements and other terms that tell the browser which HTML elements should be selected to have the CSS property values inside the rule applied to them.
Semantic Markup: See Schema
SEO: The process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results in search engines.
SERP: Google’s response to a search engine query.
Slider: A slideshow on a website.
SOAP: XML-based protocol for accessing web services over HTTP.
SSL: A standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a server and a client.
Sticky Navigation: Fixed navigation menus on a website.
Tag: Tags give web browsers instructions about the web page, such as where to display images, and how the document is structured.
Template: Pre-designed website layouts that allow to rearrange and adjust the content more quickly.
URL: The location of a specific page or file on the internet.
Usability: Ease of access/use of a website.
UX Design: A website design process focused on providing the user with a great experience.
Validation: Checking that the code under the surface of a website works properly.
Web Page: A hypertext document on the internet.
Web Server: software and hardware that uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and other protocols to respond to client requests made over the World.
Website Audit: An examination of page performance prior to large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign
Website Integration: When your website sends or receives information from another application.
Web Standards: The technologies we used to build on the internet.
Wireframe: Two-dimensional blueprints of a website. Most web designers start here.
WYSIWYG: Type of editing software that allows users to see and edit content in a form that appears as it would when displayed on an interface, webpage, slide presentation, or printed document. WYSIWYG is an acronym for “what you see is what you get.”
XHTML: EXtensible HyperText Markup Language · XHTML is a stricter, more XML-based version of HTML
XML: XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language · XML is a markup language much like HTML · XML was designed to store and transport data.
To conclude this post, you don’t need to be a professional web designer or internet marketer to have a basic knowledge of the terminology. It’s M.J. Web Design’s goal to provide you with these terms so when you are building your own website, interviewing a possible web design agency, or hiring a web designer, the lingo they use won’t go over your head. Nobody wants to be sold services at a gouged price just because they don’t understand the lingo (the mechanics syndrome!). It’s our ultimate goal to help you.