What does it all mean?!
Have you heard web design buzzwords and terminology flying around in the past? Perhaps you have been to a web design agency to talk about having a new website built, or maybe you’ve read a blog post or article online and been baffled by the phrases used.
If so, fear not! We have created the ultimate list of web design terms and explained each one in simple, non-technical and easy to understand terms, so you don’t ever have to be confused again!
So here goes – our definitive rundown of all the website terms you need to know goes a little something like this … (that made me think of run DMC – if you don’t know what i’m going on about, Google ‘Run DMC – it’s like that’ and you’ll see what I mean) anyway, back to the blog:
Above The Fold
This term simply refers to the content seen on a webpage before you start to scroll down. This content within the ‘above the fold’ area is considered to be premium as it’s the first thing your website visitors see when landing on your website, so make sure you include vital/important/USP information here.
Used for monitoring website visitor numbers and much more besides, Analytics provides ‘numbers and graphs’ style statistics to show you how well your website is performing. The stats provided can also show you where your website visitors are coming from, the most popular pages and even show website visitors on your website in real-time – (Google Analytics does this).
This is a general term used to describe the admin login / content management area of a website or where you log into the server. From the ‘content management’ perspective, there is where you would log into the website to make changes, such as adding or removing content, creating a blog or to view orders if your website is an e-commerce store. From a ‘server’ point-of-view, this is where the website files and database is uploaded and stored online.
Once a website has been built and is nearing completion (and in some cases before this stage) the website gets tested across multiple browsers (such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and other browsers) to ensure the website displays correctly across all browser types.
A Call-To-Action is a section on your web page which could be a button, an image or even a link that stands out from the rest of the page and encourages your website visitors to take an action; for example you might be offering a special offer, discount or free download, but to make this really stand out you might have a brightly coloured button, link or image to attract the attention of your website visitors.
Content creation generally refers to the text content of the website. Although often overlooked, it is a significant part of the website build process and should be prioritised. Usually content writers are appointed to create the text content for your website. Images are also important, so generally these are either purchased from a stock photo website or a photographer is appointed to take photographs for your business or products for use on your website.
Content Management System
A Content Management System (or CMS for short) is the administrational side to your website (can also be referred to as the ‘backend’ – see above) and this is where you can log into your website and make changes to the text, images, add pages or make adjustments to any other part of your website, or can view new orders if you have an e-commerce store.
Understanding how well your website converts visitors into buying customers is an important aspect to understand. It helps you to measure the effectiveness of your website. Essentially the conversion rate is determined by the number of visitors divided by the number of sales or leads your website generates over a defined period of time. Your website analytics can also assist you when working out the conversion rate of your website.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Simply put, a Cascading Style Sheet is what makes your website look ‘pretty’. What CSS does is controls all the visual styling within your website such as fonts, colours, effects such as motion effects on images and scrolling and much more besides. To look at CSS code wouldn’t mean much to many, but what it does plays a crucial role within your website.
A Domain Name is your website address (the www. bit) and is used to identify your business on the internet. The most common / popular Domain Names are .co.uk, .com or .org and you can register Domain Names from many different companies online, or we can do it for you!
Web designers tend to refer to a commonly used, popular web design style as ‘flat design’. Flat design is characterised by the lack of shadows, bevels and unnecessary embellishments that can make the website look dated and old. Flat design is considered a clean, simple and uncluttered design style and is very contemporary.
A website ‘front end’ is the part of the website you see when browsing the internet on your PC/Laptop or smart device such as a mobile phone or tablet.
FTP stands for ‘File Transfer Protocol’ and is the method used by website designers when transferring (or uploading) your website onto the internet so it can be seen by the public. A web designer connects their computer to the website server (a server is what stores your website files on the internet) and uploads your website files using FTP.
A grid system is the design standard used when creating a website. It comprises of a grid-like structure for web page content placement and alignment to make it more readable and manageable.
Hosting or ‘web hosting’ is used to make your website visible online to the public. Hosting provides website server space (that your files are uploaded to via FTP – see above) that is paid for monthly or yearly and is essentially a special type of computer that is always connected to the internet and displaying your website. Did you know we also offer hosting? Find out more here.
Stands for ‘HyperText Markup Language’ and is a simple web programming language used alongside other website coding (like CSS – see above). HTML tells the browser you are using (such as Google Chrome or Firefox) how to render and display the wording, pictures, videos and other content within the page. HTML is different to CSS as HTML ‘tells’ the browser what to show where, and CSS makes it look pretty (see CSS above).
This is a method of loading a website on a visitor’s screen whereby all the content on the page loads progressively as you scroll down the page.
This term is used to cover all aspects relating to the organisation of your website / page content, such as text content, images videos and more.
A landing page can mean two things, first, your website homepage can be referred to as your ‘landing page’ as it is the first page people generally visit first when viewing your website. Another term for a landing page is a carefully targeted page that focuses on a product or service you offer, and is targeted to a location, so for example, we might have “web design Bromley” or similar as a targeted landing page.
A lead form are essentially data capture / contact forms that can be placed on any page of your website. They serve the purpose of capturing customer data, such as a name, email address and contact number. Generally, people will fill in these forms in order to download something, or to request information about your products or services.
If you operate on an international scale, you should localise your website that covers more than just translation (if translation into other languages is needed). Your web designer would change things like the messaging, photographs/images and cultural references on your website to be more appropriate to the international markets you are targeting.
There are many meta tags that can be used within a website. They serve the purpose of providing a Tag (as it says in the name) describing an aspect of the contents of a web page. Two commonly known meta tags are ‘meta description’ and ‘meta keywords’. The description briefly describes what the web page is about, and the keywords are a number of words that are relevant to the web page in question.
Mobile first is relatively new term used within website design and is considered a very important aspect to the entire design and build process. It means that a website should be designed and built with the mobile browsing experience in mind first and foremost.
A mockup is a visual design of how your website will look on-screen once it is finished. Mockups can also include mobile and tablet views as well. It is created for you to approve before the design gets built/coded into the fully working website.
Parallex scrolling is a webpage motion effect that creates an illusion of depth, by way of a background image that moves slower than the foreground image/text/elements on the page.
Photoshop is a programme by Adobe and is used to create website mockups and designs. Photoshop is the industry standard for creating the design for a website.
As mobile technology has advanced along with the introduction of more and more tablets of all screen sizes, ‘responsive design’ is now considered to be an industry standard practice in web design. This is a design and coding technique that makes your website mobile friendly. A website is designed to be responsive, so it can ‘respond’ or ‘reformat’ itself to the size of the screen it is being viewed upon. Find out more about our Bromley website design services.
Also known as ‘QA’ for short, Quality Assurance goes way beyond just testing your website on various browsers and smart devices; QA also includes the extensive testing of all the features and functionality contained within your website to ensure they all work properly.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the ongoing practice of optimising your website and overall web presence including things like social media to improve the overall presence of your website. You can find out more about SEO here.
You will hear the term ‘sitemap’ used at some point during the build of your new website. A sitemap is an outline of how your website content will be organised and all the pages it will contain. You can see our website sitemap here as an example. When supplying your content, it is important to clearly label each page of text with the corresponding name used in the website navigation structure so your web designer knows what content needs to go where.
A relatively new term in the world of web design, SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. An SVG enables high resolution graphics to be added to your website but at a small file-size which is great for the speed and performance of your website.
A website built on a theme is often referred to as a template. A template is a pre-designed website layout (in some cases various layouts depending on the template) with functionality elements and visual styling/layouts that can be completely changed to look different based on personal preference and requirements.
User Interface Design (UI)
User Interface, or UI for short refers to the page that visitors will see. When a graphic designer does UI design, they are creating more interactive pages that visitors will engage with. In essence, UI design is all about what makes a website pretty.
User Experience Design (UX)
User Experience or UX for short is a more strategic way of looking at a website build. UX takes the considerations of your website visitors needs and abilities into account as well as the technology or device used, and ultimately the goals you want a website visitor to take on your website.
Whitespace is a term used to describe the spacing (or padding/margin) added to website content such as text and images to give space between each element on the web page. Websites should allow for whitespace or good spacing within the design in order to make content look less crowded.
Wireframing is a term used to describe the early stage designs that don’t include all the detail that a mockup would. The purpose of creating wireframes is to organise content and get the overall structure of the website right before designing them graphically.
Final thoughts and summary
We hope that this blog has equipped you with an understanding of some of the most commonly used web design terms. If you have any other questions please feel free to get in touch with us, or perhaps there is a web design term we haven’t included in this list that you would like clarifying – if so please let us know and we can add it above!