Web Design Terminology

Web Design Terminology

Does your body cringe when you hear the words back-end or HTML? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  For most, the technical jargon associated with web-design and development is a confusing and very foreign language.

Below is a simple guide to a few of the more commonly used website terms. This should get you well on your way to understanding what the hell your web designer is blabbering on about.

The back end of a website is the part hidden from the view of regular website visitors. The back end generally includes the information structure, applications, and the CMS controlling content on the site, allowing the owner of the website to make changes to the front end.

1. The rate at which data can be transferred

2. The total amount of data allowed to be transferred from a web host during a set service time before additional charges are applied.

“Below the fold” refers to the content that is generally going to be below the first window frame of content for the average website visitor in their browser (viewers would need to scroll down to see the content).

A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the site from the same page they entered the site, without clicking through to any other pages. This is therefore a good indicator of how successful a website’s navigation is, as well as an indicator of the quality of the site’s content.

Browser refers to the application a website visitor is using to access the website. Eg. Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer.

Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser to the local computer, so that the next time that user visits the site, the page loads faster.

This is a back-end platform that is designed for website owners to easily manage/ update their content. It separates the content from the design and layout of the site and is designed to make it easy for non-designers to update and manage their sites.  For example, WordPress platform is a type of CMS.

The domain is the name by which a website is identified. Domains can be purchased with any combination of letters, hyphens and numbers.

Short for electronic commerce, meaning the buying and selling of goods online, through websites. Products purchased through e-commerce can either be tangible products that require shipping, or digital products that are delivered electronically.

The front-end is essentially the opposite to the back-end. It comprises of all the components of a website that a visitor to the site can see, e.g. pages, images, content, etc. Specifically, it’s the interface that users interact with directly.

In order for a website to appear on the internet, it must have hosting. Think of it as being the rent you pay to have your site existing on the internet.

The process of bringing all the website data (including emails), over to a new hosting provider.  Think of it like changing banks, and moving all your funds over to your new account.

Stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It’s the gobble-dee-goop code used by web developers to write web pages.

A hyperlink is a link that takes you from one webpage to another, these can be within the same site or completely different one. They allow you to hide the long and potentially messy URL’s in text or images.  Hyperlink’s that are embedded in text are fairly easy to spot as the text is often underlined or in different coloured font.

Navigation refers to the system that allows visitors to move around a website. Navigation is most often thought of in terms of menus, but links within pages also allow a visitor to move from one page to another.

A plug-in is a piece of code provided by a third party that extends the capabilities of a website. It’s most often used in conjunction with a CMS or blogging platform, e.g WordPress. Plug-ins are a convenient way to extend the functionality of a website without having to redo the core coding of the site.

Is a format that allows content to be published simultaneously from one site to another.  It’s mainly used on blogs, where users can subscribe and receive updates via a feed reader in their email account.  The moment a blog post is published you get notified, just as you would if you received an email.

Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A site’s URL is its address, the item that specifies where on the Internet it can the found.

As the name suggests, it is the overall experience a user has with your website and how easy it is for them to use your site.  Focusing on areas like; navigation, content, images, and other interactive elements.  User experience is more than simply function and flow, but something that incorporates all the senses.

This is the process of turning all those beautiful designs into that stuff that resembles alphabet soup, aka HTML code.


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