Sometimes it’s a little easy to get lost in all of the jargon used in web design, so today I’m going to delve in 25 web design definitions you should know.
1 – URL (UNIFORM RESOURCE LOCATOR)
You’ve probably used the term URL many times in your life already, but a website’s URL is essentially it’s address which specifies where on the internet that website is.
2 – HTML (HYPERTEXT MARKUP LANGUAGE)
HTML is the language on which a website is written. If you think of a website as a body, then HTML is essentially the skeleton.
3 – CSS (CASCADING STYLE SHEETS)
CSS handles how things are displayed on your website. Whilst HTML may determine rules like class and id, CSS uses these rules for styling purposes. If HTML is the skeleton of a website, then CSS is the hair, skin, eye colour and clothes.
5 – FRONT END
Front End means everything a user is presented with when they visit a website, such as the page layout, forms, call-to-action boxes etc. It’s also sometimes called a User Interface (UI).
6 – BACK END
Back End is the opposite to Front End; it means everything that goes on “behind the scenes” of a website, such as data processing or database management.
7 – FULL STACK
Whereas you get many developers who specialise in just Front End or Back End development, a Full Stack developer is adept at both.
8 – HTTP / HTTPS
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (Secure) is the set of rules for transferring requests between a web browser and a web server. HTTPS does the same via a secure, encrypted connection
9 – CMS (CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM)
A CMS is an application or database that can be used to create and/or manage digital content. Implementing a CMS is a great idea for clients who wish to update their own website, but lack the necessary knowledge to do so manually. At time of writing WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world.
10 – COOKIES
Cookies are small files stored on a user’s computer which holds data specific to a particular client and website. This allows the website to deliver tailored content, such as relevant adverts, to the user.
11 – BROWSER
A Web browser is an application used for viewing web pages. Some of the more well-known browsers include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple’s Safari, Opera, Firefox and Tor.
12 – HOSTING
Web hosting services provide storage for websites allowing them to be accessed on the internet. There are many things to look at when making your choice of hosting company, such as website uptime, packages and good customer support.
13 – DOMAIN
Domains are the name by which a website is identified. When a website is posted to the internet, it is given an IP address in which to be accessed; a domain, or domain name, associates itself with the IP address when registered, making it easier to remember than a string of numbers.
14 – HYPERLINK
A hyperlink is a clickable link to another location on the internet, either on the same site a user is visiting or another one. Both images and text can be used as hyperlinks.
15 – NAVIGATION
Navigation bars are used on most sites to help users get to where they want to go. Although they are usually located at the top of a web page, you can often find them on the side or even in the page’s footer section. Many mobile versions of a website will often have their navigation located in a collapsible menu.
16 – RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN
Responsive Web Design is a design approach that allows for a website to be designed to fit as many different screen sizes as possible. This means that images may be resized, or text boxes are stacked differently. Sometimes this even means that sections of a website you may see on a desktop version of the website may be removed entirely form the mobile-version.
17 – SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION)
SEO is an important trend in web design, so much so that there are experts dedicated solely to it. Optimising a website’s search engine ranking is extremely important to allow as many visitors as possible to find it via a simple search on a site like Google. Some SEO practices include: ensuring that your website is relevant and updated often, keywords are used correctly and having quality backlinks.
18 – BACKLINK
Backlinks are links to your website from other pages. These are incredibly important for good SEO, although keep in mind that it only really works if the backlink is from a quality source. Websites may in fact be punished in search engine rankings if the backlinks aren’t of good quality.
19 – LANDING PAGE
A landing page is a standalone web page specifically created for the purposes of an advertising or marketing campaign. Essentially, it’s where a user “lands” when clicking a relevant Google Adword and they are designed with a singular focused objective – a “Call-to-action” (CTA) – which might range from advertising a local service to marketing a new product.
20 – CTA (CALL-TO-ACTION)
A CTA is a line of text or an image that prompts website visitors to take the desired action. This might be a banner for an e-book that the website owner wishes the visitor to download, or it might be a phone number or email address that enables the visitor to get in contact, possibly leading to a conversion.
21 – CONVERSION
A website conversion is a hugely important factor for determining the success of the website, or marketing campaign. It means you’re getting the website’s visitors to do what you want them to do, such as download the aforementioned e-book, or having them contact you which may in turn lead to a sale.
22 – WORDPRESS
As previously stated, WordPress is the most common CMS in the world. It’s incredibly easy to build upon, use and has been used from hosting blogs to hosting full e-commerce outlets.
23 – WIREFRAME
A basic (usually line and box drawing) representation of what a proposed website will look like. This can include items that display functionality, to where links will be placed and how they will work, from linking between pages to file downloads.
24 – STICKY ELEMENT
Sticky elements are elements of a page that temporarily holds a fixed position within the browser window. Common uses of sticky elements include a top-of-page navigation menu or a cookie banner.
25 – ACCESSIBILITY
Accessibility for websites means the design and optimisation for visitors who may require special functionality in order to visit websites, such as screen readers for blind people. One way to optimise for accessibility is to include descriptive values for an image tag’s “alt” attribute.