Design World

Basic Glossary of Web Design terms for Non-Designer (Part 1)

October 26, 2016

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew what you wanted your website to look like, but you had no idea how to communicate with the design agency what you meant in designer-speak? It felt like a foreign language, didn’t it?

Pretty much every job has its own language or set of terms that those working in that field use on an everyday level, whether it’s being a doctor, a lawyer or a web designer. However, this can be quite a challenge for clients who are not involved in the design industry. So, that’s why we’re here – make thing easier.

In case you want to be more prepared as you meet prospective agencies, I’ve compiled some of the most common web design terminologies organized alphabetically to help you all step up your game a bit. Let’s scroll!

303 Redirect

It’s a permanent redirect from one URL to another, usually from an old website to the new website. It’s also used to redirect traffic from old web pages to new pages that have taken their place.

404 Error

When you try to reach a broken or non-existent page, this error page will appear to notify. It’s usually due to someone reaching a page that has been deleted or they mistyped the URL.



Alignment is the position of the various elements in your design (e.g., aligning all images to the right side of the page, and making sure the text is aligned to the left of each image.)

ALT Attribute

This term used to specify the alternate text that is the HTML code title of any image which appears on a website but it is not shown as part of the visible text. ALT text plays a role in optimizing a website for SEO.


Back End

The back-end of a website is the hidden part that the user cannot see and interact with. Imagine your website like a restaurant, the back-end is the kitchen. Even though the kitchen is hidden from your view, it’s still there making the food and is obviously important to the functionality of the restaurant.


Backlinks are links from other sites back to your own. The more backlinks from high-ranking sites you get, the greater your search engine results can improve.


It’s a form of advertising that is usually at the top of a page and goes from one side to the other. On many sites, the banner also contains links that can be clicked through to reach other pages.

Below the fold

Carried over from newspaper terms, “below the fold” refers to the section on the page where viewers will begin to scroll or swipe (on mobile) after the page has loaded. Ideally, your most important pieces of content will be positioned “above the fold” (what the visitor notice first) and supplement information below it.

Bounce Rate

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.


Breakpoints refer to the points at which a website’s content will adjust to provide the user with the best possible layout to view content.


A web browser is a software application that a website visitor uses to view the website. Most known browsers are Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and the dreaded Internet Explorer.



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

Call to Action

It’s a term used for describing specific texts, images, banners or buttons that encourage the reader or viewer of a website to take an expected, predetermined action. Simple examples include: “Click here” or “Buy now“.


CMS stands for Content Management System. It is known as a backend tool used to control the content on your website. This allows website owners to edit their own text, images, data, etc, without any requiring technical knowledge of web code e.g. HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, etc.

Basic glossary of web design terms for non designer


This term is used to describe when visitors take whatever action that you want them to make such as: completing a web form, submitting a request for information, subscribing to a newsletter or making an e-commerce purchase.


I know you’re hungry, unfortunately, they’re not chocolate chip. 🙁
It’s a small text file with an anonymous unique identifier sent to a browser and stored on a computer’s hard drive.

The data it contains is from visiting websites. How often they’re visited and the preferences they have about it. This is why you always see ads directly aimed towards you because they see your cookies and know what you’re interested in.


CSS is an acronym for Cascading Style Sheets which are used to format the look and feel of a website. Separate from the actual content of the web page. It allows for things like the color of text, the background, the shape, size and position of all different parts of a page to be set.


Domain Name

It means the name of the website that people type into a browser to visit it. For example, our domain is: designverloper.com


DPI is Dots Per Inch. Similar to the pixel for the web, dots are the smallest unit of measurement when printing digital images. DPI is the resolution of an image or monitor. The higher the DPI, the higher the resolution or quality of the image.



A tiny icon image, usually containing the company logo, is displayed in the web address bar in most browsers next to the web address.

Fixed Layout

A fixed-layout has a set width (generally defined in pixels) set by the designer. The width stays the same regardless of screen resolution, monitor size, or browser window size.

Flat Design – Designer

This is a design philosophy that focuses on clean and minimalist styles. Quite literally, flat means design that has no dimensional depth. Instead of designing elements that look like you can reach out and grab them. The flat design goes back to the basics of graphics – bright colors, primitive shapes, icons, etc.

Fluid Layout

A fluid layout (sometimes called liquid layout) is layout type that uses percentages instead of pixels. The layout of the site will change with the width of the browser no matter what the width of the browser might be.


In contrast to the backend, the front-end of a website refers to the part of the site that your visitors interact with directly. So if we’re sticking with the restaurant example from above, the front-end is your server, the menus and the decorations. Basically, anything you, the customer, can see and interact with.

Wow, it’s really a long post, isn’t it? And of course, it hasn’t finished yet. Check out Part 2 of our Glossary of Web Design Terms blog series.

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