45 Web Design Terms: The Basic Glossary in 2024

 / February 17, 2024

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? This article about web design terms is for you!

Web Design Terms that You Have to Know

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 things easier.

Basic web design terms for non-designers

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 a 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 mistyped the URL.

A

Alignment

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

B

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

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.

Browser

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

C

Cache/Caching

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

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 required technical knowledge of web code e.g. HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, etc.

Conversion

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.

Cookies

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 at you because they see your cookies and know what you’re interested in.

CSS

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.

D

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

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.

F

Favicon

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 a 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.

Front-end

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.

H

web design – Home Page

When visitors access your website, this is the first thing catching their eyes. The home page usually gives the viewer an overall look at your company. Just like a saying that goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, first impression always matters, make sure it’s a good one!

Hosting

Hosting allows you to make your website accessible via the internet. These is the web servers where your website files are housed, served, and maintained.

HTML

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language which is the main language used to write webpages and used by your browser to display your site to the user. It allows the system to know what is supposed to be an image, and what is supposed to be text copy.

Take this as an example: Designveloper. Clicking on those words and you will be taken to another web page. That’s how hyperlinks work. It’s a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or another one. Usually, these are text or images and are highlighted in some way.

I

Infinite Scrolling

Its name already told it all! Infinite Scrolling refers to layouts with very long pages that require lengthy scrolling. It is actually a popular trend on the web design scene right now.

Information Architecture

It refers to the organization of the information, dealing with what pages go wherein a website’s structure, what content is contained on each page and how each of these interacts with other pages within the site

L

Landing Page

In the purest sense, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. Oftentimes, a special landing page is designed for a specific business purpose (usually in connection with an advertising or marketing campaign)

Liquid Layout

See Fluid Layout

M

Mega Tags

Meta Tags are an HTML tag which provides information about a given web page such as description, author, copyright, etc. One of the reasons they are used is to assist search engines to categorise a website correctly.

Mockup

Mockups are basically real size models of how your design can plan to look.

N

The elements that appear on a website to take you to different pages. While it is most often thought of the “menu bar” located on the top or side of a website. It can also include text links at the bottom of the page.

P

Page Template

This term refers to a unique page layout for a website. Your website can have multiple templates. For example, the homepage and contact page of a website look different and contain different elements, therefore they are two different page templates.

Plug-in

A plug-in is a bit of third-party code that extends the capabilities of a website. It provides a way to extend the functionality of a website without having to redo the core coding of the site.

R

Responsive Design

Responsive design creates the layout that magically adjusts itself to fit any sizes of the screen, whether desktop, mobile, or smartphone.

Recommended reading: 5 Best Benefits of Responsive Web Design for Your Business

RSS

We think it also referred to the Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows content to be syndicated from one site to another. On blogs, we most commonly used it.

S

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is a crucial element of any website design and development and it is the method that helps search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) understand the information on your website in order to rank higher in organic search results. This includes metatags and ALT attributes.

Single-page Sites

Basically, single-page sites are nothing but a single page without any additional pages. Instead of using the main navigation, with single-page sites, the whole page exists on only one long page which offers a faster and clear reading experience.

Recommended reading: 5 Benefits of a Single Page Website for Your Business

U

User Interface (UI)

The user interface is simply how a user interacts with the design on a page.

User Experience (UX)

UX design process focuses on human interaction with the computer or device.

URL

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It’s the address that specifies where on the Internet a site can be found.

W

White Space

We called negative space like white space. It’s the blank space that surrounds the text, images, or other parts of the page. One more thing adding, white space is not necessarily white but uses the background color of the site.

Conclusion

That’s a look at some of the more common web design terms you’ll see in the web world. Now you’re practically a web designer, right? Just kidding! But guess what? You are totally ready for your meetings with a design agency!

By no means is this the be-all-end-all of web design terminology… so feel free to add your own glossary in the comments as well. Did you miss out on the first installment of this series?

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