Website terms that are useful to know
Thinking about building a website but don’t know all of the jargon?
There are many technical terms designers use when making a website. Here are some common website terminologies that are helpful to know that will be useful throughout your website journey, hopefully they will help clarify a few things.
Above the fold
The phrase “above the fold” refers to all of the content that loads when you first visit a page – everything that is displayed on a page before scrolling. Having an eye-catching user friendly above-the-fold is essential to make sure the user has a positive first impression and wants to continue to use your website.
A website’s back end is everything the user doesn’t see. Backend is the term used to describe the admin section of a WordPress website where you can adjust design settings, add plugins, upload media and produce content. Most web design is not completed on the surface level but in the back-end. The wp-admin panel or WordPress admin area is another name for the WordPress backend.
The tool you use to access web pages is referred to as a browser; popular ones include Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox, and Safari. Your choice of web browser is completely your personal preference.
A cache is a special storage space for temporary files. Caching files helps applications run faster. Your browser will keep track of the websites you visit and save the files in the cache. This saves time and allows the website to run more efficiently by preventing the browser from having to read them again.
Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS for short, is a style sheet language that specifies how items appear on a web page and controls how all elements on a page will look. It controls the colours, font size, font colour, text decoration, margins, paddings, backgrounds, and so much more. Simply put, CSS is what makes websites look good! Without CSS it’s hard to create websites that are consistent, responsive and unique.
Call to action. A button, link or image that will encourage a user to take an action or navigate through a website. For example, buttons for subscribing, buying, or downloading CTAs or a link embedded in text “like this”.
Think of your website as a house, the domain is your website’s address or URL. It’s what people type into the search bar to visit your website.
Electronic commerce is any transaction or purchase that occurs over the internet.
Often overlooked in DIY websites, a favicon is an image or an icon that is associated with a website and appears next to your domain name in the address bar or next to the site name in a list of bookmarks or tabs. This can be your logo, initials or image associated with your brand.
The front-end of a website is the part that users interact with. Everything that you see when you’re navigating around the Internet, from fonts and colours to dropdown menus and sliders. It is the overall design of the website and the usability.
Hosting refers to a web server where all the files for your website are stored. Using the house analogy again, if your website is a house, then hosting is the land or space where your website lives. Hosting keeps your website constantly on the internet.
A link within a text (like this) that links to another page. A hyperlink can be an image, a button or text, it can link to another page on your website, your email, contact form or to another website or affiliate page.
A software add-on or extension that allows additional functionality and features on a WordPress website such as e-commerce, mailing lists, contact forms, membership areas etc.
Responsive layouts are adaptable and change depending on the users device and screen size. Pages are optimised to adapt and automatically scale content and elements.
Search engine optimisation is optimising your website for search engines to easily find you (index you or rank you) with the object of getting a high ranking to be the first result on a search page result. SEO is not something you can do once and be done with, its a constant practice of tweaking, testing and monitoring to get your page ranking highest in the search.
Servers are computers after a can of spinach; they work hard. They connect to other servers through the internet and store enormous amounts of data. When a browser requests a page from the server, the server responds with the requested page.
Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is a small file which is installed on a server that encrypts all data transmitted between the server and browser. SSL certificates are crucial for the security of e-commerce websites since they transmit and retain sensitive data like credit card numbers and personal information.
A theme is a template file that contains multiple coding languages which help design your website. Using a theme speeds up the process of website design by weeks as your web designer doesn’t have to build this all from scratch. Website themes are totally customisable so you can style them however you want and they can all be unique.
UI stands for User Interface and looks at the design, how the overall website looks and functionality of the website. Icons, buttons, typography, colour schemes, spacing, graphics, and responsive design are all things that a UI design will consider.
UX stands for User Experience and quite simply refers to the experience a user has while on your website. When you design a website you want it to be a positive experience for your visitors and they are able to achieve their desired task. They should be able to navigate through the website with ease, finding any information they need or products and services they are looking for, get in contact or easily make a purchase. UX ensures this is all possible. The ultimate goal of UX design is to provide users with simple, effective, relevant, and overall pleasant experiences.
These are some of the most common terms that I use when talking about website design. Hopefully they are helpful to you and you understand some of the terminology a little better after reading this.