Web Design Glossary


Web Design Glossary


Ajax which is short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML utilizes  a combination of programming languages to process users request immediately. The languages it uses are JavaScript, XML, the Document Object Model (DOM), dynamic HTML (DHTML) and XMLHttpRequest.


alt Tag

An alt tag is used only when an image is hyperlinked as an alternative anchor for the hyperlink in case the image cannot be displayed properly or in the case where the device does not support images.



A backlink is a link from another website to a page on your site. Backlinks play a crucial role in search engine optimization(SEO) as one of the determinants of your site’s rank is the number of other high ranking websites that link back to your site.



Bandwidth refers to the rate at which data is transferred from one point to another point in a data network such as the Internet. This is usually measured in bits per second or (Bps).



In a website banners are graphics located anywhere on the page though normally at the top or on the side for marketing and advertising purposes. They can be in the form of text or an image. Although a site can generate revenue by placing banners to advertise other sites, they sometimes opt not to as it can impede the existing website design.



Booleans are a data type that either return a true or false result by checking the data against a test based on the conditions that will return a true and a false.



When a user navigates around a website, they can keep track of the page they are currently on through breadcrumbs which are located at the top right hand corner of the page. Breadcrumbs display the page along with subpages of the page you are located on.



When you view a website or webpage, you do it in a browser. Examples of browsers are Safari, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Due to their differences it is important to make sure your website design is adjusted accordingly otherwise your page may not display correctly some browsers.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

In website design a crucial element of the design aspect are cascading style sheets. The CSS file describes how the HTML file will look like. With CSS we implement similar styling to different pages and elements without having to do it individually for each element. The reference to the stylesheet is input at the beginning of each webpage in the HTML.

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Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is a content editor which is usually online that enables users to add, edit and publish content on a website without the knowledge of HTML. The editor separates the coding elements from the design aspect. An example is the WordPress Visual editor whereby users with no experience of coding can create beautiful website design.



Compression allows files to be made smaller than their original size in order to reduce the amount of storage space taken up by the file and speed up website loading times.



A cookie is a line of text that a website stores on a users hard disk. Doing so enables faster processing times when the user reloads the same webpage again and also give the website to deliver personalized content to the user.



In an XHTML or HTML document the DOCTYPE declaration located at the top of the document tells the file which version of HTML is being used.



A domain refers to the name which is a unique identifier for a website. Domains are attached to an Internet Protocol (IP) address.



E-commerce which is short for electronic commerce is a term used for the purchasing and sale of goods and services through online platforms. Many start-ups these days utilize e-commerce as a way to cut costs associated from running traditional brick and mortar stores as well being able to reach a wider customer base. In terms of website design and internet marketing, the implementation of e-commerce must be carefully considered. Payment methods need to ensure secure transactions and businesses must have the ability to track their sales for marketing purposes.


Error 404

The Error 404 message is displayed when the URL that is typed in does not have a page linked to it or the page may have been moved to another URL.



Elements are the main tools used to build a HTML document. An example of an element is the opening and closing div tag <div> and </div>.



An em is a font-size unit which is a relative measure. Therefore  one em is equal to the default font size on whichever screen the user is viewing the website. Using ems are especially useful for creating mobile responsive websites.


Extensible Markup Language(XML)

The extensible markup language is used to write other markup languages or in other words new languages. It enables users to customize the language to their specifications and share it with other users without having to build a structure for the output of the data.

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See that little image next to the URL, well that is a Favicon. These tiny icons can be personalized but are most likely the logo or another image representative of the website.



When you view a webpage the fold is the point or imaginary line after which you need to scroll down to browse more content. For website design the fold is important to keep in mind. This is because it differs based on browser size and when a page first loads there is certain information that a user should be able to view without scrolling.



The font-family refers to the group of typefaces that share similar characteristics. There are certain fonts which are designated as safe fonts hence they will display accurately in all browsers and devices.



FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol which enables the transfer of files between computers through the Internet.



Colors are standardized in web design with hexadecimal values which use a base-16 numbering system. Each value can either be the numbers 0 through 9 or the letters a through f. Hexadecimal values always begin with the pound sign#, are case-sensitive and are up to 6 digits long.



HTML or HyperText Markup Language is used to write webpages using HTML tags. Each HTML tag defines a different element on the webpage.



A hyperlink refers to a link that connects from one website to another site or to another page on the same site. Most often texts and images are used as hyperlinks which can be determined by a clickable icon when you hover over them.


Image Map

In XHTML, web developers take advantage of image maps so that they can make different elements of the image map clickable, while leaving some of them unclickable. For web development, image maps carry some great benefits among them the ability to optimize storage space by combining several images into an image map.

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Inheritance is the principle whereby of CSS elements without a defined style will take on or inherit the styles of their parents.



Internet Service Provider or ISP is the company who gives you your internet access.



JavaScript is the language that enables us to build interactive websites. With JavaScript, we can animate normally static HTML elements as well as program with greater speed.



JPEG is the abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Images are saved in the JPEG format as it allows for compression of file size while giving the user to determine the quality of the file.



Keywords are one of the cornerstones of internet marketing especially in terms of Search Engine Optimization. The content writer or internet marketer will create different focus keywords for the website that they want the site to get indexed for on search engines.



Metadata constitutes of the data that describes the content of the page that a user is currently on. However, this data is not visible to the user and can only be viewed in the source code. Metadata is considered a search engine optimization (SEO) tool as it allows search engines to categorize webpages and websites.


Meta tag

Meta tags are the HTML tags that contain the metadata. They are nested between the head tags in the HTML document. There are several different meta tags for the storage of metadata including description, robots and keywords tags.



Navigation most commonly refers to the different elements and aspects of the site that provide information about where a user is in the site and enable them to move around the website. Implementing flawless and easy navigation in web design is also crucial to the optimizing a user’s experience on the site.

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A very popular internet marketing tool is email marketing. During an email marketing campaign it is important to ensure that everyone who subscribed is actually someone who wanted to receive email communications from you. Failure to do so can result in having your messages marked as spam by these people.


Organic Search

When you google something you will notice two different types of results on the page: the websites with the words sponsored ads beneath them and those without. A paid search will reveal the first type of results as companies have paid for those particular keywords and those which rank highly usually have paid the most. An organic search on the other hand reveals those sites which rank because of how popular they are and the companies’ own internet marketing efforts.


Outbound link

An outbound link describes a link to an external site from your website. Your online marketing strategy must balance outbound links with internal site links. By linking to other sites you might also be able to get those sites to develop backlinks to your website. However, proceed with caution as too many external links will get people off your webpages instead of on it.



PDF stands for Portable Document Format and was the brainchild of Adobe. It was intended as a means of storing and viewing information without losing formatting changes due to different software and operating systems.



Permalinks refer to permanent links that always stays the same. Such links are commonly found in blog posts since they are frequently updated. This gives readers a way to save the link to a specific post even after that post is no longer viewable on the page they originally read it on. As a result, it makes a website or blog easier to navigate.



Portable Network Graphics or PNG is an image format that allows for compression without the loss of quality. However, this may mean larger image file sizes.



A property is an aspect of a CSS selector(which can be any HTML element) such as font-color, font-size or font-family.


Pseudo-class selector

A pseudo-class selector is a tool for web developers and web designers to access HTML elements that are not part of the document tree. With these selectors you can control the appearance of unvisited as well as visited links. This includes links that a user is hovering over but has not clicked on yet. For instance, you will notice in some websites when you hover over a link, it changes color.



The resolution refers to the quality of the images or videos displayed on a screen and is usually measured in pixels per inch. As a result, higher resolutions will have a greater number of pixels per inch.



SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it defines how well a website is designed to rank higher on search engines such as Google. There are several SEO techniques including the use of header tags, meta-tagging, focus keywords and having good content.



A sitemap displays how the pages in a site are organized.



A subdomain refers to a domain that is a subset of a broader domain. Subdomains give us the ability to split up a domain without having to create a new domain. The subdomain will precede the domain name with a period before the domain name in the URL.



When we say tag we mean the set of markup characters which alert us to the beginning and ending of an HTML element.



The Uniform Resource Locator also known as the web address indicates where a particular document can be found on the Internet. For example https://topcomarketing.com tells us the URL or where the Topco Marketing home page is located on the web.


Web Design

The purpose of web design is to create a website that is aesthetically pleasing using a delicate balance of graphics, colors and other design aspects. During the web design phase, the functionality of the website design is not taken into lengthy consideration.


Web Development

Web development is concerned with programming aspect of the website, paying less attention to the “look” of the site. To get the site operating, web development involves the use of different programming languages including HTML.



An abbreviation for What You See Is What You Get. The name says it all but what it is commonly know for are editors such as HTML editors which show the content and graphics of a webpage instead of the code while you edit the page. In this view the final webpage will probably look exactly or almost like it was on the editor. WordPress is an example of a software which is popular among experienced web designers and people with no coding knowledge as it has the option to code in HTML as well as enabling the use of a WYSIWYG editor for website design and website development.


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