An alphabetical list of common terms and phrases used by web designers and front-end web developers.
We thought it might be helpful for those people working alongside, or in partnership with web designers, to know what these terms mean?
Web design practices and techniques to ensure a website is accessible to everyone. A website’s code should include elements that are helpful for people who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers. Design being attentive to colour combinations and contrast levels.
CMSs (Content Management System) are web based applications that allow those, with little or no knowledge of web design or development, to manage their website. Typically this would include the ability to create new pages/views, edit existing content, as well adding and managing features such as membership or donation processing.
A ‘big-picture’ blueprint strategy for a website’s content. Best enacted at the planning stage. This should range from; the practicalities of what content should be included, to; should content be freshly produced to reflect a different style or tone?
Structuring website content in a logical and systematic way. Methods include categorisation, serialisation and heirarchical systems. Particularly important for large websites, and should form part of the ‘planning’ phase.
This relates to a website being fast and responsive, with minimum delay between any user interactions. This could be the time it takes for a web page to appear, or the time taken to re-draw a map as a user zooms in. Optimisation techniques, the website’s audience and their connection speeds, plus the server set-up; will all be important factors in determining performance.
Defining the boundaries of your web design and development project. A focus on what your website is able to achieve, and what it cannot. Aims, technical requirements, site management and budget will help in determining project scope.
As with other professions, web design prototyping allows design ideas to be tested, and for experimentation to take place. Prototyping is useful by emulating real-world scenarios, where problems can be caught and corrected early on.
The primary group of people you hope to attract to your website. Web designers should consider how your website’s design can be tailored to draw attention from these people, and keep them engaged.
Typography is the precise design of text or ‘lettering’ on a website. It combines legibility, structure and aesthetic qualities to present typographic styles and patterns for texts. Selecting typefaces, colours, font weights, font sizing, line-spacing and line lengths, are just some typographic options available to web designers.
An aspect of web design that considers a website’s ease of use. The goal is to remove any component of the design that may confuse, obstruct or frustrate those using the website.
User Experience (UX)
An aspect of web design that considers the visitor’s overall experience when using a website, and what can be done to ensure the experience is a favourable one. UX goes beyond usability, in that it seeks to draw a positive emotional response from the user.
User Interface (Website UI/GUI)
Similar to, and interchangeable with, web ‘page’ or ‘view’; a screen-based, interactive interface. A term more commonly used in relation to web interfaces that require a high level user interaction, as opposed to passive activities, such as just reading content.