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Web Design Terms for Dummies Vol. 2

Web Design Terms for Dummies Vol. 2

Posted on Jul 07, 2016 by

Welcome to the second part of Web Design Terms for Dummies. In Volume 1, visual design and discovery terms were introduced, as well as a few more general terms. In this article, we will touch on five very common and important terms in a story form for better understanding. We will later introduce the final set of web design terms in an upcoming section called: Development, Testing and Launch.

At work, in school, or maybe in a normal conversation about the Internet, a few very common terms may seem familiar to you, but do you really know what they mean? Domain name, hosting, webpage, homepage and website architecture go hand in hand. These five terms will be used from the time you start a website to the very end.

Think of your home. Just like a house, a website needs some kind of plan before being built. Website architecture is the design and planning that is needed to satisfy user requirements; think of this as the house blueprint. Next part of the house is the address.  The domain name is the identifier for each website. Each domain name is specific to a website, just like a house address. Then comes the land that you will build your house on. A hosting environment is a web server that stores and maintains the website’s files. In a way, the hosting environment is like the land that a house will be “stored” on. InMotion hosting is one of the best options available on the marke. A webpage contains all the content that can be accessed by the viewer. A webpage can be compared to the actual house. Lastly, both a website and a house have one aspect that viewers/visitors see first. For a website, the first thing that people generally see is the homepage. From the homepage the viewer can navigate through the site for more information. For a home, the front door is the first thing a visitor sees and is the starting point before navigating through other rooms in the house. By remembering each of these terms and how they relate to a house, a conversation with your web design team will be a little easier.

Other terms that may come up when speaking about the website’s development, testing and launch are the following:

  • Back-End Development: the behind the scenes of the website. There are applications, coding, and information structures that are not visual to the average viewer’s eye.
  • Cache/Caching: temporary memory storage on a website that allows the web page to load faster the next time the viewer returns.
  • CSS: Computer code that designs the look and feel of a website, but does not refer to the actual content located on the website.
  • eCommerce: the term used to describe the process of buying and selling goods through an internet platform.
  • Elastic Layout/ Responsive Design: a layout that allows the web page to proportionally conform to any textsize changes.
  • Front-End Development: All content and components that the website viewer can see. Opposite of Back-End Development.
  • Graceful Degradation: in order to prevent the fatal failure of a system, graceful degradation refers to a computer or any electronic machine that can continue limited functions after large parts of it has been destroyed.
  • HTML: stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It is a computer language used for constructing and displaying text, images, videos and links.
  • JavaScript:  a computer language that is used to create interactive effects on a webpage.
  • Quality Assurance (QA): the reassurance that the product will be of the highest quality and every stage of the process will be completed with a high attention to detail.
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Last phase of the software testing process. During this testing phase, the developer tests the software to make sure it can handle real-world scenarios and instructions.

After reading Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, we hope you have learned a little more about what it is that we do here and what our common vocabulary is. If you would like to learn more about managing content on your website or how to alter it’s appearance, check out FirstSiteGuide’s Cheat Sheet.

Next time you get that meeting with the Santa Cruz Website Design, Inc. team, you head will be held high and your web design terms ready to go! If you’re still looking for the perfect agency to change up your web appearance, contact HMG Creative here.

Kate Gothing

Advertising Student at UT Austin; Social Media and Marketing Intern at HMG Creative; World traveler and burger enthusiast. Follow her on Instagram @kategothing

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