Web design terms at a glance

Katleen Hinz, updated on 16 September 2022
11 Min. reading time

There are now so many different terms in web design that it is impossible for a single person to understand them all.

To make it easier for you to understand these web design terms, we have listed and explained the most important terms that you should know as a web designer.

Which web design terms are the most important?

A

Accessibility

A website should be accessible to everyone, which is why accessibility is an important topic on the internet. For this reason, you should make sure that your site is accessible when you create it. 

Visually impaired people need the option to have web pages read aloud and hearing impaired people need subtitles for videos or audio files. It is best if websites are also available in easy language.

Anchor text

The anchor text, also called link text, is a text that is used as a hyperlink in an article. If you click on the anchor, you will be redirected to the target page. This anchor can be either one word or several words and stands out from the rest of the text - it is usually marked in colour and underlined.

Analysis tools

Probably the best known analytics tool is Google Analytics. Analytics tools are there to find out the number of visitors to your site. Here you can see when and how many users visit your website, how long they stay there and even which other pages your visitors click on.

You can also find out how users found your homepage, i.e. where they came from - whether through an entry in the browser, ads or via social media.

Above-the-Fold

Above-the-fold refers to the elements that users see when they click on your website - without scrolling. The term comes from journalism and means something like "above the fold". In other words, all elements that can be seen "above the fold" without opening the newspaper.

B

Backlink

Backlinks are links that lead from another website to yours. Especially when backlinks from higher ranking websites link to yours, this has a very good effect on your ranking in Google.

Backend

The backend includes the storage and processing of data that takes place in the background of apps, software or pages. Opposite: see "Frontend".

Bot

Bot is short for "robot" and refers, among other things, to the Google crawler that recognises which content is being addressed on websites. This analysis is used to determine the Google ranking of individual pages.

C

Content

Content is English and means "content". This means any content such as photos and videos to texts and diagrams on websites.

Content Management System (CMS)

Content Management System (CMS for short) is an example of the backend just mentioned. Here you can revise websites and keep them up to date. CMS helps you to make changes to your website on your own without having to hire a professional web designer. 

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS for short) is one of the most important coding languages alongside JavaScript and HTML. With CSS you can easily create websites.

D

Domain

Each page has its own unique domain. This is the website through which your business can be found later. In most cases, the domain contains the name of your company. If there are several words, they can be connected with hyphens or dots, for example. This is followed by the extension ".de", ".com" etc.

Double Opt-In

Double confirmation" refers to the double confirmation when subscribing to a newsletter. When you subscribe to a newsletter, you usually have to confirm the subscription again via a link in an email you receive.

E

E-commerce

E-commerce or electronic commerce is the buying and selling of products via websites. These can be items that are sent to the customer by post or something technical that the customer has to download after purchase.

F

Footer

Footer refers to the area of a page at the very bottom - i.e. the footer. There you will often find the imprint or other data of the company. 

Favicon

A favicon is a small icon located to the left of the address bar. Not all websites need to have this, but it is a nice extension.

Font Family

The translated "font family" is the designation of the fonts used in the CSS files. This should, if possible, be applied uniformly throughout the website. 

Frontend

Frontend is the opposite of the already mentioned backend. The frontend is everything that the visitor sees on websites.

G

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is there to track the views of users on your website - this is important for statistics. You can also record how many visitors access your site daily and where they come from.

Go-Live

Go-live is the term for the publication of your new page. After that, all users on the internet can access it.

Graphical User Interface

A graphical user interface (GUI) is, in this sense, all front-end material. It allows the user to easily interact with a website without him or her needing to know programming languages.

H

H1, H2, H3

H1 is the title of your page or article. H2 are the individual subheadings and H3 are the subheadings of H2. 

H in this case stands for "heading" and the numbers indicate the hierarchy of these headings. 

HTML

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is the most important language for coding websites. The structure and contents of a website are defined with HTML.

Hamburger icon/menu

Since some website menu bars cannot be fully displayed on mobile devices, the "hamburger menu", which is now widespread everywhere, has been developed. At this point, the menu is completely hidden and only indicated by three dashes on top of each other. After clicking on this icon, the entire menu appears in the middle of the screen.

I

Internet presence

Internet presence means the appearance on the Internet as a private or business person, but also as a company. This can be done, for example, via a website or a social media account.

J

JPEG

JPEG are digital image files that are very popular with web designers because of their high quality but small size - so web pages with a large number of images do not have long loading times.

JavaScript

JavaScript is the third programming language that can be used to create web applications. However, this is used exclusively by browsers.

K

Keyword(s)

Each article or content on your site should contain several important keywords that users could search for on this topic. However, there is always one main keyword that you should select for each article individually. This keyword represents the topic. This main keyword must be used at the beginning, at the end and organically in the main part - this increases your Google ranking.

L

Landing Page

The landing page is the page you land on when you click on a link, a website, an offer or an advertisement. It is often the case that landing pages are used to draw users' attention to certain products.

Link building

Link building is the process of building backlinks on other sites to yours (see: Backlinks).

M

Meta tags

Meta tags are not visible to users, but contain important information and data about the website for Google. This can be, for example, data about the respective content, the name of the author or publisher, or the name of the company, etc. 

Meta Description

In contrast to the tags just mentioned, the meta description is visible to everyone and even written especially for visitors. This is what is displayed in the Google search results under the heading and gives precise information about what can be found on this website.

Mobile First

Mobile First has become one of the most important web design terms. It should be the motto of all websites. Always make sure that your website looks good and works properly on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Markup

A markup encodes a text document in a markup language such as HTML.

N

Navigation

Navigating through your website should be easy for your visitors. They must be able to successfully find what they are looking for in the shortest possible time. The menu bar is particularly useful for this. This shows the topics of the website, which are provided with links to the respective pages.

O

Open Source CMS

An open source CMS is, for example, WordPress, where the codes are available to everyone. This means that any programmer can develop and add extensions or gadgets to WordPress.

One Page Design/Long Scrolling

With one-page design, or long scrolling, the content of a website is on one page instead of several. The idea here is that the user does not have to keep clicking while reading, but simply has a long page available that only has to be scrolled down.

Organic search

Organic search means that your website can be found by entering keywords in a browser - without purchased advertisements. You can achieve this by taking into account the ranking factors of the search engines (see: Search Engine Optimisation). If visitors then click on your page, you receive so-called "organic traffic".

P

Page Speed

You should always keep an eye on your page and loading speed. If it takes too long for your website to load, the user will click away directly - before he or she has even seen it.

Permalink

A permalink is a link under which a website or specific content can be found permanently. With this type of link, the URL does not change - just like with dynamic links.

PlugIn

Plug-ins are extensions for websites. With the help of WordPress, for example, you can add an infinite number of plug-ins to your site.

PHP

PHP is a scripting language that, unlike JavaScript, is server-side. With the help of PHP, dynamic websites can be created.

Q

Source text

The source code is the human-readable text of a computer programme. With the help of a programming language, designers or programmers define all the rules of an application that the computer should execute.

R

Responsive

A web design that is "responsive" complies with the motto "mobile first". As mentioned above, the focus here is on ensuring that users can view the content of websites optimally and without errors on a mobile device.

Ranking

For websites, several factors are important for Google to rank them highly. The higher Google ranks them, the more likely users are to click on your page in their search. For these factors, see "Search engine optimisation" below. 

S

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and can be divided into two disciplines: SEO and SEA. By ranking your website high thanks to these two disciplines, you automatically get more traffic. More traffic means more potential customers. More potential customers means more sales: search engine marketing. 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation means that you should create websites so that Google "likes" them. However, for this to happen, you need to make some optimisations so that the Google algorithm can detect your website. Once you have done this, it will lead to higher Google rankings and automatically to more potential customers visiting your website.

Examples of these optimisations are content that contains the necessary keywords, the aforementioned loading speed, link building and good usability. 

Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

Search engine advertising (SEA) is the placement of advertisements on the Internet or on search engines such as Google.

Homepage

The start page is the first page that is displayed when you access your website via a browser.

Screen design

Screen design is the design of all graphic elements on websites.

Sitemap

A sitemap is the structure and layout of a website.

T

Template

Template means "pattern" or "template". Templates are therefore prefabricated templates in content management systems that are intended to help you with the creation of the web design.

Traffic

Traffic is the number of visits to websites. In addition to the number of visits, it is also important how long users stay on this page and whether they return.

Day

Every element on a website is given a tag, which is used to mark the beginning and the end of this element. These are not visible to the user and usually contain code on how this element should look specifically.

U

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Uniform Resource Locator (short: URL) is the internet address of a website.

UI

UI means User Interference and refers to the place where humans and technology meet. An example of this would be the touchscreen.

UX

UX is short for user experience and plays an important role in SEO. Users should feel comfortable on your website and find their way around. If this is not the case, they will quickly leave again. Usability is the keyword here.

V

Vectors/vector graphics

Unlike raster graphics, vector graphics do not store data about the image in pixels. Vector graphics are visual elements consisting of lines, circles, curves or other geometric shapes. This has the advantage that you can enlarge the graphic as much as you like without loss of quality.

W

Web design

In short, web design is the design of websites. The structure and layout of these pages are of particular importance. All the programming languages already mentioned (JavaScript, CSS, HTML) are used for this. The design must be appealing to users and easy to use so that they trust your company and benefit from your services or products.

WordPress

WordPress is a content management system that makes it possible to build a website, design it, manage it and make changes to it - even as a layperson.

Web hosting

Web hosting is the provision of storage space (web space) so that you can store and publish your website there.

X

XML

XML is the abbreviation for "Extensible Markup Language" and is a purely text-based format that displays data in a structured and hierarchical way. It can be read by humans and machines.

Z

Target page 

A landing page is the website to which you are redirected when users click on an anchor text.

Access control

Access control can be set up for users who are not authorised to access certain data or content on a website. Newspaper or magazine websites, for example, use this control for users who do not subscribe to those newspapers or magazines. They then only have restricted access to content.

Conclusion

In addition to the terms listed here, there are of course many other web design terms. However, these are the most important ones you should know as a website owner!

If you come across web design terms that are not listed here, feel free to contact us. We can help you with your web design and answer any questions you may have.

More articles on web design

Web design tools - useful tools for web designers
Web design tips for a beautiful website
Web design terms at a glance
The web design checklist for your website
Web design services - Our services
Web design trends - the most important trends in 2022
Interactive web design - Interactive content
Responsive Web Design - What does Responsive mean?
Professional web design for companies
Webdesign Onlineshop - Design in the webshop

Article from
Katleen Hinz
Katleen is a content creator at f5.design. But above all, she is an expert in international communication and media studies. In her free time, she travels and explores the world with a zest for life.

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