Accessibility – refers to how easy to use or ‘accessible’ your website is, in particular to less able users such the visually impaired.
Breadcrumb trail – often also known as a pathway, the breadcrumb is a (usually) horizontal list of links which display the path to the current page from the homepage for example the breadcrumb trail to this article may be:
Home > Internet & Business Online > Web Design > ABC’s of Web Design
CSS – Cascading style sheets usually referred to as CSS are a markup language used to tell web browsers what a web pages should look like for example what colours, font styles, sizes and positions a page should use. CSS files have the file extension.css
Domain names – A domain name is the names used to find a website in a web browser for example EzineArticles.com. Domain names can also have subdomains such as blog.ezinearticles.com
Embed – A term often used generally to describe elements such as video or flash which can be ’embedded’ into a page. An embedded element is usually something which does not run natively in a web browser and required additional plugins to be installed such as a flash player.
Favicon – Short for ‘favourite icon’ the favicon is the small image displayed next to the url in most web browsers. It gets its name from a time before search engines were commonly used to find websites and favourite lists were important features. The favicon would sit next to favourite bookmarked sites.
GUI – Graphical user interface or GUI refers to the operating system which allows a visitor to get information from a computer in visual form without entering code. In its any website is a GUI although in web design this terminology usually refers to more advanced web based applications and games.
HTML – Hypertext Markup Language or HTML is the main language of the web and what most web pages use to structure their content. not strictly a programming language HTML is a very basic set of commands which a web browser can interpret to help lay out a web page.
Image map – An essentially outdated style of web design where a single image has clickable sections which link to different web pages. Image maps are rarely used in modern web design as they are considered somewhat inaccessible
JPEG – JPEG or JPG are the most common file type used for displaying images on the internet. GIF and PNG images are also popular.
Keywords – Keywords are used by search engine optimisers (SEO’s) to help search engines to understand what a page is about and return that page for relevant search results. SEO’s used to place keywords inside meta keyword tags although this practice is now outdated and keywords are now most effective if used in the page title, headings and within the copy of webpages.
Meta data – Meta data on web pages refers to additional information about the page contained in the area of the HTML which is not displayed to visitors but is instead used by machines readers such as search engine crawlers.
Navigation – Any system which allows visitors to ‘navigate their way around a website may be referred to as a navigation system. the most common navigation on websites are menus, search functions, breadcrumb trails and sitemaps
Open source – Refers to software where the source code can be accessed and edited to make it behave in a different way. The most popular open source software in web design today is the WordPress blogging platform which anyone can download, install and edit. Open source typically makes web design faster as its often easier to start with someone else’s code than to write your own from scratch.
Permalink – permanent link’s or permalinks are usually used in blogging terminology to describe the absolute link to a post or page which does not change over time. As blogs are time based with new content being added regularly the permalink of a post is where the post will still be found after it gets pushed off the homepage by newer posts.
RSS – Really Simple Syndication or RSS is a type of XML file which simplifies the contents of a website into a content ‘feed’ which can be easily published on other sites or accessed by applications such as RSS readers. Using RSS a sites contents can be read without ever having to visit the website itself.
Subdomain – A subdomain sits underneath a domain name in the hierarchy of the web. The subdomain is the part of a web address which proceeds the domain name. for example in blog.ezinearticles.com the ‘blog’ part of the address would be the subdomain while EzineArticles would be the domain. Subdomains are useful for hosting different types of content under the same domain name.
URL – universal resource locator or URL is the address of a webpage on the internet which is displayed in the address bar of a web browser.
Valid XHTML – refers to the code of a webpage which ‘validates’ against standards set out by the W3C (see below). This is an industry standard among web designers.
W3C – World Wide Web Consortium or W3C are a group who define ‘standards’ for web design technology.
XML – eXtensible Markup Language or XML is a type of markup language used to create a simple structure for online documents such as RSS feeds.
John McElborough wrote this article for Brighton web design company Bright Site who build search engine optimised and standards compliant websites for customers in Brighton, England and across the UK. This article is an introduction to some of the main terminology used by web designers. Web design can be a complex area, it can also be relatively simple if you choose the right company. Look for a web design agency who aim to cut out the jargon and explain things to you in simple terms. For a good web design agency Brighton see the Bright Site website.