Published February 27, 2020

Web Terminology 101: Website Design Fundamentals

So you’re looking to take your business to the next level by building a new website. Or perhaps you’re refining and redesigning your current website? But all of a sudden you’re drowning in an endless sea of technical website jargon. We get it – web vocabulary can be overwhelming. Especially the acronyms – CTA, UX and now SEO too…

There are countless specialised terms referring to every aspect of web build projects. But, we’re here to help.

In this helpful guide, we focus on web terms commonly used in web design. From user experience to accessibility, we share our insider knowledge on some of the most useful web design related vocabulary. Start with these fundamental terms below and you’ll be having comfortable two-way conversations with web developers in no time!

Web Vocabulary List

1. Mobile

Traditionally, most web designers approached web projects desktop first. In the last decade, mobile traffic has rapidly increased and it now contributes at least 52.2% of global web traffic. With this in mind, many web designers have shifted to designing for smaller screen devices first. This is what we call “Mobile First Design”.
Mobile First focuses on providing a better user experience on smaller screens by adapting the key information and interface from a desktop website – less text, larger fonts, faster download speeds, one call-to-action per page etc. This enables the user to navigate through the same website without hindrance and enjoy the website as much as they would as if they were viewing it on a larger screen. This has become even more important since Google introduced algorithm updates relating to mobile-friendly websites.

2. Responsive

Responsive design refers to a style of website built around a fluid grid. The website detects the visitor’s device screen size and orientation, then it adjusts the layout accordingly. With responsive websites, the content is dynamic. The text, images and spacing react with user experience in mind, shrinking or enlarging the components to enhance usability.
While this sounds similar to mobile-first – it’s not the same thing. Mobile-first websites do not change based on the device viewing it. However, a mobile-friendly website can be achieved through a responsive design. At Jask, our best practice is to design a mobile-friendly layout first and then build the site in a responsive way so that our websites are both mobile-friendly and responsive for all devices.

3. User Experience

The user experience, also known as UX, is a design concept that encompasses all the interactions a user has with a website until the desired conversion is achieved. As the name suggests, the goal of UX is to provide a quality, meaningful and relevant experience to the user. A user-friendly website has been built with the user in mind – it’s simple and intuitive to navigate through the site, loads quickly and includes clear call-to-actions such as “learn”, “play”, “join” etc.

4. Above the fold

This term has been inherited from the newspaper industry, it was used to describe the top section of a newspaper that could be seen whilst the newspaper was folded once they hit the newsstand.
In web design terms, the “fold” refers to the part of a website that is presented to the user before they have to scroll down. The “fold” is crucial to hook visitors from the second they land on the website. Planning for the first impression is instrumental in encouraging visitors to stay, explore the site further and convert.

5. Cross-device

Now more than ever, consumers are using multiple devices to search, research and purchase products. Whether they’re browsing on the go on mobiles or at home on smart TVs, consumers want the same user experience. Cross-device is a term used when web designers take the user’s journey into consideration to ensure the users’ needs are met on each of their devices.

6. Landing page

A landing page is a standalone page on a website that is designed to highlight a particular area of service or product. The sole purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads. Rather than directing visitors from paid ads, email campaigns or social media posts to a general website, the landing page steers them into the direction the page is designed to take them.
For example, an e-commerce company typically presents an advert across the web advertising “Up to 50% off swimwear”. Once a visitor clicks on the ad, the ad sends the traffic to a page that has been set up that showcases the swimwear included in the offer. This improves the user experience, compared to sending visitors to the home page which would force people to have to find their own way through.

7. Accessibility

Web accessibility is an inclusive web development practice to ensure there are no barriers preventing people from using a website. When a website has been designed and coded with accessibility in mind, it increases its ability to be used by people with disabilities.
For example, visually impaired visitors often use screen readers or use settings to accommodate their colour blindness. Websites with visual accessibility features enable the user to adjust to the colour scheme, contrast and enlarge the text.

8. CTA

CTA is an acronym for “call-to-action” and in essence is a marketing term that refers to a piece of content such as an image, a button or a line of text that prompts users to act on a specific action. The content uses action-oriented words or phrases such as “read more” to encourage an immediate response. They’re often strategically placed in a prominent position on a website or landing page to help guide users and increase conversions.

We hope you’ve found this guide is useful, you’re now ready to converse with web designers like an expert.

Were there any terminologies that you haven’t come across before this article? Let us know by tweeting us or contacting us directly.