Web Design terms and jargon you need to know

Marlena Walburg

Designing a website is a fascinating process. However, it is not only about the great look that a talented designer imagines and then turns to reality, but also about how it feels. Hence the amount of knowledge a web designer must acquire. It is undoubtedly significant, and that’s not all. You also need a lot of intuition and constant observation of dynamically changing trends. There are a lot of terms and jargon about web design. We have compiled a large part of them in the practical glossary below. So see web design terms and jargon you need to know.

What are the terms used in Web Design?

The list is already long, but it is still not the whole of the existing terminology! Nevertheless, we tried to put the web design essentials here. Let’s get started.


The fact that people with disabilities need special attention and improvements should be obvious. Hence, accessibility in web design, i.e. designing for people who face various difficulties related to their disability on a daily basis. For example, such improvements are larger icons, voice navigation or a dedicated guide. Accessibility is critical on government websites related to healthcare, banking, etc.

Alt tag

Also known as “alt attribute” and “alternative description”, the alt tag is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative to the images appearing on the page. The use of alt tags plays a significant role in website optimization and helps rank higher in SEO.

Anchor text

This term is used to describe the clickable text in an HTML hyperlink. Anchor text is also known as a link label or link text. By the fact that search engines analyze the anchor text from hyperlinks on websites, anchor texts have an impact on SEO.

Back end

The back end, or server-side of a website, is basically everything that happens behind the scenes and is not visible to the user. These are all processes and technical details, information architecture, database, etc.


Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to the target website, your website. They can effectively improve your web page search results, especially if those links contain keywords.

Bad neighborhood

This cryptic term refers to the server on which the site is hosted, as well as other sites that contribute to the creation of this “bad neighborhood”. A site hosted on a server with other poor-quality, bad practice, or spamming sites can be punished by search engines solely for their proximity to these sites. Hence the term neighborhood. For this reason, it is crucial what hosting you choose for your website.


It is the maximum amount of data transferred over the internet connection in a given period of time. Typically, bandwidth is expressed as a bitrate and measured in bits per second (bps).

Bounce rate

It is the term used to analyze web traffic for internet marketing purposes. A site’s bounce rate represents the percentage of people who visit and leave your site from the exact location, i.e. the same page they entered, without navigating to other pages. Bounce rate is calculated by counting the number of visits to a single page and dividing that number by the total number of visits, then expressed as a percentage of all visits. It is an essential parameter in assessing the effectiveness of a website and its ability to engage visitors.


It is a navigation technique used in website user interfaces, and its purpose is to allow users to track their current location. Bread crumbs typically appear horizontally at the top of the page, below the title bars and headings. They are hyperlinks back to the pages that the user has previously traversed to reach the current page. This term comes from the designation of the travelled road with crumbs left by Hansel and Gretel, the heroes of a popular children’s fairy tale.


It is a process in which some of the data collected in the sources with extended access time and lower bandwidth is additionally stored in the memory with better parameters. It is to improve the speed of access to information that is likely to be needed shortly. So basically, cached files are those that are saved by a web browser to load the page faster the next time that user visits the site.

Call to Action

Identifies any item that has been designed to encourage the immediate sale or other specific desired action. Most often, it is a specific text, image, banner or button that prompts the user to act with its action-oriented form. CTAs are designed to take the user from one side to the other and get them to take an expected, predetermined action.


Cascading style sheets (CSS) are used to describe the presentation (display) of web pages. A CSS stylesheet is a list of directives, the so-called rules that determine how the web browser displays the content of the selected HTML or XML element or elements. This way, you can describe all the concepts responsible for presenting web document elements – text colour, font family, margins, the position of a given element, etc.


Content Management System (CMS) is software that allows you to create and run a website easily, manage, create and modify content, as well as later update and expand the website, also by non-technical people.


They are also called web cookies, internet cookies, browser cookies or simply cookies. These are small blocks of data created by a web server when a user browses a website and is placed on the user’s device by a web browser. They allow web servers to store stateful information or track a user’s browsing activity, saving for later use information that the user has previously entered into form fields, such as passwords, forms, etc.

Domain name

It is a name that identifies a network domain or represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server hosting the website or the website itself, or any other service communicated over the Internet. Domain names are created according to the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS).


This abbreviation means Dots Per Inch. It is a unit used to define the resolution of images generated by devices such as printers, plotters, etc. This concept is prevalent and often used as a colloquial substitute for related terms, such as PPI (Pixels Per Inch) – a unit of raster image resolution.


It is the process of concluding commercial transactions via the Internet, regardless of the tools or means used. Goods and services are ordered online, but operations such as payment and final delivery of the ordered goods or service can be made online or offline. Transactions can be made between companies, individuals, government agencies or other private and public organisations.


It is an icon that appears in front of the address in the address field of a web browser or on a tab with an open website. 


It is a computer writing medium, a set of graphically related glyphs with certain standard features saved in electronic form, usually in a single file. They often create font families that can also fall into a general category, such as “serif” or “sans-serif”.

Focal point

It is the central part of a website where their eyes are naturally drawn to. It can be any content like image, text, video. It attracts the website visitor’s attention, so it is worth including content that is important from the point of view of the website owner.


Also described as client-side, the front end is about the presentation layer of the software, including websites. Generally, the front end is a part that the user sees and interacts with.


A graphical user interface is a form of UI that allows users to interact with devices through visual means instead of text-based user interfaces, typed command labels, or text navigation. Generally, it relates to the front end of the website.


It is the sharing of server room resources by the ISP. Put simply, hosting is the webserver on which your website’s files are stored, operated, and maintained. The server allows visitors to access the site via a web browser or a mobile device connected to the Internet.


Hypertext Markup Language is the standard markup language for documents intended to be displayed in a web browser. HTML describes the structure of a web page semantically and initially gives hints about the document’s appearance. Web browsers receive HTML documents from a web server or local storage and render the documents into web pages.

Landing Page

It is a single website, the first page visited by visitors obtained from marketing or canvassing activities undertaken by the company. The landing page can be a standalone page, a micro page, or part of a larger website.


It is a uniquely constructed, unchangeable URL that refers to a specific resource. Direct links are often rendered very simply, as clean URLs, to make them easier to type and remember.

Responsive design

Responsive design or responsive web design is an approach to designing websites so that its layout automatically adjusts to the size of the browser window on which it is displayed, for example, browsers, smartphones or tablets, from the minimum to the maximum size of the display.


In the case of displays, it refers to the physical number of pixels displayed on the screen. It is usually quoted as width × height, with the units in pixels: for example, 1024 × 768 means the width is 1024 pixels, and the height is 768 pixels.


Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website or website from search engines. SEO targets free traffic, organic results, not direct or paid traffic (ads). SEO includes editing the source code of a website, which is designed to adapt it to the requirements of search engines and to eliminate technical errors that cause problems with the proper functioning and indexing of the website by web robots.


Uniform Resource Locator (URL) refers to an Internet resource that specifies its location on a computer network and the mechanism for downloading it. It is commonly known as an internet address, and URLs are most common for websites even though other apps like email clients use them.


This term refers to the ease with which a visitor uses the site in an intended manner. Usability can be defined as the capacity of a system to provide a condition for its users to perform the tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently while enjoying the experience. Hence, it tells you whether the navigation, content or any interactive elements are easy to use and work as intended. The target user will not need any special introduction to use the site.


User experience is how a user interacts with a website (but also an application, service or any product) and experiences them. UX encompasses your perceptions of usability, ease of use, and performance. While user experience is subjective, there are nevertheless objective attributes, and following them is good practice in user experience design. UX Designers mainly handle it. However, Web Designers and Developers should also have at least basic knowledge in this field as design and development go hand in hand in this case.


Also known as a page diagram or screen plan, the website wireframe is a visual guide showing the placement of elements and content to achieve a specific goal best. Such a goal is usually guided by a business goal and a creative idea. Wireframe typically lacks typographic style, color, or graphics as the main emphasis is on functionality, behavior, and content prioritization.


The term What You See Is What You Get refers to the software’s ability to show users exactly what the result will look like without the need for additional work or coding. The idea behind the concept is that changes are automatically reflected in the final result and visible to the user.

What are the 4 stages of web design?

Web design commonly consists of such phases as research, wireframing, actual visual design and launch. The purpose of the research and discovery phase is to get as much information as possible and understand the bigger picture of the website design. All market metrics and data about competition, user needs or market trends are collected. Sketching the wireframes gives an initial outline of the structure and appearance of the page. It is an iterative process because the skeletons evolve to arrange all the website elements following good UX practices optimally. Usually, the UX designer deals with it in cooperation with the design team. After creating the final wireframes, it goes to the proper graphic design of the website. Colors, typography, images, and other elements are introduced into the skeletons. Advanced projects also receive a clickable prototype to show interactions. After the designs are approved, the project goes to web developers who will code the website.

What are the 5 principles of web design?

Web design has many rules. Among them, the striving for simplicity is undoubtedly worth mentioning. It does not mean that the site should be poor or dull. The point is for the website to achieve its goal, be transparent and allow the user to find what he needs quickly and easily. Another rule is to create logical, simple navigation. You need to help your visitors navigate freely with the design and layout of the website. Another important rule is to create a logical visual hierarchy that will also help with navigation and show which elements will first attract the visitor’s attention. A good visual hierarchy will help keep visitors on the site longer. An important principle of web design is testing the website from its initial stages of development. It will contribute to greater reliability of the website, give space for changes to be applied according to early users’ feedback, and allow errors to be ruled out before launching. In addition to this, let’s add the proper optimization of the page to load quickly and so that users do not abandon it immediately.


Although some of the web design terms are not included in our glossary, those above are essential and help understand many of the basic web design concepts and principles. It is worth getting acquainted with them even if you are not a web designer or developer but have your own website. If you’re planning to develop your web-based project, check out our Web Development Services, including dedicated website design and other processes depending on your needs.

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