The Wonderful World of Web Design Terms

The Wonderful World of Web Design Terms

Whenever we have a meeting about web design, whether with clients or internally, the conversation inevitably starts to fill with technical jargon and web design terms. At first I thought our web designer was making half of them up just to sound smarter and confuse the rest of us, but after doing some research it turns out that the gibberish he’s saying actually has some meaning! Now I can stop making up words in an attempt to sound smart too. I feel really effusilish about the whole situation.

Above/Below The Fold

This is a term originating from newspaper print. The most important information is usually located above the fold of the paper because you want it to be seen first, while everything below the fold is lower priority. In regards to web design, “Above the Fold” is everything you can see on a page without scrolling down.


Some terms are simpler than they seem. The accessibility of your website refers to how accessible it is to people with disabilities, such as the visually or hearing impaired. Ensuring that your website can be seen and accessed by as many people as possible is a vital part to a successful web presence.

Back End/Front End

The Front End of a website is what is seen by the user, while the Back End is where the web designer makes any changes to the website. Changes to the Back End don’t look exactly the same as to how they’ll look on the Front End, so before anything is saved  it must be previewed to ensure it still looks proper.


A Link is anything that leads the user from one webpage to another. A Hyperlink commonly leads the user from your website to another website, such as when sourcing an article. Backlinks are any links that lead from another website back to your own.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate is the percentage of people that leave your website after visiting only 1 page. For some websites a high bounce rate is fine, especially if the majority of your information is on the main page. However, a bounce rate of 25% is ideal for most websites.


Cached files are files that don’t change very often. If the user has enabled caching in their browser, it will save these files and reuse them instead of downloading them again. This means it takes less time to load and display your web pages to repeat visitors.


E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods online. It applies to both physical objects that must be shipped or picked up, and electronic products that can be downloaded after purchase. Many businesses forego having a physical storefront and operate solely through E-Commerce instead.


The Hero, or Hero Image, is a full screen or very large image at the top of a webpage. It’s usually an eye catching display that has a short sentence or buzz word to describe some content. A Hero Image is commonly used at the top of a blog article with the featured image and title.

Landing Page

The Landing Page is the first page the user sees when they go to your website. Having a good Landing Page is vital because if the user isn’t able to find what they’re looking for within the first few seconds, you’re more likely to lose them. If you’re doing Google advertising, the Landing Page is also the page someone goes to if they click your ad. The same fundamentals apply to both uses.

Mobile Friendly

A Mobile Friendly website is designed to resize differently on mobile devices like phones or tablets. Another benefit of formatting differently for smaller devices is the reduced size of files that go along with smaller screens. The layout is also optimized for touch interfaces so it is easier to tap buttons and links with your finger instead of a mouse pointer.


A Plug-in or Extension is an application or code snippet that can be used to improve the capabilities of your website. Plug-ins are useful because they allow you to quickly add functionality to your website without having to spend extra time and money writing code that’s already been written. Programmers love sharing.

Progressive Enhancement

Much like the difference between mobile, tablets, and desktops,  web browsers also have large differences between them. Progressive Enhancement is the act of letting your website take advantage of the features available to them in the browser you’re using, while using compatibility tweaks with outdated browsers.


Search Engine Optimization refers to the act of making changes to your website in order to improve the likelihood of it showing up in related search results. Basically, if your business sells cameras and your SEO is good, your website will show up when someone searches for something like “photography equipment”.


Much like Accessibility, Usability means pretty much exactly what you think it does. The Usability of your site is how easy it is to navigate, find what you’re looking for, or use certain elements of the site. Making your website easy to use will keep potential customers from getting frustrated and leaving the site.


These are just a few of the terms that get thrown around in our meetings. If there’s any other web design terms you’ve heard and don’t know what they mean, let us know in the comments and we’ll help explain them for you. We’re here to make everything as simpilicious as possible.

In November we’ll be posting another article more focused on web design tools and coding terms like Sass, Gulp, Containerization, and more.

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