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Glossary of Terms

Below is our handy guide to everyday jargon & acronyms that we use in the office. Find out what we're talking about and you might learn more about web design and development, search engine marketing, social media, landing pages, and more. This glossary is by no means a complete reference source. Give us a call if you've got any questions and we'd be happy to help you.

301 Redirect

The redirect method most commonly used is a "301 redirect". This indicates that the page you are looking for has permanently moved to the new location. It's handy for when you want to change your company domain and want to make sure people who enter your old URL still arrive at your site.


404 Error

The Error 404 "Page not found" is the error page displayed whenever someone asks for a page that’s simply not available on your site. The reason for this is that there may be a link on your site that was wrong or the page might have been recently removed from the site. As there is no web page to display, the web server sends a page that simply says "404 Page not found".


Above the Fold

Referring to the part of the web page that is visible on-screen before the user scrolls down. The term was originally used with reference to newspapers, where the newspaper would be folded and placed on a news stand. The visible part of the paper (above the fold) is what sells the paper. In web design, the part of the site that is above the fold has the same function. There must be enough content of interest above the fold to make the user want to dig deeper.


Accessibility

Refers to the structuring of web content in such a way that it is easily accessible to all users, in particular users with disabilities. Not to be confused with usability.


Alt Tags

An alt attribute is used to specify alternate text for an image. Specified inside the IMG tag in HTML, the alt attribute contains the alternate text that is displayed inside the image placeholder while the page is loading. In some browsers the mouseover tooltip will also display the text from the alt attribute (alt text). Alt text plays a role in SEO.


Bootstrap

Bootstrap is an open-source framework developed by the team at Twitter. It is a combination of HTML, CSS, and Javascript code designed to help build user interface components. It contains HTML and CSS-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, navigation and other interface components, as well as optional JavaScript extensions.


Browser

A browser is software used to access web pages. Examples include Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Not all browsers display web pages in exactly the same way, so web developers routinely test their work in various browsers before delivering to the client.


Breakpoints

Breakpoints are the point a which your sites content will respond to provide the user with the best possible layout to consume the information. When you first begin to work with Responsive Design you will define your breakpoints at the exact device widths that you are looking to target.


Call to Action

A button or element added to a website which motivates the visitor to take an action.


Coldfusion

Adobe ColdFusion is a commercial rapid web application development platform created by JJ Allaire in 1995. (The programming language used with that platform is also commonly called ColdFusion, though is more accurately known as CFML.)


Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) offers a way for a user to edit the content of a web site from within a browser-based interface, without any HTML skills required. This is a feature often built into a web site by the developer, allowing the web site owner to add, remove or change the content themselves.


Conversion

The percentage of web site visitors that take the intended action such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. In other words, what percentage of your web site visitors do what you want them to do. This is an extremely important factor in measuring the success of a web site. Ideally every element of the web design, such as choice of colors and navigation architecture, should aim to increase the web site CR.


CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is a style sheet language that determines the look of elements on a web page. Web sites can be built without CSS (it came many years after HTML), but CSS gives the web designer more power to control how the content is displayed. The main benefit of CSS is that it splits the content from the presentation. Site-wide style changes can be performed by editing the style sheet rather than every page individually.


Graceful Degredation

Adapting websites to less-than-ideal situations is a short-term strategy. Designing with a mobile-first approach doesn't help people with an existing website. ... Graceful degradation is the process of deciding how a large site should fit smaller screens or less feature-rich browsers.


Javascript

JavaScript is a client-side scripting language used to create dynamic behaviour in HTML documents. The primary use and benefit is that actions can be performed on the page without the need to reload the page. All the major browsers support JavaScript, but the user usually has the option to turn JavaScript off. For this reason JavaScript should not be used for essential content on your web site - such as menu navigation.


Landing Page

The page where a user enters a web site. In reality, any page on a web site is a potential landing page in that the user could follow a link from another site or from a search engine directly to any page within the site. In web marketing, a landing page is a page that is specifically designed to (1) attract visitors and (2) direct them towards the desired action - for example towards an order page or sign-up page. For a landing page to be effective, it has to get both right.


Meta Tags

A meta tag is an HTML tag that contains meta data specific to the web page. The most common meta tags are the meta description and meta keywords tag.


Progressive Enhancement

Progressive enhancement is a way of designing web pages so that the more features a browser supports, the more features the web page will have. It is the opposite of the design strategy known as graceful degradation.


Responsive Design

Responsive design is an approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the visitor's screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.


Search Engine Optimization

The act of creating or changing web pages so that their ranking in search engine results pages improve. Search engine optimization (SEO) is not quite the same as search engine marketing (SEM). The latter is a collective name for all search engine marketing activities including SEO, PPC marketing, link building etc.


Site Map

A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design, or a Web page that lists the pages on a website, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.


Social Media

The term social media is usually used to describe social networking sites such as: Facebook – an online social networking site that allows users to create their personal profiles, share photos and videos, and communicate with other users.


Usability

Usability refers to how easily web site visitors can find what they are looking for or accomplish a task such as contacting the company. The study of usability is critical to e-commerce, where the aim is to make the customer's path to the order page or sign-up page as clear as possible.


URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, and is used to specify addresses on the World Wide Web. A URL is the fundamental network identification for any resource connected to the web.


Web Page

A web page or webpage is a document commonly written in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) that is accessible through the Internet or other network using an Internet browser. A web page is accessed by entering a URL address and may contain text, graphics, and hyperlinks to other web pages and files.


Web Server

A web server is a computer system that processes requests via HTTP, the basic network protocol used to distribute information on the World Wide Web. The term can refer to the entire system, or specifically to the software that accepts and supervises the HTTP requests.