Web design terms written in chalk on a blackboard
Web design terms written in chalk on a blackboard

The cornerstone of a great website design is communication. But, in an industry rife with jargon like Web design, communication can be tricky between the designer and layperson. Without knowledge of basic Web design terminology, it can be a challenge for a business owner to clarify how they want their site to look and work or to understand exactly what their designer is talking about.

To make the Web design process as productive as possible it helps if everyone involved speaks the same language! So, here are 20 key terms to know (in alphabetical order) when discussing your website redesign with your Web designer. How many do you already know?

Analytics – The process of analysing visitor traffic on your website. Using web analytics, you can automatically track things like the number of people that visit your website, where they are visiting from, which pages are the most popular, conversions, and a whole lot more. Web analytics is a great tool for measuring your traffic and identifying areas of your website that can be improved. GoogleAnalytics is the most widely used Web analytics service.

Backend – The backend of a website is a very technical concept. However, when a designer refers to the backend of a site with a client, they simply mean the administration area of the website where various settings can be changed and content (like blog posts) can be updated. This admin area is typically accessed via a content management system (see below).

Browser Testing – Before your website goes live, the template should be tested on a number of different browsers to ensure that it displays nicely on various browser versions and operating systems and on all devices. This is called browser testing.

Call to Action (CTA) – A button, link, banner or graphic that prompts website visitors to take action by clicking on it. Think “Book Now” buttons, “Sign Up For Our Newsletter” buttons and “Read More” links.

Content Management System – A program that is used to manage the content on your website. A content management system (CMS) allows users with little or no knowledge of Web design and programming to easily update content on their site, such as blog posts, other written copy and images.

Domain Name – A website’s address, typically ending in .com, .net or .ca, for example. A domain name represents a physical point on the Internet (i.e. on a Web server) where a website is located an IP address, which is actually made up of a series of numbers. Domain names, like www.yourhotel.com, are assigned to websites so that users don’t have to remember the numerical IP address to access the site.

DPI – DPI stands for “dots per inch” and refers to the resolution of an image or monitor/screen. The higher the DPI, the higher the resolution or quality of the image. Technically, DPI is a printing term; you may also hear the term PPI “pixels per inch” which is the more accurate term for the resolution of digital images (that are not printed) and monitors.

Frontend – The face of your website; what people see and interact with when they visit your website on a computer, tablet or smartphone. When your designer talks about frontend design, they are talking about the graphic design and layout of your site, as well as the user experience.

Hosting – A website is stored on a web server a computer that is connected to the Internet 24/7 and from which your site is available on the World Wide Web. Hosting refers to the service of providing storage (and accessibility) of your website on such a server.

Infinite/Parallax Scrolling – Infinite scrolling and parallax scrolling are technically two different concepts but are often used together. Infinite scrolling refers to a popular design trend where all website content is presented on a single scrolling page, rather than a collection of separate pages. Parallax scrolling is a design technique where foreground images move faster than background images during scrolling, creating the illusion of depth.

Responsive Web Design – The technique of designing a website for optimal viewing on all screens, from desktops to smartphones. A responsive website features coding that allows it to automatically detect the device it is being viewed on and adapt layout and touchscreen functionality accordingly for an optimal user experience on all devices.

SEO – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the very important process of improving the organic (unpaid) ranking of your website on search engine result pages (SERPs) through the likes of Google, Yahoo and Bing. The higher your website ranks on SERPs, the more traffic it will receive. Various SEO tactics are used in the design of a website, including consistent domain names, keywords, quality backlinks, relevant content and page-load speed.

Sitemap – A sitemap is a kind of interactive table of contents for your website. A visual map or list of your website’s pages, typically organized in a hierarchical fashion, the sitemap helps website visitors find content on your site, and helps search engines to quickly index new and difficult-to-find pages. A sitemap is also a useful planning tool when designing your website.

Slider – Sometimes called carousels or slide shows, sliders present images or other content, such as interactive marketing banners, in a slide show format that often spans the top of the homepage. Images can change automatically, like a slide show, or users can flick through them as they please by clicking or tapping on a button or arrow. Acting as the focal point of the page, sliders are a popular and effective design feature on websites for lodging and tour operators because they can showcase big, beautiful images that immediately grab the attention of the viewer and portray the experience of the stay or activities.

UX or User Experience Design – Design that focuses on the usability of a website through the likes of clear and intuitive navigation, graphics and calls to action for maximum user satisfaction.


At World Web Technologies we work a lot with WordPress sites, so here are some important WordPress terms to know (not in alphabetical order):

WordPress – One of the most popular and easy-to-use blogging and website content management systems in existence today that allows users to create and manage full-featured websites.

Theme – In terms of WordPress, a theme is essentially a customizable template for the presentation or style of a website, including colors, font styles, page layouts and blog style. Users can choose from different themes to find one that aligns with the desired look of their site. Themes can also be changed without altering the content or backend of the site. There are free themes and premium themes. Web designers can tweak or even create their own themes for further customization.

Plugins – Plugins are small programs that can be added to a WordPress site to expand the functionality of the website. There are literally thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins that allow users to enhance their website in all sorts of ways (customer facing and administrative), like adding photo galleries and sliders, adding contact forms and social icons, monitoring web visitor statistics, automating SEO, automatically backing up their site. The list really is endless; there’s a plugin for everything!

Widget – A WordPress widget allows you to add blocks of content and features to the sidebar, header and footer of your site. Different themes and plugins allow you to add different widgets like widgets that list popular or recent blog posts, display your social media follower count, show your business’ location on Google Maps, display the current date and time and weather, add search bars and newsletter signups, etc.

Dashboard – The dashboard is the first screen you see when you log into the administration area (or content management system) of your WordPress site. The dashboard gives you a general overview of your website, from the theme you are using and the number of pages your website has, to recently published blog posts and visitor comments. From the dashboard, you can easily manage your site’s content and features, such as adding blog posts, plugins and widgets and even changing the theme.

Here at World Web Technologies Inc., our focus on clear communication between the Web designer and client results in successful designs based on the wants and needs of the client, the right Web technology and our extensive experience designing for the hospitality industry. We welcome you to contact us to discuss your Web design needs.