Web design terminology is something every web designer must know if they want to be proficient in their field. You must know these terms in order to effectively collaborate on projects with a design team. If you are interacting with clients, it is important to be able to explain complicated and highly-technical terms in a straight-forward manner.
If you want to become a web designer, this guide is a resource to use as your web design terminology cheat sheet. This list of web design terms can be helpful even if you work in a tech role outside of web design. Read on to dig into this glossary of web design terminology.
What Is Web Design?
Web design is the process of laying out websites and making them appealing and functional. This web design process involves using every design technique you know to improve the overall look of a website, as well as its functional elements.
This means web designers are responsible for a multitude of tasks including graphic design, layouts, user interface, responsive design, and using interactive elements to create dynamic content. Together, all of these parts will result in a positive user experience.
Web designers who can code and know how to make something visually appealing are in huge demand, as they can single-handedly create a responsive web design and also maintain it. Even a basic understanding of how to build a source code will go a long way if you’re a web designer. Combining your coding knowledge with web design terminology will help your colleagues better understand your work.
Who Uses Web Design Terminology?
Web design terminology is mainly used by web developers and digital designers, UX designers, people who work with SEO ranking, and graphic designers. However, anyone working in a computer-related field, from digital publishing to data processing or software creation will also frequently use these web design terms.
As mentioned earlier, anyone working in the tech or design industry will greatly benefit from these terms. As such, web design terminology is commonly used across a wide variety of industries.
List of Web Design Terms: Things Every Web Designer Should Know
- 301 redirect
- 404 error
- Alt tag
- Call to action
- Content management system
- Conversion rates
- Domain name
- Domain Name System
- Information architecture
- Landing page
- Lazy loading
- Meta tag
Glossary of Web Design Terminology: 5 Common Web Design Terms
Below are five of the most common web design terms you should know if you work as a web designer, a graphic designer, or any related tech role.
The 404 not found error is one of the most common errors you will come across in a browser window. It means that the page you are looking for cannot be found on the server. This usually occurs when the content being requested has been deleted, or if you typed in the wrong URL. Links leading to a 404 page error are referred to as dead or broken links.
Why Web Designers Need to Know About 404 Errors
One out of every five website requests leads to a 404 error. This makes it one of the most common terms you will hear as a web designer. You must know about this error to fix the problem, and make the website function properly again.
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a computer language responsible for how your web pages look. CSS files dictate the colors, fonts, and layouts of websites. It is also used to add interactive features to websites such as animations. There are three CSS styles available, internal, external, and inline.
Why Web Designers Need to Know About CSS
CSS is one of the most critical building blocks of a site. Without CSS properties, all websites would be text-based, simple, and dull. CSS allows the use of colors, fonts, and interactive designs. It also creates an adaptive design, which helps a website to function on any screen size or device.
A domain name refers to the exact location of a website within a search engine. It usually comes after an “@” in an email address or after “www” in a web address. Examples of domain names are careerkarma.com or google.com.
Why Web Designers Need to Know About Domain Names
Domain names are one of the most important aspects in building a web page. Without a domain name, a web page will have no address, and therefore can’t be found. A web designer must understand what a domain name is and how it functions.
HTML stands for hypertext markup language. HTML is the most basic element of any website. It is used to display documents and is responsible for the overall structure of a website. It is used in conjunction with other languages, like CSS and Java, to create visual design elements.
Why Web Designers Need to Know About HTML
Every website uses HTML. A web designer must know what HTML is and how to use HTML. It is the most basic element of a website and acts as its foundation and structure. Therefore, without HTML, there would be no websites.
Web Design Terminology Cheat Sheet: 5 Advanced Web Design Terms
Now that you know some of the key web design terms, it’s time to examine some advanced terminology. While these terms are less common, they are still important to understand. If you’re working toward a senior web design role, you will find this section particularly useful.
Caching is the process of storing files in temporary storage so they can be easily accessed later. For example, this allows a browser to access files from the cache as opposed to the original server, thus saving time.
Why Web Designers Should Know About Caching
Caching helps your site load faster. It increases the speed of your network without you having to sacrifice anything else. It also decreases the load on your server, which leads to faster load times and increases user experience.
Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is a software application that allows users to create, modify, and manage the contents of a website. A CMS allows you to build a website without having to code.
Why Web Designers Should Know About Content Management Systems
It’s important to know how to use a CMS if you don’t know how to code. Learning how to modify, manage, and create content for a site without coding is a huge advantage. It also helps to save time, so even an advanced web designer who knows how to code can use CMS to build a site quickly.
DNS stands for Domain Name System. The DNS turns domain names into Internet protocol (IP) addresses. Every device connected to the Internet has an IP address, and these are used for the devices to communicate with each other. The DNS server is like a phonebook for the Internet.
Why Web Designers Should Know About DNS
A user won’t know the various IP addresses of sites they visit daily. That is why they use domain names. A web designer needs to know about DNS to make websites practical and easy to search for.
A Favicon is a pixel icon that serves as branding for a website. It is more commonly known as a favorite icon, shortcut icon, URL icon, or website icon. They are extremely small image files, so often a company’s logo has to be scaled down accordingly.
Why Web Designers Should Know About Favicon
A Favicon is essential for a site’s branding. Those small visual icons you see when you have multiple tabs open are Favicons. As a web designer, it is vital to know about Favicons, as they help users locate your site easier and faster.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Information architecture (IA) defines the structure of a website. It focuses on organizing the site’s content and functionalities so that users can easily find the information they need.
Why Web Designers Should Know About Information Architecture
A web designer must consider different types of content and business goals while structuring a website. This is where IA comes into play and is a term and a practice that must be fully understood for web designers to meet their client’s needs.
How Can I Learn Web Design Terminology in 2022?
You can learn web design terminology from online courses, books, and even in coding bootcamps like Thinkful or Kenzie Academy. While you may learn some of these web design terms on the job, it is recommended that you study them beforehand. This will allow you to impress future employers and form stronger partnerships with your colleagues.
Web Design Terminology FAQ
No. Learning web design terminologies might seem daunting at first, but like most things, giving it time and constantly studying the terms will pay off.
There are five basic elements of web design, including content, usability, aesthetics, visibility, and interaction. Other important elements include search engine optimization, responsive web design, and common browsers.
Yes, a coding bootcamp is an excellent way to learn web design terminology. Bootcamps offer short intensive programs that teach students job-ready tech skills. This usually includes coverage of web design terminology.
There is no set number to the amount of web design terms that exist. In this guide, we have focused on the ones we consider to be the most common and the most important for novice and experienced web designers.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.