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Jargon Busting Your Web Design Experience

You’ve just started getting your website redesigned and there have already been many terms used by your agency that left you feeling lost. We’ll always try to explain our work in terms that everyone will understand, but even we are guilty of using jargon sometimes. Here’s our jargon-busting guide to web design and development.

Development

Development is the term used for the building of the website using code. It’s when your website goes from intangible design to a tangible website.

Front-end & Back-end

These are two stages of the development. The front-end refers to the things you can see, such as layout, carousels and text-styling. Back-end will refer to the functionality of the site that isn’t visible, from CMS integration to payment gateways and ECRM automation. You’ll have noticed I’ve already used a bunch of jargon terms, but they will be explained, don’t worry.

Wireframes & Prototypes

These occur before the development stage and are the designers’ ways of portraying information. Wireframes are a type of prototyping and are the most basic form. They are usually a series of boxes drawn out to show layout of the web pages and what features you’d expect to find on each page. Prototypes can then advance to worked-up visuals, and sometimes even interactive designs. Our favourite prototyping tool is Invision, which allows us to simulate a website with basic functionality and linked designs.

CMS: Content Management System

You want to be able to edit your site without wading through HTML code right? That’s why we use a CMS. You’re able to edit the content of your site without worrying about learning to code. Examples of Content Management systems include Expression Engine, Wordpress and Drupal, although there are a lot more.

HTML, CSS, PHP & JavaScript

These are all programming languages that the developers will use when building your website. HTML creates the structure, CSS is the styling, JavaScript (and jQuery) will create simple interactive elements and PHP will do the more complex functionality.

WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get

Pronounced “whizzy-wig”, WYSIWYG tends to refer to a field where you can write content with styling. A typical WYSIWYG editor will allow you to do bulleted and numbered lists; create bold, italic and underlined text; and align text right, left or centred. Some WYSIWYG editors allow you to insert tables, images and hyperlinks too.

Domain & Hosting

The domain is the address that people will use to get to your website. In our case it’s “anglestudios.co.uk”. Hosting is where you’ll be storing your website. It’s important that your domain is pointed at your hosting. Your IT department or developers should be able to handle this process, don’t be surprised if you hear even more jargon.

Database

A database is a series of tables containing data. Chances are your website will have a database associated with it that stores all the content of your site.

Server

A server is a computer whose storage is connected to the internet. Your hosting provider will have lots of servers and this is where they will store your website.

URL

The URL is a web address but it is slightly different to the domain, every page, image and file on the website will have its own URL. For example the URL for this page is __________

SSL

If you’re taking payments on your site chances are you’ll have heard the term SSL. This is the security certificate, associated with your site, that lets everyone know it’s safe. You may have noticed sites that have https:// at the start rather than the standard http:// the s is there because they have an SSL certificate.

Payment Gateways

Payment gateways as I’m sure you’ve guessed are used to make payments on your website. They handle the authentication of payment details with the credit/debit card company. Paypal, World-Pay and Sage-Pay are common ones, but there are others out there.

E-commerce

In short, e-commerce means online retail. So if you want an online shop on your website, talk to your agency about e-commerce.

ECRM & E-shots

At one point everything technological seemed to have E prefixed with them. If you’re in marketing you’ll be aware of CRM meaning Customer Relationship Management, so prefixing it with an E just means it’s the electronic equivalent. That still doesn’t explain what it encompasses, which is actually quite a lot, but many people use it just to refer to their customer emailing system. E-shots is one of many terms used to refer to those fancy-looking marketing emails you get.

API

An API is one way websites can integrate information from another online source. For example the Twitter API allows us to display on our site all tweets containing a particular hashtag. The Google maps API allows us to display directions and customise styling.

UI & UX

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are two sides of the same coin; a shiny user-focussed-design coin. UX will cover user-journeys, button sizes, readability and even tone of voice, most of this is agreed upon during wireframing. UI is the attractive skin those wireframes are given. A good user interface will have good user experience.

Responsive

You’ve seen that you can get a responsive website but what does it mean and what’s the advantage? Responsive websites “respond” to the size of the device they are being viewed on. This means they will work on mobiles, tablets, laptops and large desktops without the need for your users to zoom or scroll horizontally. Strictly, responsive design is different from those websites with a mobile and a desktop version. With a responsive website they are the same website, but elements may display differently on different sized screens.

Carousel

Also known sometimes as slideshows/ sliders/ rotating banners, carousels are features you’ll find on many websites. A carousel is a slideshow, but it doesn’t have to be limited to images. Some are automatic, but don’t have to be, others have arrows you can move between slides with, again this is optional. You’ll find a form of carousel on our homepage showing off some of our work.

Accordion

Accordions are another common feature on websites. They are collapsible elements that usually come in a set of headings with more information that can be revealed or hidden by clicking the headings.

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation

You’ve just got a beautiful new website with great user-experience, you’ve even got it hosted and it’s live, but there’s one problem… it appears so low on a Google search, you’re not getting any traffic; that’s where Search Engine Optimisation comes in. Google and other search engines are frequently changing the way they decide who appears at the top of the search results, but there are always things you can do to improve your chances. Talk to an SEO expert about what you can do.

Analytics

How do you tell who has been visiting your site? Analytics! Analytics track the basics of where the user came from and how they travel throughout your site. It’s a great tool to see what pages of your site are under-performing and generally tracking user visits. Google Analytics is one of the most popular website analytics packages out there.

 

Hopefully this article has helped bust some of the jargon used in web design and development. Now you know what E-commerce, E-shots, SEO and Responsive Websites are, you can talk to an agency like us with confidence that you’re asking for the right thing. Don’t worry if you still feel lost, like all good agencies, we’ll talk you through terms as they come up.

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