Web Design Glossary: Web Design Terms Explained

Web Design Vocabulary and Terms

Most Web Design projects are entrusted to Marketers, Corporate Communications Officers or Sales Managers. If you belong to this group, chances are you will have to work together with a Web Design Agency to design and/or manage your company’s website. And to effectively communicate your needs to the designer, a little knowledge of Website terms and Web Design Vocabulary will definitely come in handy.

At EADC, we work with you to make sure that your website looks and works the way you want it. And we strive to help you understand the different concepts and terms so that you may make best web design decisions that complements your company’s website goals.

With this article, we hope to do just that. This Web Design Glossary aims to help bridge gaps and educate web design learners to commonly used Web Design Terms.

Glossary of Web Design Terms, Vocabulary and Terminologies


The website server respond with a 404 error message to indicate that a resource is not found or missing on the web server. This could mean the web page or resource is wrongly hyperlinked or linking to a retired website address.


A 500 error notice from a web server is a serious problem. This means something has gone wrong on the server side but the server does not know what the error is. If your website was working just fine but a 500 error displays randomly, it is usually due do a server resource problem.

A/B testing

A/B testing is essentially an experiment of testing 2 or more versions of a web page or artwork to the a sample audience to determine which version is more effective.

Above the Fold

The term is originally used to describe prime newspaper space, the first page right below the masthead (usually reserved for the top headlines). Newspapers are delivered folded and facing up and therefore, if you were to buy a newspaper, your would see the top stories first. Correspondingly in Web Design, Above the Fold refers the the area of a Web Page a user first sees without scrolling.

API (Application programming interface)

A simple explanation is that an API is an open channel for software to communicate with an external 3rd party software. For example, a mobile application can be set to extract data from a web service or website and display on a mobile interface via APIs. Or Facebook or Instagram feed can be displayed on your website via API calls.


A Backlink is simply a web hyperlink that references and links back to your website. Backlinks are extremely important in SEO as it helps web crawlers identify and rank your website and pages. However, not all backlinks are the same. Some links may have the opposite effect on your SEO.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of website visitors that exits a landing page without visiting any other pages. A high bounce rate is usually associated with a perception that the website visitor is not interested in the content. But depending on the intent of the web page content, this may not be an accurate assessment.


Tiny snippets of navigation links that shows you the hierarchy of links usually lead you back to the home page. Fun fact: Breadcrumbs are in reference to the folk story Hansel and Gretal. Where Hansel drops tiny bits of bread where he traveled, thus leaving a trial back home.


A Cache in web design speak, references to a temporary storage of static web resources that is stored in either a web service or the browser. An example of a server cache can be referenced to a file mirrored by Cloudflare CDN service. Whereas a Browser cache references to the temporary copy that is saved in the Web Browser Storage.

Call to Action

A Call to Action or CTA is a term used in marketing to prompt the audience to take certain actions. In Web Design, it is often associated to buttons or enquiry forms. An example of a website CTA could be a hyperlink or button that says “Buy now!”.

Content Management System (CMS)

A Content Management System is a software to manage your website content.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used style HTML documents. CCS takes care of the design and layout of HTML documents.


The process of buying and selling via electronic means. Most would characterize the defining factor in E-commerce is with the facilitation of online payment. Although, not necessarily so.

Facebook Pixel

A Facebook pixel, is a tracking code that is linked to your App or Website that allows you to track, retarget visitors and optimise your Facebook advertising campaign.


FTP or File Transfer protocol that allows the transmission and management of files that reside in your web hosting account.

Front End

The Front End is the audience facing part of the website. When you surf a website, you are interacting with the Front End.


HTML or Hypertext Markup Language, is the language used to compose a web page. Internet browsers read HTML documents and renders them on screen.


JavaScript is generally used as a front end programming language that allows function and interactivity on the website. Most websites use Javascript in one form or another. Recent developments have allowed JavaScript to be used as programming on the Back-end.

Landing Page

A starting point of a website where users first initiates contact with the website. A landing page is not necessary the home page of a website. It could be a completely separate page from the website content. These pages are usually designed specifically for a marketing campaign. For example, a Facebook advertising campaign can lead to a landing page with messages made specifically for the target audience.

Meta Data

Meta Data in a Web Development context is invisible data inserted into a HTML document to give context about the document. Meta tags are read by search engines to display titles and description. Therefore, meta tags are extremely important of Search Engine Optimisation.

Responsive Web Design

In a not too distant past, companies keep 2 different sets of websites one for mobile and another for the desktop. With the introduction of Responsive web Design capabilities and coding, websites can now be designed to adapt to mobile phones and tablets with screens of various sizes.


A sitemap comes in 2 forms. A Web Page with links to the entire website hierarchy providing easy navigation for the user. And it can also be referenced to an XML file with clear Web Structure meant for web crawlers such as a search engines. Think of it like a directory in a shopping mall to help you get around the building. A sitemap helps search engines find your pages.


SSL or Secure Socket Layer is an encryption protocol that encrypts traffic to and from your website. A SSL certificate must be present to enable encryption. This encryption protects website data from getting stolen in transit. TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an improved version of SSL. TLS has replaced SSL as SSL is no longer considered secure. Although the term SSL is used synonymously with TLS.


A Uniform Resource Locator or URL for short, is the website address for web page or online resource.

Web Hosting / Web Server

A Web Server is often referred as the Website Hosting service that allows you to publish your website. Although it could also mean the physical computer server where your website resides or the software that is used (eg. Apache / IIS ).


That’s it for our Web Design Glossary for now. Thank you for reading our list of Web Development Terms. We hope this article helps in understanding Web Design Terminologies and help you to communicate with your Web Developer more effectively. And of course, should you need any help with web design services, give us a holler!