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Web Design & Web Development: Sonder’s Glossary

Designers and developers can make web design and web development sound crazy confusing. It can sound like they have their own language and they kind of do. We’ve collated the terms we use most and defined them so we can share our web design & web development glossary with you.

Domain Name

A domain name is what people type into their browser to find your website. So Sonder’s domain name is sonder.com.au.

DNS (Domain Name Servers)

A DNS is a Domain Name Server. This is kind of like a registry, where the domain name of your website is registered. The DNS stores your domain name, linked to your IP Address, in the same way your name would be linked to your phone number in the phone book.

Web Hosting

Web Hosting is a service that ‘hosts’ your website, it’s where your website will live when it’s live. Web hosting services normally hook you up with company email addresses, backups of your website and online support, should something go wrong with your website.

CMS (Content Management System)

A CMS is a Content Management System, this is an online platform that websites are built on. Some websites aren’t built on a CMS and are purely created from code, they’re more versatile and ‘individual’ but these are more pricey, time consuming, and require a web developer to make even small changes to. Some popular Content Management Systems are WordPress or Drupal.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets, are what makes your website pretty if it’s built on HTML. It’s how designers and developers can apply changes to the website efficiently. It’s basically a style sheet language that informs or describes what the website should look like.

CTA (Call to Action)

This one is more relevant to marketing, copy, and content, but designers use this term a lot. What is a CTA or a Call to Action? It’s what you want people to do after finding your website. Should they call you or should they be making a purchase? Or maybe booking a consultation? CTAs in web design inform where the big button is and what it says, like ‘Get in touch’.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

HTML is the universal language of the internet. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is basically, the language that your browser (Chrome, Mozilla, Safari) reads to show you the website as it’s intended. It’s the code that makes up your website.

Navigation

Navigation in the web design world relates to how a website is ‘navigated’. Navigation in a website can be depicted by creating a path so users can find everything they need without confusion or with as few clicks as possible. It can also lead the user to the part of the website you most want them to find, potentially where your CTA is.

Frontend

In web design, designers and developers will both refer to the frontend and the backend. Frontend refers to what you can see on a website. Web designers will always work on the frontend, they work in Photoshop, Illustrator, and XD to create what the website looks like. A frontend web developer will do the coding to develop what the front end will look like, this takes it from being an illustration of a website to becoming a fully functioning one. 

Backend

The back end is what you can’t see and it’s the enabler of what you do see. It’s like the wires that your TV uses to show picture and sound. Backend developers use code to make websites interactive and work as they should.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is how your website loads and works across different devices and browsers. Websites (built recently at least) should load to fit the page across desktop computers, phones, and tablets. An easy trick for checking for responsive design is dragging the corner of your web browser to change the size of the page and see if the website changes to fit accordingly, if it does, it has a responsive design.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

This is a much bigger one for those working directly in marketing, copy, or content. But in web design, SEO does come up pretty often. SEO, Search Engine Optimisation is what makes Google rank your website. A lot of it is based on keywords, search terms, and content. Though, designers and developers will talk about it often because there are design practices in place that Google favours and that help Google easily find your content, in turn helping it rank higher.

User

There are a lot of complex definitions of what a user is in the web design world. What designers and developers really mean when they say user, is the person who will be using your website.

User Experience (UX)

User Experience (often shortened to UX) is referring to just that, the user’s experience. It’s designing a website to be as pleasant, accessible, and usable as possible. This means having navigation that makes sense and anything the user may want to find, clear and accessible.

Mockup

A mockup, in web design, is an example of a website. It shows what the website will look like but none of it is interactive so you can’t see which pages link to each other. Mockups will include each designed page of the website at separate stages.

Prototype

In web design, a prototype is a working example of a website. It shows you the layout, what everything will look like, and where clicks will take you on the website. It’s a website that you can view online, but it’s not actually on the web just yet.

Cross Browser Testing

This one relates back to responsive design. Cross browser testing is the process of testing websites or web applications online across different browsers to ensure they’re compatible.

WordPress

WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System). It’s a free and open-source, written in PHP, Content Management System and it’s Sonder’s favourite. What we like about WordPress is its reliability and versatility.

Magento

Like WordPress, Magento is a free, open-source, written in PHP, Content Management System. The difference between the two is that Magento is created more specifically to cater to eCommerce websites. These are online stores so it has better foundations for product heavy content pages, and checkout systems.

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