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Web Design Glossary

May 3, 2023

by Bjorn Howard (BjornV) Von Possel

A great web design ensures that your platform is accessible, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Understanding the terminology of the industry is essential to communicating your ideas with your web design partners. This web design glossary will help.  

This glossary will help you understand the most important terms and concepts to keep up with the best practices top performers use in the web design industry.

Learning all the terms and tricks of the trade will go a long way in collaborating with web design partners and creating memorable websites. This glossary will provide an overview of the various processes, metrics, and calculations most commonly used in creating a beautiful and functional platform.

Optimize the look and feel of your websites by hiring a web design agency on Clutch. Filter by location, client ratings, and price to find the perfect partner for your project. 

58 Web Design Terms to Learn

It doesn’t matter where you are in your understanding of web design there are almost always new things to learn about this evolving industry.


  • Accessibility: a design philosophy wherein websites, tools, and technologies are developed so that people with disabilities can use them.
  • Application Programmatic Interface (API): A piece of software that allows applications to extract and share data within or across organizations.


  • Back-End: refers to the parts of a computer application or program code that allow it to operate and that cannot be accessed by a user.
  • Bounce Rate: A metric calculating the number of visitors who leave a webpage within a specific time period without interacting with the site.
  • Breadcrumbs: a tool that shows the location of the current page in the site structure.
  • Breakpoint: a specific point where a website’s content and layout will change to fit a different interface.

Additional Reading, ‘How to Create a Budget for a Website Redesign.’


  • Call to Action (CTA): a key element on a webpage, acting as a directive that lets users know what to do next.
  • Cascading Style Sheet (CSS): a stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in HTML or XML.
  • Content Management System (CMS): an application used to manage content, allowing multiple contributors to create, edit and publish.


  • Domain Name System (DNS): a system that translates human-readable domain names to machine-readable IP addresses.
  • Domain Name: the name of a website.


  • Ecommerce web design: the process of creating a website design for a site with online selling capabilities.
  • Extensible Markup Language (XML): A text-based markup language designed for large-scale electronic publishing which is proving important for the exchange of a variety of data on the internet.


  • Favicon: a graphic image associated with a particular web page or website.
  • Filter: refers to predefined elements narrowing down the visible content by various taxonomies.
  • Focal Point: the area on the page to which the user’s attention is directed.
  • Front-End: refers to the visual elements that users see and interact with within a web application.
  • Functionality: is the ability of a website to enable users to complete tasks or use interactive design features.

Additional Reading, ‘Web Design Pricing Guide'


  • Graphic Interchange Format (GIF): a file format designed for relatively basic images that appear mainly on the internet.
  • Graphic Design: an industry projecting visual communications intended to transmit specific messages to social groups, with specific objectives.
  • Grid: the underlying structure of a design that determines how everything lays out.


  • Header: the area of a website located at the top of the web pages.
  • Homepage: The main page of a website, usually the frontend where all other pages can be accessed.
  • Hyperlink: an electronic link providing direct access from one distinctively marked place in a hypertext or hypermedia document to another in the same or a different document.
  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): A markup language considered by many as the basic building block of the internet as it defines the meaning and structure of the page’s content.


  • Javascript: as one of the core technologies of the internet, Javascript is a lightweight programming language that is used to create dynamic and interactive content online.


  • Landing Page: a standalone web page users reach after clicking a link.


  • Menu: the primary navigation area, sometimes with a dropdown or flyout of sub-menu items
  • Metadata: A dataset that provides more information and context to the data being viewed that isn’t the actual content of the data.
  • Meta Tag: HTML tags that provide additional information about a page to search engines and other clients.
  • Mockup: a layout of a site representing some of the final colors, typography, and imagery.


  • Open Source: source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution.

Determine whether you should hire a web design freelancer or an agency.


  • PHP: a general-purpose scripting language that is often used for  web development.
  • Pixels: the smallest unit in a digital display.
  • Plugins: software that adds new features or extends functionality on an existing application.
  • Portable Network Graphics (PNG): a raster graphics file format that supports lossless data compression.
  • Prototype: an interactive version of a site, that may not be built with the final code.


  • Responsive Design: an approach where the design and development interact with the user's behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation.


  • Scale: the size of elements on the page relative to each other.
  • Screen Readers: software programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display.
  • Screen Size: the measure of the length of a screen’s diagonal, which is the distance between opposite corners, usually in inches.
  • Scrolling: to move text or graphics up or down or across a display screen as if by unrolling a scroll.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): An online security tool designed to ensure privacy, authentication, and data integrity within Internet communications.
  • Semantic Markup: the use of HTML elements correctly to imply hierarchy and usage within the content.
  • Single Page Application (SPA): a web application or website that interacts with the user by dynamically rewriting the current web page with new data from the web server.


  • Typography: the art of arranging letters and text in a way that makes the copy legible, clear, and visually appealing to the reader.


  • Usability: the quality of a user's experience when interacting with products or systems, including websites, software, devices, or applications.
  • User Experience (UX): how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system, or service.
  • User Interface (UI): The space where users interact with the software and applications. These include display screens, home pages, and desktops. 


  • Web Developer: a programmer who develops web applications using a client–server model.
  • Web Page: a hypertext document on the internet.
  • Web Server: software and hardware that uses HTTP and other protocols to respond to client requests made over the internet.
  • Website Content: the text, visual or audio content that is made available online and the user encountered as part of the online usage and experience on websites.
  • Website Design: the process of planning, conceptualizing, and arranging content online.
  • Website Visitors: a user who comes to your website or mobile site.
  • Whitespace: the areas of a web page without print or pictures.
  • Wireframe: a two-dimensional illustration of a page's interface that specifically focuses on space allocation and prioritization of content, functionalities, and intended behaviors.
  • WordPress: a free and open-source content management system written in hypertext preprocessor language.

Learn the Key Web Design Terms to Communicate with Service Providers

Web design is the first best way to make a good impression on your audience. It lets them know what kind of experience they’re going to get and how knowledgeable you are as a service provider in the space of a few seconds. Learning everything you can about the industry will greatly accelerate your rise as a company regardless of your web design goals. 

Looking for a team to help you build a memorable experience for your users? Find the best web design agencies on Clutch.

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