Website terminology. What does it all mean?

What’s the difference between web design and web development?

And what about UI vs UX? Why are there so many different phrases? If you’re looking to have a website designed, this web design terminology can feel like a foreign language. Here we explain some of the most used terms in the web design industry today in our mini glossary.

Website terminology. What does it all mean?
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Web design

This is quite a broad term that refers to everything that relates to designing the aesthetic portions of the website and the usability. It is a transformation of an idea, or a story, into a visually appealing design. As an architect would create a plan of your house prior to it being built, a web designer would create the layout of your website before a web developer can start developing it.

Web development

This is the technical side of creating a website and development focuses primarily on code. It is further broken down into front-end & back-end development. Front end refers to the client side (the bit the public sees on the internet), which is the code for how the website is displayed on screen. Back-end refers to the server side (functionality and ‘the engine’), which is where the “front-end” pulls from the resources hosted on a server.


Also known as user interface, this is a specialisation of web design that deals with how website visitors interact with a website with the focus on maximizing usability and the user experience.


Also known as user experience, this is another specialisation of web design which is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the ease of use and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the website.

HTML, CSS, PHP & JavaScript

These are different programming languages, also referred to as code, that are most commonly used during the website’s development. They all have difference purposes but will most likely be used in conjunction with each other. There are many other types of programming language such as Ruby, C#, Python and Swift that are selected for suitability for different developments.

Responsive Design

A website that adjusts to the screen size that it’s being viewed on, e.g. desktop, tablet or mobile, has been built responsively. The design is flexible enough to ‘respond’ and adjust to fit different size screens.

Call to action (CTA)

This is specific text, images, banners or buttons which use persuasive, action-oriented words that urges the user to do something, e.g. Buy Now or Free Trial. They’re designed in a way to get users to interact and go from one page to the next, encouraging them to make an action. CTAs are also an important technique for helping people navigate their way around a website.

Landing Page

This may seem similar to a regular homepage, but they usually only appear in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement. A landing page has a specific message, relevant content and is tightly focused. Its purpose is to convert, whether that means generating leads, prompting phone calls, increasing sign-ups or initiating an online chat with potential customers. In other words, a landing page is a simplified and more concise version of a homepage with a specific call-to-action. Whereas a homepage has lots of content, sources and links, landing pages usually have one specific purpose.

Above the fold

Above the fold is used in website design (along with “above the scroll”) to refer to the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling. Webpage analysis shows that the most-viewed content appears ‘above the fold’ so this is where the important information, e.g. service descriptions and CTAs, should go.

Although, you don’t have to be in-the-know with the lingo

We hope this mini glossary of web design terminology has helped and we’re very conscious of how confusing and overwhelming some of this terminology can be if you’re not surrounded by it all day. Therefore, we try and stay away from using web design jargon when talking to clients. Communication, and clients knowing exactly what’s going on, is key. We don’t want you walking away with more questions than you came with! For more help or to ask about our web design services, please do give us a shout.

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