Decoding Web Design Jargon

By , On , In Digital Experiences, Marketing

Our industry has a lot of funny-sounding terms that may sound like gibberish. Especially when hearing them for the first time! Having a firm grasp on these terms is useful when you’re comparing proposals or navigating your website’s dashboard. Plus, it helps us all speak the same digital language. 

When these terms make sense, you can feel inspired to improve your company’s digital presence. You’ll also become more knowledgeable, and who doesn’t love learning?

From A to Z, let’s make sense of these words together.


What it means: A technical web design term for “Not Found 404”. It is an error message seen on a web page to indicate a requested URL was not found on a server.

What it means for your website: The page that someone clicked on can not be found on your server. This means the page most likely moved or was removed from the website. To eliminate 404 message, be sure to redirect the old url to the new one.

Use it in a sentence: You click the link you get from an email promotion. “Yeah! A back to school sale! Wait – 404? I guess no 50% off Five Star binders for me.”


Alt Text

What it means: The text associated with an image. It’s usually the file name of that image but alt text can be customized using most content management systems. When an image isn’t able to load in an email, website or blog, the alt text is displayed instead. aka. Alternative Text. 

What it means for your website: It’s important for all the images on your website to have alt text because it’s the only way search engines like Google can understand what an image is about. This helps you optimize your website for search. 

Use it in a sentence: “Make sure to change your alt text on all of your website images so you don’t have something embarrassing.”


What it means: An incoming link from an external website specifically to a webpage. Backlinks direct traffic and search result placement.

What it means for your website: If you publish a webpage and 20 other websites link to it, your webpage has 20 backlinks.

Use it in a sentence: “My backlinks bring all the searchers to my page.”



What it means: A program used to verify that a human rather than a computer is entering data. They’re commonly seen at the end of online forms. It stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

What it means for your website: Google has now created invisible captcha verification. By minimizing friction, you’re creating a better user experience for people filling out forms.

Use it in a sentence: “You don’t need a ‘click all images with a farm animal’ captcha anymore because of invisible captcha verification through Google.


What it means: Content Management System. A software tool that allows you to create, edit, and publish content. Ex. WordPress, Blogger, etc.

What it means for your website: These are usually what websites are made from. And you’ll likely be using one of these programs if you wanted to create/make changes to your own website.

Use it in a sentence: “Man, WordPress is the best CMS. It’s so easy to use!”


What it means: A small amount of data generated by a website and saved by your web browser.

What it means for your website: Your website is gathering some information about your users to personalize the content to apply to them better.

Use it in a sentence: “Wow, the Zappos ad that knew my name is super creepy. Way to successfully become the creepy old guy of the shoe world, Zappos.”


What it means: Call to Action.

What it means for your website: Website developers and marketers use this to grab your website users attention in hopes they’ll click.

Example: Dropbox – “Sign up for Dropbox”. CTA’s often look like this and are designed to get the user to click and sign-up for Dropbox right then.

cta image


What it means: Click-Through-Rate. The average number of click-through per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage.

What it means for your website: You can tell how many people clicked on your website’s different pages, promotion emails or digital ads. This is important because it shows the effectiveness of a digital campaign. 

Use it in a sentence: “The click-through-rate on this month’s ads are up 5%”.


What it means: Pronounced “cash”, this stores recently used information so that it can be quickly accessed at a later time. Computers incorporate several different types of caching in order to run more efficiently, thereby improving performance. Common types of caches include browser cache, disk cache, memory cache, processor cache.

What it means for your website: Users can revisit cached content from your website at a later time.

Use it in a sentence: “The internet connection is down. Thank goodness I have this great article from Twirling Umbrellas cached to pull up and read.”

Domain Name

What it means: An identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control within the internet aka your website domain name.

What it means for your website: Unique name that identifies your website. Ex. “” is our Domain Name. It’s what you’ll type into the URL bar in order to visit our website.

Use it in a sentence: “Jeez, I really hope no one else has the domain name”


What it means: Electronic Commerce. Business over the internet. Ex. amazon, shopify and Ebay. Two major forms of e-commerce are Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B).

What it means for your website: People can shop from your Ecommerce shop from the comfort of their own home. 

Use it in a sentence: “Thanks to e-commerce I slayed those Cyber Monday sales.”


What it means: Pronounced “jif” like the peanut butter. Graphic Interface Format. Image files that are compressed to reduce transfer time. It can also use multiple images for animated effects (animated GIFs). 

What it means for your website: By using gifs, you’re creating movement on your website and blog posts. Gifs are not only funny business, they’re also effective as they help enhance a message with a moving visual. 

Use it in a sentence: “For your viewing pleasure, here are the best GIFs of all time:


What it means: A software extension that adds a specific feature to an existing software application.

What it means for your website: You’ve probably heard of plugins in the context of web browsers to add new features like virus scanners. We add different plugins like Monster Insights, Advanced Custom Fields and Admin Columns to websites to increase functionality.

Use it in a sentence: “Woah, this new slider plugin is off the charts!”


What it means: Pay-Per-Click. Otherwise known as Cost-Per-Click (CPC).

What it means for your website: Each time a visitor clicks on your Google ad, there’s a cost associated with it. This form of digital advertising allows your website to show up on different search engines and websites.

Use it in a sentence: “This month we should focus on creating a PPC strategy.”

Responsive Web Design

What it means: A type of web design that provides a customized viewing experience for different browser platforms.

What it means for your website: Your website will adjust accordingly by reconfiguring content depending on what device is used to access the site. 

Use it in a sentence: “We have to have a responsive web design because most of our clients find our site on their mobile phones.”

responsive web design image


What it means: Search Engine Optimization involves a number of adjustments to the HTML of individual web pages to achieve a high search engine ranking on search engines.

What it means for your website: People search online to find just about everything. SEO helps ensure that your website will be the answer to their search query. 

Use it in a sentence: “We need to focus on our SEO because we’re not getting enough web traffic.”

seo image


What it means: Search Engine Marketing is a form of internet marketing that can amp up your traffic and funnel the right people to your site.  

What it means for your website: You’re able to grow your website audience through marketing avenues like Google ads, search advertising, display advertising and remarketing.

Use it in a sentence: “SEM is driven by data, consumer behaviour and a thorough understanding of PPC advertising.”


What it means: Sitemaps show a hierarchical view of website pages and content.

What it means for your website: It helps website designers figure out what content is needed on your website before they begin designing it. Sitemaps can also be web pages that offer links to all of the pages on a website.

Use it in a sentence: “When you hire us to custom design your website, the first thing we will do is provide you with a SiteMap to review.”


What it means: User Interface (UI).  A type of interface that allows users to control a software application or hardware device.

What it means for your website: A good user interface provides a user-friendly experience by allowing the user to interact with the software or hardware in an intuitive way. It includes a menu bar, toolbar, windows, buttons, and so on.

Use it in a sentence: “Holy, this UI is completely user-friendly.”


What it means: User Experience (UX). The overall experience a customer has with a particular business, from their discovery and awareness of the brand all the way through their interaction, purchase, use, and even advocacy of that brand. 

What it means for your website: User experience has four parts you need to pay attention to for your website. Design, navigation, speed and meeting the user’s expectations. 

Use it in a sentence: “You should test out the UX on it’s amazing.”

Vector Graphics

What it means: A computer graphics term to describe the use of “geometrical primitive objects”. Points, lines, curves, and shapes to represent images.

What it means for your website: Vector art is created using vector illustration software programs, usually created in Adobe Illustrator, and is commonly saved with certain file extensions. The four most common Vector file extensions are .ai, .pdf, .eps and .svg. These are what we’ll request when you’re providing your logo and brand assets to us.

Use it in a sentence: “How do you request vector graphics from someone who has no idea what a vector graphic is?”

Learning the lingo. 

Understanding web design and digital marketing jargon will help in productive conversations with your team and ours. At Twirling Umbrellas, we won’t create your website and simply wave goodbye afterwards. Once your website is built, we’ll bring you into the office (or have a video meeting) to train you on using your website to the best of your ability. 

Knowing these terms above will ensure that you fully understand what everything means during that meeting. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about any of these terms!