Glossary

  • Assets – Any content pieces or design files that pertain to a project. (see content)
  • Blog – A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log”) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
    A blog can be a part of the main site or simply a link to another site that maintains blogs. Having a regularly updated blog on a relevant subject can increase search ratings.
  • BrowserBrowser IconsA program that allows you to view web pages. Browsers convert coded languages like HTML to readable text and images. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari are all browsers. Browsers, especially Internet Explorer render web pages in their own way and with different browsers, the goal should be to have a good design and user experience even if it looks a bit different in different browsers. Do websites need to look exactly the same in every browser?
  • Color Palette – Typically sites are designed with a small number of coordinating colors. These are often based on the existing company colors. colorschemedesigner.com or color.adobe.com are excellent sites to view web safe colors and play with possible combinations.
  • Content – Any writing, images or other assets like videos or audio files that you see on a web page. Content is what is important on a site and should be fully planned out before considering design and layout.
  • WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are all content management systemsContent Management – A content management system (CMS) is a way to have the client/owner of the website be able to alter and or add content to their site without having to know how to code. Content management systems such as Joomla, Drupal or WordPress require that the software be installed on the host first and the site is then built within it’s templates.
  • CSS – Cascading Style Sheet. Another coding language that allows the style (font, colors, placement of images and text) of a web page to be separated from the content of a page. This allows for faster downloading of pages among other things. CSS and HTML work together.
  • Database – A collection of data in tables that relate to each other. A customer list or product inventory are typical uses of databases. Sites can connect to and display data from databases in a variety of ways. CMS systems like WordPress do not work without being connected to a database; where the content is stored.
  • Domain Name Always have control of your domainThe address of where the website is located. The domain name it typically purchased and then renewed each year. It does not have to have www at the beginning, but must have a .com, .org etc. at the end. A single site can have more than one domain name pointing to it, or have different domain names pointing to different pages. When domain names are purchased, the vendor provides the DNS address of where the name is and login information to be able to re-direct where that name points to. This is critical information that should be recorded and saved.
  • Photoshop and Dreamweaver are common tools in a web designer's kitDreamweaver – A program to build web pages. Web pages can be built in any text or code editor and I personally prefer Sublime Text. Dreamweaver is a commonly used WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that allows the designer to see the rendered page while they are working on the code. Flash, Photoshop and Dreamweaver are all part of the Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Dynamic – Typically web pages are classified as static or dynamic.
    Static pages don’t change content and layout with every request unless a human (web master or programmer) manually updates the page.
    Dynamic pages adapt their content and/or appearance depending on the end-user’s input or interaction. i.e. Sites can setup links that take you to category listings; this week you see 3 articles, next week you may see 10, but the link hasn’t changed. Or, logging into a bank site and seeing your accounts only.
  • Ecommerce – The buying and selling of products and services over the internet. Sites can have very simple ecommerce set up by having a “buy now” button from Paypal or Google, or be very complex by having a full blown shopping cart. There are many companies out there offering complex turn-key shopping carts for a monthly fee, but these are for shopping only. IMHO most sites benefit from being informational and having a shopping cart built into it, instead of taking the user to a different site to purchase.
  • Flash – Another Adobe creative suite program that creates animation. Entire sites can be built in Flash, or just an opening page or header can be in Flash. It is one way to build video and audio into a site. The Flash player must be installed on the user’s local machine for them to see any Flash elements. Current search engines may not be able to read Flash files and the Apple iphone/ipad will not read the files. Many former uses for Flash like slideshows have been replaced by JavaScript.
  • FTP – File Transfer Protocol. When files from a computer need to be transferred to a web site host, this is done through an FTP program. There are many good free programs that can be used (FireFtp, Filezilla, etc.) The ability to transfer files is also built into programs like Dreamweaver. To do the transfer, an FTP address, login and password are required. (See Hosting)
  • Hosting -The computer where the files for the website live is the host. Hosting is typically purchased through a web hosting company. The level of service and control required determine the cost. Domain names and hosting can be purchased from the same company, but it is not required. When hosting is purchased, login information is provided so that files can be uploaded and edited on the site. This is critical information that should be recorded and saved.
  • HTML -Hypertext Markup Language. The primary language that web pages are built in. Even if sites are built in combinations of PHP, JavaScript, etc. what the browser renders is HTML.
  • IP -Internet Protocol. Every site on the internet, every device on a network is assigned an IP address in a series of numbers. (12.123.450.101) Domain names translate to IP addresses.
  • ISP -Internet Service Provider. The company that provides Internet service to your home or office, i.e. Comcast or AT&T.
  • MySQL -MySQL is an open source relational database management system. CMS platforms like WordPress require a MySQL database to connect to. The files determine the structure and layout, but the content is stored in the database.
  • Open Source – Software that is often available for free, but more importantly has code that anyone can develop for. Open source often means that forums and other community based ways are the only way to get support. Because of that, open source software is often very flexible and has a lot of extra functionality. Anything from Microsoft or Adobe is not open source. WordPress is a great example of software that is open source and has many people building plugins and themes for it.
  • Photoshop and Dreamweaver are common tools in a web designer's kitPhotoshop -An Adobe software program to manipulate digital photographs and create art. Many designers will build a mock up of a web page in Photoshop. Photoshop is also a good tool to optimize images and make them web ready.
  • PHP -Hypertext Preprocessor. Server-side HTML embedded scripting language. It provides web developers with a full suite of tools for building dynamic websites. PHP is often used as the link to a MySQL database to display data in a variety of ways.
  • One site, responsive to many screen sizesResponsive – Responsive web design is an approach where the site is designed to be readable and usable in a wide variety of screen sizes. Ever had to zoom in on a site while on your phone? Or scroll sideways? NOT responsive. In a responsive site the text and navigation will often get bigger, while the columns will get smaller. The point is to make it as human friendly as possible no matter what screen their on. This site is responsive.
  • SEO -Search Engine Optimization. A variety of ways to increase the visibility of a site in the search engines like Google or Yahoo. Good updated relevant page titles and content, clean coding, giving alt text to images, are all basic ways to have a site ‘optimized’. There are many service providers out there that specialize in taking optimization further for a fee. (IMHO most of these services are very expensive and a bit on the “smoke and mirrors” side. Write for humans, tag your images and you’re well on your way.)
  • Template or Theme – A master page used to produce web pages. Sites can be designed with one or many master templates, i.e. the home page may have a different layout from the following pages. A site can also be designed with several ‘skins’ to reflect a special event or season. There are many pre-designed templates available for the major content management systems like WordPress & Joomla. In WordPress specifically, the Theme is the overall set of files that dictate how a site lays out and what colors it’s using and Templates are individual files for specific pages like having a sidebar or not.
  • Wireframes -A website wireframe is a basic visual guide used in web design to suggest the layout of fundamental elements in the interface. Because of this they are often completed before any artwork is developed. When completed correctly they will provide a visual reference upon which to structure each page. Wireframes are typically used to assist with the functionality of a site and focuses on the content, not the design.