Web Design Jargon Buster

When it comes to web design, it can feel like there’s a lot of technical terminology to understand.

You’re an expert in what your business does – from picture framing through to baby clothing or vehicle repairs, so the phrases that web designers and developers use might sound like a completely different language to your sector. Much like we as web design experts don’t always know the terminology used in your workplace! Fortunately, our web design jargon buster is here to help. Hopefully you’ll find a definition here, but if not, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’d be more than happy to help you.

Tip: Use Ctrl + F (CMD + F on Mac) to search for certain words on this page – you might find what you’re looking for much quicker!


Code is what makes your website what it is.

Consider yourself as a whole human being, everyone can see how you look, but behind the scenes are major organs like your heart and brain that keep you alive. Your website is what people see, but it’s the code behind your website that decides how your website looks and how it works. As a website owner, you shouldn’t be expected to understand website code or have to manage your website’s code, that’s the responsibility of a web agency like ourselves.


A web browser is the tool you use to surf the web. There’s numerous popular web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox to name just a few.

Like anything techy, web browsers can go out of date quickly and you as a user don’t always update to the most modern version. These older versions of web browsers can load websites in a completely different way to more recent ones, because the technology they use to read the code behind your website is out of date. When you’re looking to commission a website design, always ask about browser compatibility.


In web design terminology, a device is something used to access a website.

  • Mobile Device – a mobile phone, such as an iPhone or Samsung (other brands are available).
  • Tablet Device – a tablet, such as an iPad or Kindle.
  • Desktop Device – as you can imagine, a desktop device is your conventional desktop computer. Any reference to a desktop device, typically also includes laptops and netbook computers.
Web Design / Web Development

To better understand what is web design, what is web development and what the differences between web design and web development are, read this post.


Responsive‘ is a buzz word when it comes to web design. A ‘responsive’ website is able to handle visitors from all different types of devices and still work seamlessly. Older websites of years gone by would force anyone who was using a tablet or mobile phone to zoom in and scroll sideways just to read the text on a page. This obviously isn’t convenient.

A responsive website is able to show, hide and move around the elements that make up your website. Items such as your menu and page content are moved and resized to ensure that regardless of what a visitor uses to access your website and read about your company, they can easily access information they’re looking for.

Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is a website feature that allows you as a website owner to create new pages, edit your text, upload images and create products without the need of a web agency. When commissioning a website, you should ask if your website will have a CMS – you can get a head start on learning how to use it for when your website is finished. If your website will not have a CMS you can also then begin to plan how much you expect to pay monthly, quarterly or annually on website updates.

Content management systems can be built from scratch to suit your needs (bespoke, but expensive), but typically an agency would recommend using a pre-existing CMS to reduce the cost of the project. Popular content management systems include:

  • WordPress
  • Magento
  • Drupal
  • Prestashop
  • Joomla

Much like the world around us has multiple languages, the world of web design and web development has multiple languages. Many of these languages can be used to create similar things in a different way, dependent on your requirements as a client. It can be important to know the languages your website is built in as it can, on occasion, limit who you can transfer your website to in the future if you ever decide a different web agency should take over.

The part of your website that visitors view and interact with will typically compromise of three key languages, which are standard across next to all web agencies.

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

For more advanced features, from handling how a contact form on your website knows where to send your messages, to understanding how to update your website content when pressing ‘Update’ in a website builder, comes a different set of languages. There’s a huge list of possibilities, and it varies between agencies. The most popular language for functionality like this is called PHP.


SSL, Secure Sockets Layer is a method of web security. In essence, SSL ensures that the website you’re visiting, i.e. tadwebsolutions.co.uk really is Tad Web Solutions. Not all websites have SSL – the way to check is to look for a ‘padlock’ icon next to www. at the top of your web browser.

Be warned, SSL does not guarantee that the information you enter on a website is secure. SSL only ensures that your connection to the website is secure. Any information you enter could be stolen by a virus or by poor code on the website that saves your data.