Website Design Glossary

Web Design Glossary

Web Design Glossary

Alt Tag

Part of the image source tag in HTML. A good web designer will always include text in all of your image sources for two reasons: (1) if any of your visitors choose not to view graphic images on your web pages, the alternative text will be shown; and (2) if your visitors use Internet Explorer as their browser and they leave the mouse over any graphic image, they will view the text in your ALT-attribute. Screen readers used by the vision impaired also use Alt Tags to determine the type of content on a web page.

Animated GIF

A GIF graphic file, which consists of two or more images shown in a timed sequence to give the effect of motion.


Animation is the creation of a timed sequence or series of graphic images or frames together to give the appearance of continuous movement.

ASP (Active Server Page)

A dynamically generated web page, generally using ActiveX scripting. When a browser or a search engine spider requests an ASP page from a server, the server generates the web page with HTML code and gives it to the browser or spider.


Bandwidth is the amount of information your connection to the Internet can carry. On average, typical telephone lines can carry 1K of information per second.


A banner is a graphic image (static, animated, or rich media) that is placed on web sites as an advertisement. Banners are commonly used for brand awareness and generating sales.

Bitmap graphic

A graphic imange which is composed of a pattern of dots. The individual dots are stored as data on a computer. An example of an animation that is a bitmap graphic is a GIF animation.

Bitmap Image (bmp)

A graphic image stored as a specific arrangement of screen dots, or pixels. Web graphics are bitmap images. A graphic which is defined by specifying the colors of dots or pixels which make up the picture. Also known as raster graphics. Common types of bitmap graphics are GIF, JPEG, Photoshop, PCX, TIFF, Macintosh Paint, Microsoft Paint, PNG, FAX formats, and TGA.


Just as a paper bookmark is used as a reminder of the page you are on in a book, electronic bookmarks are used to bring you back to a web site or other site you may want to return to. The Netscape browser lets you bookmark any site and save the bookmarks in a file you can recall at any time. Microsoft Internet Explorer uses the term “favorite” instead of bookmark for the same concept.


The software used to view, manage, and access web pages by interpreting hypertext and hyperlinks. The two most common browsers are Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Web pages often appear differently depending on the brand and version of the browser intended to view them in.


A method of packing data in order to save disk storage space or download time. JPEGs are generally compressed graphics files. Compression is a technique to make a file or a data stream smaller for faster transmission or to take up less storage space. Concerning images, most graphics used on the Web are compressed using software that reduces as many colors in the color palette as possible, while still retaining the maximum quality of the image.


A cookie is a small file placed on your computer/web browser (such as Netscape or Explorer) by a web server. The purpose of cookies is to identify web site users/visitors and possibly prepare customized web pages for them.


Abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheet, a feature of HTML developed by the W3C. With Cascading Style sheets, both web designers and end users can create style templates (sheet) that specifies how different text elements (paragraphs, headings, hyperlinks, etc.) appear on a web page. Currently, not all browsers express CSS formatting in the same manner. A Cascading Style Sheet allows you to put all your page styles (colors, fonts, layout, etc.) into one external file, rather than manually formatting each individual page and clogging the HTML code with hundreds of lines of excess coding.


A collection of information stored in one central location. Many times, this is the source from which information is pulled to display products or information dynamically on a website.


Stands for Dynamic Hypertext Mark-up Language. DHTML is an extended form of HTML that allows web pages to react to the end users’ input, such as displaying a web page based on the user’s type of browser or computer. DHTML allows for advanced techniques that common HTML cannot perform.


A directory (such as Yahoo, commonly mistaken for a search engine) depends on people for listings. The main difference between a search engine and a directory is that a directory does not make use of a spider or robot. One of the defining characteristics of a directory is that it is usually divided into categories and is manuall updated by a human, not a computer.


Stands for Domain Name System. The DNS translates URL text addresses (such as into a numeric Internet address (such as

Doorway Page

Web pages created specifically for search engine positions. Also known as gateway page or a bridge page.

Drop-Down Menu

A drop-down menu (also known as a pull-down menu) is a navigation menu that “drops down” when you click it with a mouse or roll the mouse over it.

Error 404

This error message means Page Not Found (on a server).


To save a file in a different format (that of another program). For example, many Adobe Photoshop files are exported to become GIF or JPEG files.


A technology that allows for animation or moving graphics on a website. Vector graphic animation software from Macromedia (now Adobe) that allows Flash graphics to look the same across all browsers, as long as the plug-in is installed. One of the advantages of Flash animations is their relatively fast download time.


A font is a complete set of text characters in a particular size and style of type. This includes the letter set, the number set, and all of the special character and diacritical marks you get by pressing the shift, option, or command/control keys. For example, Times NewRoman Bold Italic is one font, and Times NewRoman Bold is another font. Times NewRoman is a single typeface.


HTML tags that define and label text-entry boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, and/or drop-down menus to create simple on-screen forms for collecting information from the viewer.


In animation, a frame is a single graphic image in a sequence of graphic images.


In HTML, providing the ability to break a web page into multiple, separately scrollable areas. Because some search engines cannot follow links in a framed web site, a good web designer will contain text in a NOFRAMES-tag and provide a link for search engines to index your site.


Stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows you to copy or send files (HTML-documents, graphic images, spreadsheets) from one computer to another via the Internet.


Stands for Graphics Interchange Format. GIF images are the most widely used graphic format on the web. GIF images display up to 256 colors.


The point at which a website or application becomes published on the Internet and is available to the public.


Abbreviation for Hypertext Markup Language; a cross-platform text-formatting system for creating web pages, including copy, images, sounds, tables of information, animation and more.


A hyperlink, more commonly called a link, is an electronic connection between one web page to either (1) other web pages on the same web site, or (2) web pages located on another web site. More specifically, a hyperlink is a connection between one page of a hypertext document to another.


Hypertext is any text that can be chosen by a reader and which causes another document to be retrieved and displayed.


A services that stores your information (or website) on a server, allowing it to be accessed by users on the Internet.


Java is a programming language, created by Sun Microsystems, which allows small applications to be downloaded into your computer for playback. Java can be used for such simple applications as animation to more complex applications such as a calculator.


JavaScript is a scripting language developed by Netscape. JavaScript can make web pages more animated and dynamic in terms of graphics and navigation. One of the most common graphic JavaScript effects is called a mouseover, and Javascript navigation is commonly created using drop-down menus.


Abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. File format for full-color and black-and-white graphic images. JPEG images allow for more colors than GIF images and are usually smaller in size. JPEGs are typically used for photos, while GIFs are used for graphics.


A kilobyte is a storage unit capable of storing 1,024 bytes of information

Merchant Account

A bank account that allows for the receipt of credit card funds.


Meta-tags are HTML tags that can be used to identify the creator of a web page, what HTML specifications a web page follows, the keywords and description of the page, etc. The most common use of a meta-tag in online marketing is the keyword and description tags, which tell the search engines that index meta-tags what description to use in their search query results.


A popular special effect for web graphics, generally programmed in JavaScript, that changes switches color or a graphic image when you place your cursor over it. Mouseovers can also be used to trigger navigation changes and pop-up windows.


A form of communication combining text with graphics, page layout, video, audio, animation, and so forth.


The means by which a user can click from page to page on a website.


If you are connected to the Internet, you are online. Online advertising is done exclusively on the web or through e-mail.

Online Marketing

Online advertising is done exclusively on the web or through e-mail.


An email marketing term in which the email recipient specifically requests receiving email related to a specific topic of interest

Payment Gateway

Allows the secure transfer of credit card funds from users on your website to your merchant account.


Stands for Portable Document Format. Created by Adobe Systems in its software program Adobe Acrobat as a universal browser. Files can be downloaded via the web and viewed page by page, provided the user is computer has installed the necessary plug-in which can be downloaded from Adobe’s own web site.


Abbreviation for Hypertext Pre-Processor, a server language used to produce dynamic content on web pages.


Stands for Portable Network Graphics format, and is generally pronounced “ping.” PNG is used for lossless compression and displaying images on the web. The advantages of PNG is that it supports images with millions of colors and produces background transparency without jagged edges. The disadvantages are that PNG images will not show up on older browsers, and still can be comparatively larger in file size than GIFs.


A set of properties that makes something easy to use. In web design, usability is defined as the level at which a website can be easily and efficiently used for a specific purpose.


A search request submitted to a database (such as the search engine and directory databases) to find a particular piece of information or all records that meet the search criteria.


Stands for the colors Red-Green-Blue. In web design and design for computer monitors, colors are defined in terms of a combination of these three colors. For example, the RGB abbreviation for the color blue shown below is 0-0-255. In contrast, print designers typically define colors using CMYK.

Rich Media

Typically, a web site or banner ads that use technology more advanced than standard GIF animation. Rich media banners include: Flash, Shockwave, streaming video, Real Audio/Video, pull-down menus, search boxes, applets that allow for interactivity, and other types of special effects.


Rules, or horizontal rules, are HTML tags enable you to insert horizontal lines as separators or dividers. Web graphic designers will vary the length and color of horizontal rules to add emphasis and flair.

Search Engine

A search engines is a program that searches documents (i.e. web pages, which are HTML-documents) for specified keywords and returns the list of documents. A search engine has two parts, a spider and an indexer. The spider is the program that fetches the documents, and the indexer reads the documents and creates an index based on the words or ideas contained in each document.

Search Engine Optimisation

A set of practices that attempts to make a website more attractive to search engines, thereby encouraging higher visitor traffic and rankings.


The abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media and digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately with the goal of infecting devices with malicious software or enticing the user to follow an action that will result in a desired outcome for the “spammer”. The most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam. Other abuses found in other media include: instant messaging spam (known also as spim), Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam (Spamdexing), spam in blogs (blam), wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social networking spam, and file sharing network spam.


A software program that search engines use which visits every site on the web, follows all of the links, and catalogs all of the text of every web page that (a) contains text, and (b) it is able to visit or crawl.


A small version of a graphic image. For example, the image below is a thumbnail image of a web page.


A typeface contains a series of fonts. For example, the typeface Arial contains the fonts Arial, Arial Bold, Arial Italic and Arial Bold Italic.


URL is the abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator and is an address referring to a document on the Internet. In other words, a URL is an abbreviation for a website’s address on the Web.

Vector Graphic

A graphic image drawn in shapes and lines, called paths. Images created in Illustrator and Freehand (graphic design software) are vector graphics. They are usually exported to be bitmap images.


A series of framed images put together, one after another, to simulate motion and interactivity. A video can be transmitted by number of frames per second and/or the amount of time between switching frames. The difference between video and animation is that video is broken down into individual frames.


A web site is a collection of electronic pages generally formatted in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that can contain text, graphic images, and multimedia effects such as sound files, video and/or animation files, and other programming elements such as Java and JavaScript.


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop international Web standards. Led by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, W3C’s mission is to lead the Web to its full potential.


Abbreviation for What You See Is What You Get. Commonly used to describe software that does not have any hidden attributes.


Abbreviation for Extensible Hypertext Mark-up Language and is a hybrid of XML and HTML. Web pages designed in XHTML should look the same across all platforms.


Abbreviation for Extensible Mark-up Language.


The latest from Instagram