20 Web Design Terms You Need to Understand

In any industry, you will come across certain words and phrases that are used a lot and it becomes absolutely imperative for you to learn about them. Design and development is no different. There are several different words that keep popping up and therefore, this entire dictionary of words is the first thing you should learn especially if you are looking to take up design and development as a permanent profession. Of course you can choose not to, but then it will become a headache for you to keep track of things because others will use these terms and you will have no idea what is going on.

Web Design Terms

Even in the early days of web design and development, the entire field had just too many acronyms and technical words being used. These words and terms represented pretty straightforward concepts, but it was still a lot to keep track of. For many people, it would even get annoying but that does not matter. If you are passionate about something, you may as well go the extra length and make yourself known to a few terminologies hopping around here and there. This list talks about 20 web design terms you need to understand. That is all there is to it. Learn these and they will come in handy. Let us know what you think and as always, your comments are always welcome.

20. HTML

HTML is an acronym for HyperText Markup Language. This happens to be the language of the web. In simpler words, this particular language would tell your web browser how to treat different elements. There are several different tags you can use in order to give properties to these elements. Basically, whatever you code these days during web development, chances are you are using HTML. The latest version for this particular language is HTML5 and it is being used on major webpages around the world.

19. CSS

CSS goes hand-in-hand with HTML. HTML, on its own, is usually not enough in order to come up with a great looking webpage. It is not entirely convenient at least. CSS is an acronym for Cascading Style Sheets. Designers can use CSS in order to create visual set of rules that eventually determine how all the different elements on a webpage actually behave and are rendered. The latest version for CSS is the CSS3 and we are sure you are quite familiar with it by now.

18. JavaScript

It is implied by the name that JavaScript is a scripting language. It will allow the web developers to create interactions on a particular web page. It was originally used for form validation and stuff like that but these days, the use of JavaScript has expanded exponentially. You can use it to create special visual effects. The best part about it is its ability to load an entirely new piece of content without having to load the entire page altogether. You should know however that even though it is called JavaScript, it has nothing to do with the programming language that also goes by the name of Java.

17. Responsive Design

A responsive design is basically that will adapt to the device user is using while loading a certain webpage. A website built on a responsive design will adapt to the properties of your device irrespective of the resolution and the amount of content. Everything is bound to fit in perfectly and originally into the smaller or larger screen you have at your disposal.

16. Semantic Markup

This is basically an approach in order to code HTML. Markup tags are used to describe content and they are also responsible for providing the relevant metadata regarding the content as well. A very basic example of a semantic markup would be the <p> tag. It is used to mark a paragraph. There are several such examples and we are certain you are familiar with them.

15. SaaS

SaaS is an acronym for Software as a Service. In layman’s terms, it is any service which provides a software platform. This platform is delivered from or otherwise via a cloud. The latest version of Microsoft Office online, Google Docs and Photoshop Express are primary examples that have SaaS running in full action.

14. A/B Testing

A/B Testing refers to the process of trying several different ways but to achieve the same end-result. You can call it efficiency or whatever. The point is to figure out what way will be more effective in the short and long-term. Usually, this methodology is reserved for trying out different layouts of web pages etc.

13. ARIA

ARIA is an acronym for Accessible Rich Internet Application. It basically regards the technologies that can be used to assist in making the web more accessible. More simply, it defines the technologies that fill out the gap between what a user needs and a website or otherwise a web application.

12. Information Architecture (IA)

All the layout of content and information on a particular website has a very general term to refer to it by. That term is called Information Architecture or otherwise IA. It primarily refers to the organization or information on a webpage, what content is on what page, and how these many pages interact with each other within a particular website. It is supposed to ease out the entire process of locating information.  The aim can be increasing revenue and user satisfaction etc.

11. Server-side Scripting

In order to provide application functionality on a particular website, there are two different ways. Client-Side and Server-Side. Client-side is where all the data is handled by the browser using JavaScript, and Server-Side is where the data manipulation occurs. Server-side scripting is a term used to describe the languages that are used in order to manipulate the data on the server-side. These language could include ASP.NET and PHP etc. These languages are referred to as scripting languages.

10. Vectors

These are basically graphics which comprise geometrical shapes as opposed to pixels. These graphics can be scaled to a larger size without any damage.

9. Bitmap

Bitmaps are graphics made out of pixels unlike the Vector graphics. Bitmaps always depend on the resolution and they don’t scale to a larger size all that easily. In fact, if you zoom in on a bitmap, you will be able to see the pixels.


This is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black). It is a very common color scheme that is used in print graphics.

7. RGB

Everybody is familiar with this particular color scheme. These are the primary colors, Red, Green, and Blue. It is the color scheme for digital graphics.

6. Flat Design

This is a design philosophy that is gaining quite a lot of popularity. Flat basically refers to no dimensional depth. The concept literally holds to flat. These are basic graphics, but they look quite amazing these days.

5. Skeuomorphism

This particular word refers to something that is the exact opposite of a flat design. This concept is dying slowly since the flat design is gaining popularity. If you are looking for examples, just think of the previous versions of iOS; the icons.

4. Metro Design

This is the Microsoft Design Language. It was developed by Microsoft and it is used by various products from the company. The inspiration for this design came from public transportation signs. It looks pretty amazing and simple.

3. Masonry Grid

This is layout style and it became really famous after the huge success of Pinterest. The design is based on a column structure. The content is fit in columns parallel to each other but the pieces are not symmetrical.

2. Above the Fold

If you are working with online platforms, this term should be very important to you. It refers to the section of the screen which can be seen without having to scroll downwards. In an ideal situation, this area is where all the important content should go.

1. White Space

This space is also referred to as negative space. It is the space between all the different elements on a webpage. This particular space is not meant to be used. It appeals to the aesthetics which is why it should remain empty, white or negative; whichever you prefer.

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