IT & Web — February 25, 2019 at 8:16 am

Common Terms in Web Design Explained


Are you new to web design and getting stumped by all the terms developers use? Here are brief explanations for common terms you would encounter in web design circles:

Mobile Responsiveness

It’s easy to get confused by the term. However, mobile responsiveness is a simple term that refers to how well your website can be viewed across handheld devices.

Your website would not appear the same on a smartphone as it would on a desktop. A mobile responsive website design would appear roughly the same regardless of the size of the screen. Responsive web design is standard fare these days, as most customers are using their phones to shop online.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript

These three terms refer to programming languages. Website designers commonly use these language to build sites from scratch.

HTML is commonly called the language of the web. HTML code is used within web browsers. HTML5 is the latest version of this code.

CSS is used to design the most visual elements of a web page. For example, it’s CSS that allows web designers to code for things like colour of the text or shape of the background.

JavaScript is a scripting programming language. It’s used to add advanced features like special effects to a website. Knowing to code a language like JavaScript is essential for advanced CMS platforms, such as Shopify developers.


A CMS is a content management platform. These are used to build websites from scratch, using templates provided by the platform. Popular CMS platforms include Magento, BigCommerce, and Drupal. WordPress is the most popular CMS in use today.

A CRM is completely different. It refers to a customer relationship manager. It’s often a bundle of tools that allow web designers to manage customer data, sales information, emails, and so on.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a form of testing to compare different website layouts. It’s commonly used to test features that enable higher conversion rates. For example, if you want to know which colour is the best for a CTA button, you can use A/B testing.

It allows you to show one webpage layout to a group of people, and another for a control group. You can then compare metrics such as conversion rate and traffic to understand if the feature you were testing had any impact on the metrics you were seeking.

Server Side and Client Side

Most applications on a website either runs on the server side, or the client side. The server is easy to understand as the server the site is hosted on. The application could be stored on the server itself executed from there.

A client-side application, on the other hand, runs from the website browser. Client-side apps are often designed using JavaScript. Most modern web apps are use a combination of server and client side execution.

Agile Development

This fancy-sounding term refers to managing design in an incremental manner. Instead of designing everything from one go, agile projects handle various components via collaborating teams.

The teams may share code to build a website. The website rollout may be handled in a highly managed, step-by-step basis as well.

Familiarize yourself with the above terms. It would make web design a lot less esoteric.

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