Terminology

A glossary of digital publishing terms

Accessibility

Basically, this is the ability of a website to be used by people with disabilities, including visually impaired visitors using screen readers, hearing impaired visitors using no sound, color blind people, or those with other disabilities. A website with low accessibility is basically going to be impossible for those with disabilities to use. Accessibility is particularly important for sites providing information to those with disabilities (healthcare sites, government sites, etc.), though it is an important aspect to consider when designing any site.

AJAX

Stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX is typically used for creating dynamic web applications and allows for asynchronous data retrieval without having to reload the page a visitor is on. The JavaScript on a given page handles most of the basic functions of the application, making it perform more like a desktop program instead of a web-based one.

Backend

The backend of a web site refers to the HTML markup, code, files and server processes that make the web site work. The backend is what the web designer builds, the frontend is what the web site visitor sees.

Backlinks

Links from other website pages to yours. Backlinks are used to increase a site’s popularity with search engines and to get more people to visit your site.

Below the fold

This term is a carry-over from newspaper publishing days. In newspaper terms, “below the fold” means content was on the bottom half of the page (below the physical fold in the paper). In web design terms, “below the fold” refers to the content that is generally going to be below the point first viewable to the average website visitor in their browser (in other words, viewers would have to scroll down to see the content).

Bounce rate

A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the site from the same page they entered the site, without clicking through to any other pages. This can be a good indicator of how good a website’s navigation is, as well as an indicator of the quality of the site’s content (a very high bounce rate doesn’t bode well for either of those things).

Bread crumb

A breadcrumb or breadcrumb trail is the part of the navigation that shows you where you are, similar to the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”. Breadcrumb trails are often found near the top of Web pages and define both the current location within the site hierarchy as well as primary pages above the current page.

Button groups

A series of buttons together on a single line with the button group.

Cache/chaching

Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser so that the next time that user visits the site, the page loads faster.

Cascading Style Sheets

Also referred to simply as CSS, Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web site outside of the actual HTML file(s) of the site. In recent years, CSS has replaced tables and other HTML-based methods for formatting and laying out websites. The benefits to using CSS are many, but some of the most important are the simplification of a site’s HTML files (which can actually increase search engine rankings) and the ability to completely change the style of a site by changing just one file, without having to make changes to content.

CMS

Short for content management system.

Dropdowns

Toggleable, contextual menu for displaying lists of links.

Elastic Layout

An elastic layout is one that uses percentages and ems for widths paired with a max-width style to allow the site layout to stretch when font sizes are changed. It’s ability to flex to accommodate the browser width and reader’s font preferences are where it gets its name.

Eye tracking

A method for testing the effectiveness of a web page. An eye tracking device monitors the movement of the pupil to determine where on the page the subject looks first. It tracks the movement of the eye as the subject scans the page. This information is then used by the web designer to improve the page layout.

Farm out (outsource)

When you farm something out, you assign the task to a third party such as a freelance designer.

Favicon

A favicon or Favorites Icon is a small graphic that is associated with a page or Web site. The favicon allows the Web developer to customize the site in the Web browser, both in the tab bar that is displayed in many browsers as well as in the bookmarks when a site is saved.

It was named the favicon because it was first developed in Internet Explorer, which calls bookmarked sites “favorites” and this icon was displayed in the favorites menu.

Most site favicons are designed as a small rendition of their logo or other branding mechanism.

Fixed Width Layout

A fixed width layout has a set width (generally defined in pixels) set by the designer. The width stays the same regardless of screen resolution, monitor size, or browser window size. It allows for minute adjustments to be made to a design that will stay consistent across browsers. Designers have more control over exactly how a site will appear across platforms with this type of layout.

Focal Point

The focal point of a web site is the spot on a web page that they eye is naturally drawn to. This could be an image, a banner, text, Flash content, or just about anything else. You want to make sure that whatever is acting as your focal point is the most important part of your site.

Frontend

The part of the web site that the end user sees.

Graphical user interface

In computing, a graphical user interface (GUI, sometimes pronounced “gooey” or “gee-you-eye”) is a type of interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators such as secondary notation, as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation. GUIs were introduced in reaction to the perceived steep learning curve of command-line interfaces (CLIs), which require commands to be typed on the keyboard.

Hero Image

The principle image used on a page or article. Usually very large, above all text.

Example: example.com

Hit

Contrary to popular belief, a hit does not represent a single visitor to a website. A hit is actually a request for a single file from your web server. This means one page can actually generate multiple hits, as each page generally has more than one file (an html or other base file, a css file, multiple images, etc.) and each one is requested from the server whenever the page is loaded. Some marketing people like to quote hits to unknowing consumers as the number makes their site sound like it’s getting a whole lot more traffic than it actually is.

Hyperlink

A hyperlink is a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or another one. Generally these are text or images, and are highlighted in some way (text is often underlined or put in a different color or font weight). The inclusion of hyperlinks are the “hyper” part of “hypertext.”

Hypertext

Hypertext is any computer-based text that includes hyperlinks. Hypertext can also include presentation devices like tables or images, in addition to plain text and links.

Jumbotron

A lightweight, flexible component that can optionally extend the entire viewport to showcase key content on your site.

Landing page

A landing page is the page where a visitor first enters a website. Often, a special landing page is created to incite a specific action from a new visitor.

Liquid Layout

A liquid layout is one that is based on percentages of the browser window’s size. The layout of the site will change with the width of the browser, even if the visitor changes their browser size while viewing the page. Liquid layouts take full advantage of a person’s browser width, optimizing the amount of content you can fit onscreen at one time.

Meta data

Meta data is the data contained in the header that offers information about the web page that a visitor is currently on. The information contained in the meta data isn’t viewable on the web page (except in the source code). Meta data is contained within meta tags.

Natural User Interface

In computing, a Natural User Interface (NUI) is the common parlance used by designers and developers of human-machine interfaces to refer to a user interface that is effectively invisible, and remains invisible as the user continuously learns increasingly complex interactions. The word natural is used because most computer interfaces use artificial control devices whose operation has to be learned.

Nesting

Placing one element inside another. When two tags are opened, they must be closed in the reverse order.

Pageview

A pageview is a request for an entire web page document from a server by a visitor’s browser. In other words, for each page view your site had, someone (or a search engine spider) looked at that page.

Parallax scrolling

Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique in computer graphics, wherein background images move by the camera slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth in a 2D video game and adding to the immersion.
Web designers began incorporating parallax scrolling in 2011, using HTML5 and CSS3. Websites with parallax backgrounds are becoming an increasingly popular strategy, as advocates argue it is a simple way to embrace the fluidity of the Web.

Permalink

Short for “permanent link.” Generally used only on blogs, a permalink is a link that is the permanent web address of a given blog post. Since most blogs have constantly-changing content, the permalink offers a way for readers to bookmark or link to specific posts even after those posts have moved off the home page or primary category page.

Tracking

The space between letters in a block of text. In CSS this is defined with the letter-spacing property. Tracking is a form of micro whitespace that allows you to control the legibility of text on Web pages.

Traffic

A very broad term that refers to the amount of activity and/or the number of users on a web site.

Example: example.com

Twitterbot

A Twitterbot is a program used to produce automated posts on the Twitter microblogging service, or to automatically follow Twitter users. Twitterbots come in various forms. For example, many serve as spam, enticing clicks on promotional links. Others post @replies or automatically “retweet” in response to tweets that include a certain word or phrase. These automatic tweets are often seen as fun or silly. Some Twitter users even program Twitterbots to assist themselves with scheduling or reminders.

UEM

User experience moment.

Usability

Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to your site to use your site in its intended manner. In other words, are navigation, content, images, and any interactive elements easy to use, functioning the way they were intended, and that your intended target visitor will not need any special training in order to use your site.

WebGL

A Web Graphics Library (WebGL) is a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D computer graphics and 2D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins. WebGL is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. WebGL elements can be mixed with other HTML elements and composited with other parts of the page or page background.

Wireframe

A wireframe is a visual representation of a website. It allows designers and developers to present proposed functions, graphic elements, structure, and content of a website with simple line drawings.

Latest Resources

The Future of Browser History
medium.freecodecamp.com

About browsers history, and how we tend to browse nowadays.

Swiss in CSS
swissincss.com

Swiss in CSS is a homage to the International Typographic Style and the designers that pioneered the ideas behind the influential design movement.

Automatically art-directed responsive images
cloudinary.com

by Eric Portis

WHAT IS CODE?
bloomberg.com

Businessweek, June 11, 2015
by Paul Ford

Interview with Tom Krcha, Adobe XD
subtraction.com

Adobe released the first public preview of what the company is now calling Adobe XD, its their major new UX/UI design and prototyping tool.

Typography for User Interfaces
viljamis.com

A recap of how far type in UI has come, where it’s going (VR) and what to look for when choosing a workhorse for your next interface. (via Atomic.io)

Typeface As Programme: Glossary
typotheque.com

A glossary of tools and technologies mentioned in Typeface As Programme.
by Jürg Lehni

Declarative Design Tools
jon.gold

Our brains and computers are fast; our hands, mice and keyboards are slow.

Roger That: Emoji Overdrive
ia.net

A font that turns the 2,000 most used English words into emoji.

Layout in Flipboard
engineering.flipboard.com

Flipboard Pages, a layout engine that turns web page articles into magazine pages for the iPad.

Use Your Interface
uyi.io

UYI, is a place documenting the uprising of motion based interface patterns.

Google Fonts
fonts.google.com

Google’s new site for Web fonts.

 

 

New Yorker cover comes to life
itsnicethat.com

Malika Favre’s illustration for this week’s New Yorker magazine has been brought to life by French animator Mathieu Maillefer.

Google Design
design.google.com

Google Design is a cooperative effort led by a group of designers, developers, writers, and UX advocates at Google whose goal is to capture and share their work and ideas with the user.

Color Library
colorlibrary.ch

“Color Library” is a database of color profiles for artists, designers and printers who are looking for a novel yet professional color management solution. These new tools can convert images for printing devices using two, three, four or five spot colors. It offers a large variety of combinations, from basic colors to metallics, neons and pastels.

Abstract Browsing
itsnicethat.com

Digital artist Rafaël Rozendaal is turning the internet inside out with an exhibition at Steve Turner Los Angeles.

Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print

Reflecting the dynamic changes in electronic technology since the first edition, this revision incorporates the Web and other current standards of electronic writing. By J. David Bolter.

As We May Think
theatlantic.com

As Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush has coordinated the activities of some six thousand leading American scientists in the application of science to warfare.

The Web Time Forgot
nytimes.com

In 1934, Paut Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (called “electric telescopes”) where “anyone in his armchair would be able to contemplate the whole of creation”, By Alex Wright

Natural User Interface

In computing, a Natural User Interface (NUI) is the common parlance used by designers and developers of human-machine interfaces to refer to a user interface that is effectively invisible, and remains invisible as the user continuously learns increasingly complex interactions. The word natural is used because most computer interfaces use artificial control devices whose operation has to be learned.

Graphical user interface

In computing, a graphical user interface (GUI, sometimes pronounced “gooey” or “gee-you-eye”) is a type of interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators such as secondary notation, as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation. GUIs were introduced in reaction to the perceived steep learning curve of command-line interfaces (CLIs), which require commands to be typed on the keyboard.

Parallax scrolling

Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique in computer graphics, wherein background images move by the camera slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth in a 2D video game and adding to the immersion.
Web designers began incorporating parallax scrolling in 2011, using HTML5 and CSS3. Websites with parallax backgrounds are becoming an increasingly popular strategy, as advocates argue it is a simple way to embrace the fluidity of the Web.

WebGL

A Web Graphics Library (WebGL) is a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D computer graphics and 2D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins. WebGL is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. WebGL elements can be mixed with other HTML elements and composited with other parts of the page or page background.

Twitterbot

A Twitterbot is a program used to produce automated posts on the Twitter microblogging service, or to automatically follow Twitter users. Twitterbots come in various forms. For example, many serve as spam, enticing clicks on promotional links. Others post @replies or automatically “retweet” in response to tweets that include a certain word or phrase. These automatic tweets are often seen as fun or silly. Some Twitter users even program Twitterbots to assist themselves with scheduling or reminders.

UEM

User experience moment.

Usability

Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to your site to use your site in its intended manner. In other words, are navigation, content, images, and any interactive elements easy to use, functioning the way they were intended, and that your intended target visitor will not need any special training in order to use your site.

Permalink

Short for “permanent link.” Generally used only on blogs, a permalink is a link that is the permanent web address of a given blog post. Since most blogs have constantly-changing content, the permalink offers a way for readers to bookmark or link to specific posts even after those posts have moved off the home page or primary category page.

Pageview

A pageview is a request for an entire web page document from a server by a visitor’s browser. In other words, for each page view your site had, someone (or a search engine spider) looked at that page.

Meta data

Meta data is the data contained in the header that offers information about the web page that a visitor is currently on. The information contained in the meta data isn’t viewable on the web page (except in the source code). Meta data is contained within meta tags.

Hypertext

Hypertext is any computer-based text that includes hyperlinks. Hypertext can also include presentation devices like tables or images, in addition to plain text and links.

Hyperlink

A hyperlink is a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or another one. Generally these are text or images, and are highlighted in some way (text is often underlined or put in a different color or font weight). The inclusion of hyperlinks are the “hyper” part of “hypertext.”

Hit

Contrary to popular belief, a hit does not represent a single visitor to a website. A hit is actually a request for a single file from your web server. This means one page can actually generate multiple hits, as each page generally has more than one file (an html or other base file, a css file, multiple images, etc.) and each one is requested from the server whenever the page is loaded. Some marketing people like to quote hits to unknowing consumers as the number makes their site sound like it’s getting a whole lot more traffic than it actually is.

Focal Point

The focal point of a web site is the spot on a web page that they eye is naturally drawn to. This could be an image, a banner, text, Flash content, or just about anything else. You want to make sure that whatever is acting as your focal point is the most important part of your site.

Fixed Width Layout

A fixed width layout has a set width (generally defined in pixels) set by the designer. The width stays the same regardless of screen resolution, monitor size, or browser window size. It allows for minute adjustments to be made to a design that will stay consistent across browsers. Designers have more control over exactly how a site will appear across platforms with this type of layout.

Elastic Layout

An elastic layout is one that uses percentages and ems for widths paired with a max-width style to allow the site layout to stretch when font sizes are changed. It’s ability to flex to accommodate the browser width and reader’s font preferences are where it gets its name.

Cascading Style Sheets

Also referred to simply as CSS, Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web site outside of the actual HTML file(s) of the site. In recent years, CSS has replaced tables and other HTML-based methods for formatting and laying out websites. The benefits to using CSS are many, but some of the most important are the simplification of a site’s HTML files (which can actually increase search engine rankings) and the ability to completely change the style of a site by changing just one file, without having to make changes to content.

Cache/chaching

Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser so that the next time that user visits the site, the page loads faster.

Bounce rate

A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the site from the same page they entered the site, without clicking through to any other pages. This can be a good indicator of how good a website’s navigation is, as well as an indicator of the quality of the site’s content (a very high bounce rate doesn’t bode well for either of those things).

AJAX

Stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX is typically used for creating dynamic web applications and allows for asynchronous data retrieval without having to reload the page a visitor is on. The JavaScript on a given page handles most of the basic functions of the application, making it perform more like a desktop program instead of a web-based one.