What The HTML!?! Essential Web Design Vocabulary That All Business Owners Need To Know
Even though you won’t be the one building your website, there are several web design concepts that you need to know about. They will help you ensure that your website meets modern standards, is easy to use and can be updated in the future. Plus, understanding them will help you communicate exactly what you want to your web designer.
Responsive websites adapt to the size of the screen or window they are loaded on. This means they are mobile-friendly, tablet-friendly and desktop-friendly. This also makes them SEO-friendly, since Google’s algorithm rewards mobile optimisation. The opposite of a responsive website is a fixed-width one, so make sure to avoid that.
Accessible websites contain features that help people with disabilities or very slow internet connections use the site. They include alt text that describes images, video transcripts and plugins that will read articles aloud. A careful choice of font and colours will also help users with dyslexia. Additionally, Google recommends that you “Build your site with a logical link structure. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.”
Speaking of logical link structures, breadcrumbs help both the reader and Google’s “spiders” (algorithms and programmes that crawl websites to update search results) understand where exactly they are on your website. You’ll often see them at the top of the webpage, looking something like “Home > About Us > Meet the Team”.
This means that videos and photos load as the user scrolls down the web page. This is a good thing: it speeds up the page load time, which has been correlated with a lower bounce rate , while also improving the user experience. Plus, Google favours sites with a fast load time .
Most websites are built with a grid structure. This means that when you want to add something to a page, your designer will need to fit it into a certain row or cell on the grid.
This is the area on a webpage where the user is most likely to focus first. You should speak to your web designer about which part of the grid this is likely to be, and based on that, decide what to put there. For example, you might place a call to action or special deal there. Don’t forget that the focal point could be different when viewed on mobile or tablet.
If your designer is building your own theme, then you won’t need to worry about a child theme. If, however, they are adapting a pre-existing theme (which can make the process quicker and more affordable), they will also make something called a child theme. This means that when the parent theme is updated – which is essential if you want to keep your website secure – you won’t lose the stylistic adaptations that are specific to your website.
CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, are what determine the appearance of your website. While HTML will mandate the structure, CSS will be used to prescribe fonts, colour choices and more. CSS is normally site-wide, but you can add embedded style sheets to the header of specific pages. This will override the site-wide CSS and allow you to create a distinctive look for that page alone.
The backend is the part of the website that you, not the reader, will access. It is password-protected and is where you can go to add new content, do updates and more.
Content Management System (CMS)
A content management system helps you upload new content, such as blog posts and images, and edit existing content. Common CMSs include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Your web designer will be able to advise you on the best CMS for your needs.
Looking for someone to design a responsive, fast-loading website with an easy-to-use CMS? Get in touch today.