Deciphering techy website acronyms and jargon for your next website project.

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Website Planning Guide #4

You’re a digital marketing professional, but do you know your CMS from your CRM, your LAMP from your Post? Here at Rouge, we like to think we’re a plain-speaking bunch, but technical, industry jargon is a necessary part of everyday chats and nurdles*.

*Nurdle – an impromptu meeting, often between developers. The joining of nerd and cuddle – a Nurdle

Here’s a handy list to help you navigate through some of the fog

A/B Testing – A/B testing is a methodology for trying out different ways of achieving the same end result. With the aim of establishing, through experimentation, which solution is the most effective. Typically A/B testing is used to trial different layouts of web pages, tracking how many users convert to paying customers using alternative layouts. By continuing an iterative process of prototyping, evaluating and adapting, A/B testing can provide a significant increase to the conversion rate of individual pages.

Accessibility – As interface designers, it is our job to make sure we’re removing as many barriers as possible for those with disabilities, so that all users have equal access to content and functionality. 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.

API – stands for “Application Programming Interface.” This is how computers and applications can communicate with one another.

AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX is a method of your local client (browser) communicating to the webserver without the need to reload the whole web page. It is often used for smaller dynamic functions within the page. Google made AJAX popular with Google Suggest – a way of providing search results as you start typing into the search box.

Breadcrumbs – breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is a menu navigation method used in user website interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their location by showing a path from the Home page or from the related parent section of their web page or document.

Cache – A cache is a device’s temporary storage space and improves application performance. When you visit a webpage, your browser will keep a record of the pages you visit, storing the files in the cache. This means the browser doesn’t have to re-read them, which saves time.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – Cascading Style Sheets is a language used for describing the look and formatting of a document written in a mark-up language. It is most commonly paired with HTML which defines the structure of page or document. CSS allows the separation of content and style. A single, separate style sheet can be applied to many pages creating efficient mark-up. Any number of different style sheets can also be applied to the same page. This is useful if the visitor wants to view the content on a different device or browser. This could be a mobile device, audio browser, print page etc.

Content management system (CMS) – A content management system is usually a web-based application that allows the creation, publishing or modifying of content from a central interface. It allows technical or non-technical content producers to manage web content, often collaboratively or in a workflow process. At Rouge, we use a number of content management systems. We’re expert designers and developers in WordPress and Drupal content management systems.

Cookie – A Cookie is a simple text file that a browser places on your computer’s hard drive on behalf of the website being viewed. The Cookie usually contains information, such as a user or session ID that allows the website to remember who the visitor is across multiple page views or browsing sessions. The most common reasons cookies are placed are to keep a visitor logged in to a website and/or to remember the contents of a shopping basket. Many of us use an analytics system of some sort (e.g. Google Analytics) which use cookies to track and store anonymous visitor behaviour.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Is a technology used to manage interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps organisations build customer relationships and streamline processes so they can increase sales, improve customer service, and increase profitability.

CTA – A Call to Action is exactly what it sounds like; a visual element asking users to complete an action. Common CTAs for nonprofit websites may request that users subscribe to a newsletter, donate to a cause, sign up to volunteer or download specific educational materials, just to name a few.

Depreciated – If a technology, practice or feature is depreciated if usually means that it is no longer current and to be superseded. For example, a number of elements and attributes are deprecated in HTML 4.0, which means that more recent attributes are recommended.

DNS – Stands for Domain Name Service (alternately Domain Name System or Domain Name Server). Basically, it’s the thing that converts IP addresses into domain names. DNS servers are provided with the IP address of your web server when you assign your domain name to those servers. In turn, when someone types your domain name into their web browser, those DNS servers translate the domain name to the IP address and point the browser to the correct web server.

Doctype – The declaration is an instruction to the web browser about what version of HTML the page is written in. It is (or should be) the first item in an HTML document.

Extensible Markup language (XML) – Extensible Markup Language or XML is a language that was designed to describe data rather than display data. It has similarities to HTML but unlike HTML it’s up to you to define your own tags. It’s unusual in that it doesn’t do anything, it’s purely descriptive. I.e.

<title>The Hoarse Whisperer</title>
<author>Susan Socks</author>
<publisher>Penguin</ publisher >

Favicon – A favicon is an image that appears next to your domain name in the browser address bar.

File Transfer Protocol – File Transfer Protocol or FTP is a method or transferring files to and from a server. Unlike HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) which will just make a server request regardless of whether or not it thinks it can complete the connection, FTP needs to establish a connection and ensure it can deliver or receive ‘packets’ before it begins transferring data.

Front-end – The front-end is the components of a website that a visitor to the site can see (pages, images, content, etc.) Specifically, it’s the interface that visitors use to access the site’s content. It’s also sometimes referred to as the User Interface.

Back-end – Websites aren’t superficial; there are a lot of internal processes that the user can’t see. The back end or admin area of your website is where you can publish content or update software, for example.

Fold – The fold is a term carried over from newspaper design and pagination (where the fold referred to the physical fold in the paper). The fold in a website is the point on the webpage that rests at the bottom of someone’s browser (in other words, to see anything below the fold, they would have to scroll down). There are varying opinions on how important the fold is in web design.

Hover State – A hover state (also called a rollover state) is the slight animation that is triggered when a user rolls their cursor over a link. This helps ensure that site visitors know what they can and cannot click on throughout the site. A hover state can be as simple as a button changing colour or as complex as design elements moving or fading in and out.

Headings – Headings are structured HTML elements that describe section headings and titles. They are defined with tags that range from <h1> to <h6>, with <h1> being the most important. Users and search engines alike use headings to make sense of content structure. It’s important to use them in the correct way. There should ideally be only one <h1> per page with the other heading tags nested within the more important tags above it. Like so:

<h1> main heading </h1>
<h2> su heading 1</h2>
<h3> sub, subheading 1</h3>
<h2> sub heading 2</h2>
<h3> sub, subheading 2</h3>

Hyper Text mark-up language (HTML) – HTML is the language that webpages are written in. HTML is a mark-up language which means that it describes the structure of the content rather than the style. Style Sheets are applied to HTML documents to manage the look and feel of the content and layout.

JavaScript – After HTML and CSS, JavaScript is the 3rd language that every web developer should learn. JavaScript it the language that provided behaviour to web pages. Animation, interactivity, form validation and many other dynamic functions are provided by JavaScript. It is platform independent and most usually runs from the browser rather than the host server.

LAMP stack – The LAMP ‘stack’ is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, an open-source Web development platform. It describes the server operating system (Linux), the server software (Apache), the database technology (MySQL) and the programming language (PHP). It is the usual technology foundation for Drupal and WordPress, the content management systems that we like to work with here at Rouge.

Landing page – A landing page is the page where a visitor first enters a website. Often, a landing page is created to encourage a specific action from the new visitor, usually in connection with an advertising or marketing campaign.

MVP – A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.

MySQL – MySQL is the world’s most popular open-source database. It is most widely used in web applications and the database described in the LAMP Stack (above). A database stores and manages the content and user information in a content managed website. Twitter is an example of a large provider who uses MySQL.

Nurdle – Rouge slang: A stand-up meeting between developers and designers. A combination of the words Nerd and Cuddle.

Open Source – Open Source is used in computer terms to describe source code that is available for general use to use or modify. It is often a collaborative effort where modifications are made available for the greater good of the community and shared openly.

PHP – is an open-source scripting language used to create dynamic web pages. PHP is the foundation of WordPress and Drupal content management systems (cms) used by Rouge to deliver responsive, interactive websites and web applications. PHP is server-side and cannot be seen by the user in the browser. It uses a similar syntax to C and Perl. It is the ‘P’ in the LAMP stack (see above). Well known websites like Facebook and Wikipedia use PHP.

Responsive web design – Responsive web design allows the same web content to be displayed on large or small screens and devices (desktop, tablet, phone) without the need to create a different website version for each device. In many cases it replaces the need for mobile versions of websites, reducing development costs. Here at Rouge we use a framework called BootStrap which is the starting point for all responsive development. It allows us to deliver mobile-friendly websites and web applications quickly and efficiently by reducing development and testing time. We have many examples of responsive web design – Try looking at the websites in our portfolio on different devices!

RSS – Rich Site Summary is the technology that provides a feed from web-based content and makes it available to other users. The users’ browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates. RSS removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content.

Screen Reader – A screen reader attempts to interpret the content of a web page and provides an audio or braille output. Screen readers are aimed at users who are unable to read a monitor or mobile touch screen and could be visually impaired, learning disabled or illiterate. Like screen-based browsers, there are many screen reader types available. The choice depends on the particular disability or cost. Ensuring that mark-up is formatted correctly and content is readable to ensure the maximum number of users can access the content.

Semantic markup – This is clearly defined on Wikipedia.

Taxonomy – Taxonomy is the classification of content. In website and content terms it allows us to create content that relates to other content. It is useful if the site is made up of categories, subcategories of similar content. An example would be content for a recipe site where ‘starters’, ‘main courses’ and ‘desserts’ could be main categories and ‘beef’, ‘pork’, ‘chicken’ could be subcategories of ‘main courses’. Well organised and predictable content makes life easy for the content editor, Drupal web developer and the end-user.

Security Update – Security flaws are found in the WordPress code either by the module or core developers themselves or by malicious attacks. As a matter of priority, the core and module developers secure the code as flaws become apparent and then publish the updates for web developers to implement. If you have a website maintenance agreement with us, will apply all security updates as they become available.

Teaser – A teaser is a snippet of syndicated content from another area of the website or another website altogether. It is most often used to display the first few articles from a Blog or News area. It is called a teaser because only the first few lines of the article are shown, usually followed by ellipses and a link to the main article.

Theme – A theme is a pre-designed and built graphical ‘skin’ for a website or content management system. For lower cost websites Rouge will often apply a theme to a Drupal or WordPress install and then apply custom graphics to produce a bespoke design within a predefined framework. A theme will also prove a responsive framework, making the site mobile friendly out of the box without the need for repetitive development, allowing us to pass the efficiencies on to the client.

UAT – User acceptance testing (UAT) is the last phase of the website testing process. During UAT, actual software users test the software to make sure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, according to specifications.

UI – User Interface design is about the front-end design look and feel – the bit your prospects and customers interface with. It is also about placing the items on the page in the best way to achieve your objectives (e.g. engaging with prospects).

UX – User experience encompasses all aspects of the end user’s interaction with the user interface.

Information architecture (AI) –  organising and structuring content in an effective way for the users.

QA / QC – quality assurance / quality control

Users – In WordPress and Drupal, registered Users are able to securely log in and manage content (amongst other things). Users control their own access details. The website administrator can create roles and permissions that control specific access to content. In Drupal, anyone using the site is considered a User. a User browsing content with no login permissions is called an Anonymous User.

Validation – Validation is the process of checking the quality and markup, scripting and CSS of a website or web application. Ensuring that code is valid and well-formed means that users (real people, both abled and disabled) and SEO spiders can access the content. Code validation is one of a number of tests we do before a website is put live. A site has to be working exactly as designed before we will sign if off launch.

WordPress – An enterprise-level content management system for designing and building marketing and functional websites. WordPress websites are famously easy to use for the content editor. 

WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get’ editors, built into content management systems, allow a content editor to format content (text and images) through a web-based interface. WISIWYG editors often try to emulate Microsoft Word to make the process of editing content as easily as possible.

301 redirect – A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. This type of redirect is usually used to redirect from an old website page to the new website page.

404 – 404 is an error message that a user sees when what was requested cannot be found. This is often due to trying to reach a page that doesn’t exist, or an incorrectly typed page URL.

Challenge us

What have we missed? Are there any classic TLAs (three letter acronyms) or techie phrases that you use, or have heard. Or perhaps you have marketing related jargon that you baffle the uninitiated with? Let us know – Send us your ideas.

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