The web design terms you probably need to know, written for begginers.

Curious about what creates great website performance? We’ve narrowed in on 20 essential terms that will give you the insight necessary to enhance your next project and give you more confidence around the topic of web performance.

01. Website Performance Optimisation (WPO)

The process of enhancing a website’s performance using a diversity of measures, techniques, and strategies. Typically with a focus on page rendering to increase loading speed, this procedure will see website applications fine-tuned to create a better user experience.

02. User Interface (UI)

A user interface is the visual surface of digital applications that the user sees. In the case of websites, the UI is also known as the front-end. Common materials that websites use to construct a UI include screen menus, icons, shortcuts, command language, and buttons/touch points. 

03. User Experience (UX)

User experience is the overall physical, visual, and emotional experience a person has when interacting with a product. For websites, the UX often begins with the page loading speed and UI design. 

04. Responsive Design

An approach to website design that allows a website to be viewed on all screen sizes, and without compromising on user experience. This is accomplished by use of a specific layout that can shift and change to accommodate the available devices.

05. Web Application

A computer program that is stored on a remote server and delivered to internet browsers through a website. In simpler terms, think of SaaS apps, social media sites and our very own project management system The Hive.

06. Dynamic Content

Content that frequently changes in ambition to better engage a user. Examples include animations, video, audio, and moveable text.

07. Static Content

Content that will not update on an automated basis and instead requires manual assistance to make changes. This content makes the structure of most web applications, which are more commonly known as flat or stationary pages.

08. Domain Sharding

A technique for splitting resources across multiple domains in order to improve load times and search engine visibility. By utilising multiple domains, web browsers gain the ability to download the varied content simultaneously. However, with the adoption of HTTP 2.0 this method is slowly being phased out.

09. Lossless Compression

A method that allows data to be compressed without losing any quality or substance. Lossless compression is typically used for the transmission or storing of data and since no data is lost in the process, it can be decompressed into its original state.

10. Concatenation

Concatenation is the act of joining multiple character strings together to become a singular body. As a result, when concatenated character strings are used they send fewer requests to browsers, enabling faster processing times. 

11. HyperText

Hypertext is the most popular prefix for site addresses and is widely recognised by its acronym, HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). As the protocol identifier for URLs, an HTTP will do just that; define the protocol for how the URLs resource name is formatted and transmitted. 

Today the HTTPS variant (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is more commonly used as it includes added security. It does this by feeding data through an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security).

12. Sequencing

Sequencing is a method of re-arranging content to manipulate the order of objects being loaded. This is achieved through a reverse proxy which understands the DOM (Document Object Model).

13. Scalability

Scalability refers to the capability of managing required growth by efficiently adjusting to meet size, space, or content demands.

14. Omnichannel

An omnichannel is a content strategy that requires the creation of multiple user touch points, these can include web, mobile, or in-store. By increasing user interaction, an omnichannel will develop stronger user relationships and enhance the user experience. 

15. Time-to-Live (TTL)

Time-to-live refers to the set amount of time before a cache will automatically refresh. Upon refreshing, a page will then show any changes made since its last capture. TTL is an efficient process for ensuring content is kept up to date.

16. Service Level Agreement (SLA)

An SLA is a contract between a service provider and client. Specific to service, the contract will define the qualities and responsibilities of the service that are to be met on both ends. 

17. Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is the percentage of users who navigate (bounce) away from a website after viewing only one page. This data is often used to measure web page success based on web performance and content.

18. HTTP 2.0 (HTTP/2)

HTTP/2 is the second major release of the popular HTTP. It was created to improve website efficiency by minimising the number of requests required to render a page. The design is based on Google’s SPDY protocol (open-specification networking) which enhances web performance by reducing web page load latency.

19. Domain Name Server (DNS)

The DNS is the internet’s directory of domain names (URLs) that have all been translated into IP addresses. This is fundamental because humans and web browsers access data differently. Where we use domain names such as neonhive.co.nz, a web browser will use the IP address 13.248.141.96 to find our website on Amazon Web Server.

The DNS ultimately offers a name to number translation that allows browsers to make the connection and load internet resources.

20. A/B Testing (Split Testing)

A/B testing is an assessment method used to enhance user experience. This is done by running two variations of a web page against each other to compare their performance success. The results from this test then drive the decision-making on which variant to use.

Get Creative

There you have it, 20 website performance essentials. By offering you this list of more consumable definitions, we hope you will gain more confidence around the topic of website performance. 

Now, with this knowledge, go forward and apply your insight liberally! The wild world of web design awaits your next digital project.

Jonathan Cook

Since founding Neon Hive in 2015, Jonathan continues to work passionately on both client and agency-side projects. With extensive industry experience and two first class honours bachelor degrees across finance and computer science, Jonathan brings a strategic and results driven mindset to helping clients transform and grow.

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