Web Design Vocabulary

A basic set of vocabulary terms used in web design and development.

Server (software)
A software dedicated to a particular task for example serving web pages, printing files or storing data.
Server (hardware)
Once a server software requires too much power from the computer it is installed on for other programs to also run on it, the entire computer is dedicated to that particular task. For example: serving web pages.
Network
Any situation where two or more computers are connected in a way that they can “talk” to each other.
Domain Name
The name of a web site, such as “duckduckgo.com” or “johnabbott.qc.ca”.
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Optimizing Images: A Lazy Web Designer’s Guide

Choose your image optimization wisely

illustration of speed
© Sean MacEntee https://flic.kr/p/8U28ub Creativecommons.org 2

Look at your image. Does it have millions of colors like a photograph does? Use JPEG.

Does it have flat color, as in a vector-based drawing with flat colored fills? Use PNG (or GIF).

Avoid using GIF. Use PNG instead. It is the open source equivalent (and even better) that was made to offer an alternative to the proprietary GIF image format.

Wikipedia article

TLDR? Look at this table instead

File Format Image type
JPEG Photographic imagery
GIF Flat color, limited color palette, simple transparency.
PNG-8 Flat color, limited color palette, simple transparency.
PNG-24 Complex transparency
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The Short History of Website Building

Ever wonder how the web started out way back when? Check out this amazing infographic by Diana Valeanu that was published on Designmodo.

From one single server and web page in 1991 to nearly two billion web sites this year – this infographic plots the changes and milestones in the history of the World Wide Web.

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Explore web career path job titles & descriptions

Explore Rachel Manning’s detailed picture of the web industry in Dissecting Front-end Job Titles.

Web Designer — Probably went to school for graphic design. This role has mostly been replaced by UI design since the rise of appreciation for good user experience.


UX Designer — Often a researcher that brings the site to the stage of wireframes and prototypes.


UI Designer — Designs the look and feel of the site, often creating an advanced prototype.

Although it starts off mostly talking about Computer Science students, the discussion of design and interactivity careers is very good. It’s an important read for soon-to-be graduates interested in web careers.

Soon you will be meeting teams of people. All of them with very different responsibilities and skills. This article helps differentiate the forest from the trees.

Basic BASH Terminal commands for Web Designers

The moment you choose to get into web design and development, you choose to enter a universe of endless connections in between machines scattered across the globe.

Louise Bourgeois’s Maman spider sculpture and the web it cast in shadows at dawn
Louise Bourgeois’s Maman spider sculpture and the web it cast in shadows at dawn. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Photo ©Eric Girouard.

There is you at your computer, and then there is everything else on the internet. By definition, the rest of the internet is “remote” to you dear reader of this post.

So, once again by definition, web design is a career where all the important stuff happens on other machines – on “remote web servers” usually – and being able to connect to such a machine to create and edit files and folders as well as manage transfers of data from machine to machine is a valuable skill.

The most efficient tool for logging into any remote computer is the CLI (“command-line interface“) which you gain access to when you start an application called the Terminal.

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Create a valid HTML 5 template using PHP Includes

This is an old video I posted many years ago to my own web site. It is – I believe – the most popular post I have ever created. At last count, the video has over twenty-five thousand hits. I had the step-by-step written tutorial on my site back then and I lost track of how many times it was the most popular thing on my web site each month.

This is a beginner’s tutorial on how to create a valid HTML 5 template that uses PHP includes (“require” actually) that assembles the code on the server. This gives designers the opportunity to build a theme (or “skin”) that can manage the look of an entire web site – large or small.

This type of coding is a stepping-stone exercise in between coding HTML by hand and having a fully dynamic database-driven site, such as WordPress, or a custom content management system (“CMS”).

Enjoy.