5 Web Design Terms You Should Understand

A web design projects can be both exhilarating and bewildering, especially for a first timer. One of the first hurdles everyone faces is understanding terminology commonly used by web designers to describe the processes and deliverables. Being up to speed on basic terms, can greatly ease a trip through the world of web design.

Below is a list of a few important terms to help jumpstart your understanding of web design. To find out more about web terminology, visit

Responsive Web Design

A responsive web design contains flexible layouts and content to support an optimal user experience across screen sizes. Responsive design is often used in reference to mobile devices. But mobile support is only one aspect of responsive web design. An optimal experience for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones should all be accounted for in a responsive web design.


HyperText Markup Language, or HTML, is a markup language used to create and format web pages. Markup language isn’t unique to the web and was derived from terminology used to “markup” print manuscripts, for example, adding “bold” and “italics” formatting to text. HTML is what gives a web page its “look and feel”, as opposed to the information on a web page, such as plain text and images.

Above / Below The Fold

Depending on the size of the screen being used to view a website, some web page content may exist below the lowest point on the screen (“below the fold”), requiring viewers to scroll down to see the content. Content that is visible when the user initially lands on a web page is “above the fold”.

Keeping most of a web page’s content “above the fold” was at one time an important consideration for web designers. Today, with the screen sizes of many shapes and sizes combined with the commonality of scrolling, keeping content above the fold has become less of a concern.


In web terms, navigation refers to elements on a website that aid users in moving from web page to web page or within a page. One example of a design element in a website’s navigation system is a button that usually exists within a web page titled “Contact Us” which links to a web page that informs a user about how to establish contact with someone via the organization’s website. A website’s navigation also includes the main menu, often found at the top of a website’s pages,  sidebar menus, as well as links defined within a page’s content.

Information Architecture

Information Architecture is a process that defines a website’s organization and usability. The process often consists of creating a

  • Sitemap, a hierarchical list of pages available on a website
  • Wireframes, a document that determines a website’s overall structure, layout, and feature set

A website’s design is then derived from the information architecture documentation.

Avatar New York is an innovating, award-winning New York web design firm dedicated to providing clients with responsive websites that help grow brands and convert visitors to customers. With an expertise in web development, branding, cloud hosting, mobile app development, and CMS and e-commerce solutions, Avatar New York's top tier designers have the ability to create intelligent websites for any type of business.