Useful Glossaries For Web Designers and Developers

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In a day in age where there are just as many freelancers as there are university educated designers, developers, and all around web gurus, it is amazing to me how much many of us don’t know or have forgot about our trade. As a self-taught designer, I will admit to you upfront that there is a lot I don’t know when it comes to official jargon or certain aspects of things like typography and graphic design. It is these reasons that I call upon glossaries from time to time.

These glossaries are also especially useful for those of you who are just getting started in the online business world. By understanding that basics of the core materials that make up whatever it is you are getting into, you will be able to have a better understanding of what’s going on in your industry, as well as be able to learn faster.

But glossaries aren’t just for brushing up on old terms or for calling upon while you learn new things. They can also make a great reference point for your customers. I am sure we have all had clients who thought they knew what they were talking about when it came to SEO or web design. When you try to explain to these clients that they don’t know what they are talking about, the end result can sometimes turn ugly or at least bring on an unwanted headache. In these situations it is handy to have a glossary at hand to point your clients to. This way they can see that they were mistaken and you get the satisfaction of your own personal “I told you so.”

Last week we presented Web Design Industry Jargon: Glossary and Resources751, a general guide to industry terms that should get you well on your way to understanding what web designers are talking about. In this post we go into detail in each single area of web design such as typography, usability, marketing, Photoshop, wordpress, graphic design, CSS, XHTML, DOM, JavaScript, print design, SEO, social media, software development, Twitter and further areas.

Typography Glossaries

You would be surprised how many designers, especially graphic designers, out there don’t know even the most basic of typography terms. I am guilty of this myself. I could probably count the number of typography terms that I know on two hands. I couldn’t tell you what makes one font better than the other aside from the way it looks. If you find yourself in this boat and want to learn more about the basics of typography, these glossaries are a good place to start.

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Usability, UX and IA Glossaries

Do yourself a favor and start learning as much as you can about usability and design. You would be surprised how much of a difference a user-friendly landing page can make. Simple things like button shapes, call to action wording, and colors can play a big part in how users interact with your design. Understanding the basics of usability can help you create better designs. Start by learning the basic terms in these glossaries.

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Marketing Glossaries

Following closely on the heals of good usability is understanding marketing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are one in the same, but they are definitely closely related. Better understanding how marketing works can do loads for your business and your clients business. Start educating your self by studying up on some of the more basic marketing terms. Or if you are already pretty market savvy, but want to brush up, there are a number of more “advanced” glossaries below as well.

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CSS, (X)HTML, DOM and JavaScript Glossaries

As designers and coders, we often need to look up the definition and the applying rules for an attribute, selector, tree node, a property or a HTML-tag. Therefore lookup-references may come in handy. Good news – there are many reference resources out there. Below you’ll find some really good ones.

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Graphic Design Glossaries

Perhaps it is because many designers are self taught that they only have a limited understanding of professional graphic design terms. Sure, we all know what cropping and justifying are, but there are so many other terms out there that many of us don’t know. While we can probably get away with never knowing them, it can’t hurt to learn. This is especially true for new designers. Why not go ahead and learn these terms early on while you are still in the learning process?

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Print Design Glossaries

The transition from print design, with its absolute positioning, fixed layouts and grid-structure to more dynamic and flexible web design isn’t an easy task. Therefore if your colleague is just doing the switch from print design to web design, you may need to be able to communicate with him in “his” or “her” language. Therefore general terms from print design may come in handy as well. Do you know what “4 over K”, “semi-gloss finish” or “column rule” mean? OK, let’s dive into the classic print design terms.

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Web Design Glossaries

I would think that many professional and full time designers and developers already know just about every term in these web design glossaries. However, I know that when first venturing into web design, many of the terms associated with the industry can be a bit foreign. Thus, I decided to add this collection of web design glossaries to the list for those who are getting into web design and developing and could use a little extra help figuring out what everything means.

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SEO Glossaries

Try to do some search engine optimization for your website or your clients? Knowing what you are talking about is always a good idea, for both you and your client. So often clients want some search engine optimization done, but really have no clue what they are asking for or what you are saying. Referring them to some of the search engine optimization glossaries below can do wonders to save you and your client a world of headaches when it comes to SEO work.

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Social Media

Because it seems like something new is always popping up on the social media scene, it is only natural that there may be terms we aren’t familiar with from time to time. This is especially true for those who are just venturing into online business and social media for the first time. This also goes back to the comments I made about SEO terms. You can save you and your clients some frustrations by making sure you are both on the same page by understanding what each other is talking about. Using these glossaries to explain yourself better to a client will work wonders in keeping you two on the same page.

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Twitter Glossaries

You had to know this list of glossaries was coming! With so much going on in the world today about Twitter, it is only natural that new Twitter users are popping up every day. When one first gets into Twitter the list of associated terminology can be very much like foreign language. For outsiders looking in, I think that is very much the case. I think my local news station needs to read up on these, as every time they talk about Twitter they look deeply confused about the words that are coming out of their mouth.

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CMS Glossaries

WordPress, Joomla, Textpattern and other CMS have a lot of its own and unique terms, tags and definitions. Because many people who run blogs don’t know the first things about servers, PHP, or even WordPress for that matter; it can be a bit intimidating. But, as many CMS users know, there isn’t much to it once you know how everything works. The glossaries below can help both developers and new users to WordPress, Joomla and TextPattern.

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Software Development

While most web designers do both front-end and back-end-development in their regular work, it may be helpful to have a good understanding not only of front-end (covered above), but also of common software development. A glossary with terms used in agile development, software engineering, prototyping and general software development. Apart from that you may want to understand what your colleagues-coders in Python, Ruby on Rails or Java talk about when throwing around fancy programming terms, right?

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Something is missing?

We definitely missed some useful glossaries in this list. Please help us make this list as universal and useful as possible. Please share useful resources with us in the comments to this post! All comments will be considered and useful resources will be added to the post. Thank you.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/21/web-design-industry-jargon-glossary-and-resources/
  2. 2 http://www.fontshop.com/support/glossary.php
  3. 3 http://www.fontshop.com/support/glossary.php
  4. 4 http://www.typenow.net/glossary.htm
  5. 5 http://www.owlsoup.com/foamtrain/glossary/aaa.html
  6. 6 http://www.adobe.com/type/topics/glossary.html
  7. 7 http://www.papress.com/other/thinkingwithtype/index.htm
  8. 8 http://designpepper.com/2008/09/01/the-web-designers-typographic-glossary/
  9. 9 http://www.microsoft.com/typography/glossary/content.htm
  10. 10 http://www.rsub.com/typographic/glossaries/
  11. 11 http://www.dynamicgraphics.com/dgm/Article/28539
  12. 12 http://www.fontmenu.com/site/glossary.html
  13. 13 http://desktoppub.about.com/od/glossarytype/Typography_Glossary.htm
  14. 14 http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/Online/usability/glossary.html
  15. 15 http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/Online/usability/glossary.html
  16. 16 http://www.usabilitybok.org/glossary
  17. 17 http://www.bobgoodman.net/main/glossary.html
  18. 18 http://www.sapdesignguild.org/editions/highlight_articles_01/uu_glossary.asp
  19. 19 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/10/09/30-usability-issues-to-be-aware-of/
  20. 20 http://www.nathan.com/ed/glossary/
  21. 21 http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/
  22. 22 http://www.iainstitute.org/en/learn/education/glossary.php
  23. 23 http://argus-acia.com/white_papers/ia_glossary.pdf
  24. 24 http://marketing.about.com/od/marketingglossary/a/marketingterms.htm
  25. 25 http://www.webtrends.com/Resources/WebAnalyticsGlossary.aspx
  26. 26 http://marketing.about.com/od/marketingglossary/a/marketingterms.htm
  27. 27 http://www.channelventures.com/channelprofessional/marketglossary.html
  28. 28 http://www.glossarist.com/glossaries/business/management/marketing.asp
  29. 29 http://danzarrella.com/viral-marketing-glossary
  30. 30 http://www.venturerepublic.com/resources/brand_glossary.asp
  31. 31 http://www.brandchannel.com/education_glossary.asp
  32. 32 http://www.advertisingglossary.net/
  33. 33 http://www.iab.net/media/file/GlossaryofInteractivAdvertisingTerms.pdf
  34. 34 http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=29
  35. 35 http://www.google.co.th/support/adsense/bin/topic.py?topic=8526
  36. 36 http://marketingglossary.com/
  37. 37 http://reference.sitepoint.com/css
  38. 38 http://reference.sitepoint.com/css
  39. 39 http://www.codestyle.org/css/Glossary.shtml
  40. 40 http://htmldog.com/reference/cssproperties/
  41. 41 http://reference.sitepoint.com/css/propertyref
  42. 42 http://reference.sitepoint.com/css/selectorref
  43. 43 http://reference.sitepoint.com/css/atrulesref
  44. 44 http://reference.sitepoint.com/css/concepts
  45. 45 http://westciv.com/style_master/academy/css_tutorial/index.html
  46. 46 http://www.w3schools.com/CSS/CSS_reference.asp
  47. 47 http://htmlhelp.com/reference/html40/alist.html
  48. 48 http://htmldog.com/reference/htmltags/
  49. 49 http://reference.sitepoint.com/html/elements
  50. 50 http://reference.sitepoint.com/html/attributes-common
  51. 51 http://reference.sitepoint.com/html/html-concepts
  52. 52 http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp
  53. 53 http://reference.sitepoint.com/javascript/domcore
  54. 54 http://www.w3schools.com/js/default.asp
  55. 55 http://docs.jquery.com/Main_Page
  56. 56 http://visualjquery.com/
  57. 57 http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms256452.aspx
  58. 58 http://creativecurio.com/graphic-design-glossary/
  59. 59 http://creativecurio.com/graphic-design-glossary/
  60. 60 http://www.grantasticdesigns.com/glossary.html
  61. 61 http://www.sapdesignguild.org/resources/glossary_color/index.htm
  62. 62 http://www.ars-logo-design.com/glosary_corporate_logo_design.htm
  63. 63 http://www.logotree.com/html/graphic_design_glossary_a.htm
  64. 64 http://www.creativepublic.com/glossary_graphics_web.php
  65. 65 http://www.logoorange.com/logodesign-A.php
  66. 66 http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072407611/student_view0/glossary.html
  67. 67 http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072407611/student_view0/glossary.html
  68. 68 http://adrialdesigns.com/articles-graphic-design/glossary-of-common-print-design-terms/
  69. 69 http://www.calverts.coop/print-design-glossary.html
  70. 70 http://www.cartercommunication.co.uk/print-design-glossary.htm
  71. 71 http://www.printusa.com/glos.htm
  72. 72 http://www.printindustry.com/glossary.htm
  73. 73 http://www.motive.co.nz/glossary/index.php
  74. 74 http://www.motive.co.nz/glossary/index.php
  75. 75 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/21/web-design-industry-jargon-glossary-and-resources/
  76. 76 http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/Online/webdesign/glossary/
  77. 77 http://www.sitepoint.com/glossary.php?q=A
  78. 78 http://webdesign.about.com/od/webdesignhtmlatoz/a/blglossary.htm
  79. 79 http://www.digitalbranders.com/web-design-glossary.php
  80. 80 http://htmlhelp.com/glossaries/
  81. 81 http://www.photoshopelementsuser.com/glossary.php
  82. 82 http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/publishing/articles/8266.aspx
  83. 83 http://www.seobook.com/glossary/
  84. 84 http://www.seoglossary.com/
  85. 85 http://www.seoconsultants.com/glossary/
  86. 86 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/smwc-and-other-essential-seo-jargon
  87. 87 http://www.bukisa.com/articles/57153_search-engine-optimization-seo-glossary-of-terms
  88. 88 http://www.seobook.com/glossary/
  89. 89 http://socialmedia.wikispaces.com/A-Z+of+social+media
  90. 90 http://socialmedia.wikispaces.com/A-Z+of+social+media
  91. 91 http://www.converstations.com/blogging_glossary.html
  92. 92 http://www.dailyblogtips.com/the-bloggers-glossary/
  93. 93 http://thesocialbazaar.com/social-media-glossary/
  94. 94 http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/25-social-media-buzzwordsexplained-part-i-of-ii/
  95. 95 http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2006/06/the-giant-blogging-terms-glossary/
  96. 96 http://twittonary.com/
  97. 97 http://twittonary.com/
  98. 98 http://www.sitemasher.com/seed-the-web-blog/my-twittonary--every-twitter-term-and-tool-i-can-find
  99. 99 http://mashable.com/2008/11/15/twitterspeak/
  100. 100 http://helpviatwitter.com/twitter/twitter-glossary.html
  101. 101 http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_64/s0904046705853.htm
  102. 102 http://bloggingbits.com/twitter-glossary-terms-words/
  103. 103 http://codex.wordpress.org/Glossary
  104. 104 http://codex.wordpress.org/Glossary
  105. 105 http://help.joomla.org/content/view/1607/214/
  106. 106 http://textbook.textpattern.net/wiki/index.php?title=Alphabetical_Tag_Listing
  107. 107 http://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonGlossary
  108. 108 http://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonGlossary
  109. 109 http://java.sun.com/docs/glossary.html
  110. 110 http://wiki.rubyonrails.org/getting-started/glossary
  111. 111 http://www.aptest.com/glossary.html
  112. 112 http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/resources/IanS/SE7/ElectronicSupplements/glossary.pdf
  113. 113 http://www.rspa.com/spi/glossary.html
  114. 114 http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci935732,00.html
  115. 115 http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/overheard/agile-development-glossary/
  116. 116 http://www.tagrimm.com/book/glossary.html

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  1. 1

    Congratulations Again. I think that this article its an great help for understand the Web Language.

    -1
  2. 2

    sweet, thanks

    -1
  3. 3

    Thanks, very useful, a lot of terminology that i didn’t know

    -1
  4. 4

    Very cool list! I’ve never seen one like it!

    0
  5. 5

    awesome list.

    -1
  6. 6

    although Hungarian, but: http://www.onlinemarketingszotar.hu is a Hungarian online marketing dictionary.

    Regards, Balazs

    -1
  7. 7

    The official PHP reference (php.net) is a good one to have handy.

    Also, perhaps an glossary of naming conventions – something like the Tango directory?

    -1
  8. 8

    add please gui design glossary

    0
  9. 9

    Very useful! Thanks

    0
  10. 10

    Oh so very useful. Thank you for the reference!

    0
  11. 11

    Twitter got it’s own section? Ug. I don’t hate Twitter… but in terms of web, it’s really a small sector, even if it is the current flavor of the month.

    0
  12. 12

    Dean Higginbotham

    May 29, 2009 10:18 am

    I always boggle at the amount of work you all must put into these lists. Thanks again for an awesome resource!

    *bookmarked!*

    -1
  13. 13

    I love your post! If I could I would add something about Video terms…streaming media…that is all :)

    0
  14. 14

    Great list! I always get confused by the server/network terminology. Would be nice to see a glossary of these types of terms. Thanks!

    0
  15. 15

    Amazing thank you for this post, I am also self taught and though I work for a company now, I still run into terms I really don’t understand!

    Thanks!

    -1
  16. 16

    Perfect timing. Just lately I’ve found myself digging deep into language of design that I [and a lot of others] lack a formal education in. I’ve actually visited a few of these links lately, but this post is fantastic. Going to the top of the “Terminology” bookmark folder.

    Thanks!

    1
  17. 17

    Wonderful!!!
    Software Development is the best!

    0
  18. 18

    Anders Bakfeldt

    May 29, 2009 1:58 pm

    Not sure how they expect us to get through all that? IT IS SIMPLY TOO AWESOME!! ;-)

    0
  19. 19

    thanks a bunch for the marketing list, very helpful :)

    0
  20. 20

    Tobias Preaker

    May 29, 2009 6:10 pm
    0
  21. 21

    I’m salivating over this list of lists. Great job!

    0
  22. 22

    Twitter getting its own glossary? Most of these seem to be common abbreviations among the web in my honest opinion.

    Great article though, thanks for the round up.

    0
  23. 23

    It was Great stuff…
    and thank you very for posting Kool Articles…

    -1
  24. 24

    Ubercool

    1
  25. 25

    wow, really very useful. thanks a lot

    0
  26. 26

    Huge!
    Rarely had such a long Tag-array on delicious ^-^

    0
  27. 27

    There are also complete HTML elements (HTML elements) and CSS properties indices (CSS properties indices).

    0
  28. 28

    Benedikt Roßgardt

    May 30, 2009 9:55 am

    Cool! Thank you for this resources! Really helpful!

    0
  29. 29

    Two Socks - Graphic design and print

    May 30, 2009 5:54 pm

    Probably one of the best posts I’ve seen. Thanks!

    0
  30. 30

    Thanks!. Big list !
    I miss eCommerce Glosary .. =s

    0
  31. 31

    nice post~

    0
  32. 32

    very usefull this glosarry for me, thanks

    0
  33. 33

    This is just great! Definitely bookmarking this page! Way to go SM!
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    0
  34. 34

    Thanks, very useful.

    0
  35. 35

    nothing is missing…will take a lot of time to sip ;)

    0
  36. 36

    This is what I want. Thanks SM

    0
  37. 37

    Thanks, another really useful article, bookmarked!

    0
  38. 38

    well done, very nice this topic :}

    0
  39. 39

    How about writing for the web? Content-related stuff?

    0
  40. 40

    Excellent resource! Thank you.

    0
  41. 41

    seriously. sometimes i think jesus must be sitting there at a desk at smashing…typing away, checking out cool junk, putting together the best posts over and over and over and over.

    seriously. jesus. i have to have a bookmark folder called Smashing just because i bookmark everything you post.

    awesome content again.

    0
  42. 42
  43. 43

    This one is amazing! I love smashing!

    0
  44. 44

    A couple of weeks ago I was very disappointed by SM articles, but amazing… you got better again and this article it’s a work of art :))

    SM still rulez :D

    0
  45. 45

    “Something is missing?” just a video glossary and maybe some little information about audio :), oooh yes, and a file one :)

    0
  46. 46

    Hey, from where you collect such awesome articles? I am really very happy that I found such a good website.

    I can never leave even a single article of this website. I LOVE IT.

    I inspired by this website a lot.

    Thanks guys.

    0
  47. 47

    Great post, as always Smashing Magazine do!
    thank you!!

    0
  48. 48

    Tobias | Informationsprodukte

    June 4, 2009 4:58 am

    Thanks for this very helpful list, great post!
    Regards from Germany…
    Tobias

    0
  49. 49

    Interesting!

    I feel like there is a scarcity of good marketing today. Good marketing means which can convert the leads into sales. The only marketing that has moved me in the last couple of years is Social Media Optimization.

    0
  50. 50

    Great – really helpful

    0
  51. 51

    Muhammad Usman Arshad

    December 3, 2009 10:05 pm

    Great post, big thanks for sharing…

    0
  52. 52

    I like that. Thank you.

    0
  53. 53

    Dear Moderator (personal message)— Love this post! I have an online presentation of basic principles of typography that I created for my students that you might find appropriate to include: http://www.TypeIsSexy.com
    It was reviewed by a German design blog and I love the feedback that I have been receiving from around the globe (including British designer/typographer Rian Hughes).
    Respectfully,
    eric Z

    0
  54. 54

    Really nice glossaries and useful !!

    0
  55. 55

    Great article very usefull information! Keep up the good work!

    0
  56. 56

    What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say.
    Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

    0
  57. 57

    Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week,
    and I am on the lookout for such information.

    0
  58. 58

    Best post I’ve seen in this area! Thanks

    1

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