In the world of web development, technical terms can often sound like a foreign language if you’re unfamiliar with them. It can feel daunting or intimidating, especially if you’re thinking of updating your current website or launching a new website.

What does it all mean?

I completely understand how it can feel overwhelming, so I thought I’d help by explaining some common terms you may hear your web team use.

Here are a few that you’ll come across often:

Application Programmer Interface (API)

Think of an API as a plug in your wall that allows different devices to connect and communicate seamlessly. Just like a plug has specific spacing and information to fit into a socket, an API provides a set of rules for software applications to access and exchange information. In simpler terms, it’s a way for different software systems to talk to each other, enabling them to extract or push information between them.

Responsive Design

Responsive design helps websites act like chameleons. It allows a website to adapt and change its layout to best fit the device on which it’s being viewed. Whether you’re on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone, a responsive design ensures that the website looks and functions optimally, adjusting menu styles and layout to provide an enhanced user experience. Since so many people use their phones more than desktop computers these days, you want to ensure your website looks great on every device.

Front End vs. Back End

When it comes to web development, understanding the difference between front-end and back-end development is helpful. The front end is what users see and interact with, while the back end involves the server-side operations, databases, and logic that make the website function. Think of it like the difference between viewing a map on Google Maps (front end) and receiving an email reminder about a subscription renewal (back end).

Content Management System (CMS)

In the early days of the internet, content and formatting were often mixed in a single document, making updates cumbersome. A CMS revolutionized this by separating content from design. A CMS is essentially a user-friendly platform designed to simplify the process of managing digital content. Think of it as the bridge between content creators and the website itself.

The benefits of a CMS include:

  • Separation of Content and Design: CMS can allow content creators to manage text, images, and multimedia elements without delving into coding intricacies, separating content from design.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Equipped with interfaces resembling word processors, CMS platforms are typically accessible to individuals without technical backgrounds, facilitating easy content creation and updates.
  • Easy Collaboration: CMS canfacilitate collaboration in websites with multiple contributors, assigning roles and permissions to ensure efficient content management.
  • Efficient Updates and Maintenance: The separation of content and design streamlines updates and maintenance, allowing swift changes to the website’s theme, layout, or design independently of content.

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)

UX and UI go hand in hand, influencing how users interact with a website. UI is about the layout and design elements visible to users, while UX focuses on the overall experience and workflow. A good UX/UI ensures that users can easily navigate the website, find information, and complete tasks without unnecessary complications.

If you’re thinking about updating an existing website or having a new website created, it’s worth thinking about UX and UI so visitors have the best experience when they arrive at your site (and take the actions you’re hoping they’ll take when they arrive!).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the art of presenting content on a website, using specific words and phrases that match what users are searching for. This way the search engines can pull up your web page in a search result. It takes time to rank on page one for your search terms, but the effort is worth it. We wrote a blog on this topic, learn more about optimizing your website for a deeper dive into this topic.

Stay tuned for another blog coming soon where we’ll cover a few more of the top web development terms.

If you have any questions about any of the terms I covered in this blog post, the team at 14 Oranges is happy to help. We know that when you’re not a developer, it can feel like you’re trying to learn a new language overnight. When we work with clients, we keep our audience in mind and explain things as much as possible in non-technical terms so you can feel confident throughout the development process.

Ready to dive into a web development project or update a current website? Book a call with 14 Oranges today.

Sylvain Marcotte is CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

From APIs to SEO: Making Sense of Common Web Development Terms (part 1 of 2)