Web design terms and definitions


When you ask us to build your website, we’ll always talk you through exactly what we have planned, but it’s likely that you’ll come across a few terms which are unfamiliar.  Here’s a list of some of the most common specialised terms we use in web design, and an explanation of exactly what they mean.


An abbreviated term that refers to a call-to-action, which in turn refers to an image, link or text box that prompts the people who visit your page to do something.  The best websites have persuasive CTAs that push conversion levels up, inspire users to ring the business, fill in a contact form, or sign up for a service.


A trend that came and never left, gradient web design techniques involve fading one or more colours into each other.  This idea can also work for images, where blending can enhance the appearance of a page.  Gradients add an extra touch of visual interest to your web pages and can free up space for other elements.

Header Tags

Often used for search engine optimised content, header tags in HTML language make the title of a page stand out above the other text.  They can also be used to add in smaller subheadings and subtitles in the page, using H2, H3 and H4 tags.  Headers are generally placed in order of importance, so H1 indicates a key title, whilst H4 will be a minor title.


A general term which could more specifically be called site navigation, this refers to the main menu of a website.  It can be placed along the top or bottom of the page, or presented as a pulldown menu.  This enables users to view which other pages are available at a glance and then get to them quickly.

Negative Space

If you have an area of space surrounding an image or design element, this is usually referred to as negative space.  You may also hear of it being called the ‘white space’ which is visible on a webpage.  Once considered unsuitable on a professionally designed page, now negative space is included as an important component, ensuring that the site doesn’t become too busy and distracting for a user.


As the name would suggest, a sitemap shows exactly what can be found on your website.  It tells search engines about the content available and how often it’s updated.   This enables Google and other search engines to learn more about what you have to offer and where to place your site in a list of results.