A website redesign is a huge undertaking. Whether you’re completing the task in house or you outsource to an agency or freelancer, communication is critical. You want to make sure that you and the designer and developers are all speaking the same language. To get everyone on the same page, there are a few key terms you should know before working with a web designer or developer that can make the process much easier for everyone on the project.
1. HTML and CSS
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is used to provide content. Basically, it’s a language used to describe web pages using ordinary text. However, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) must be used with HTML in order to create beautiful web pages. CSS allows for design such as color, size, shape, & background to the content of the page.
Parallax is used to describe the effect that occurs when an object at a close perspective seems to move faster than objects seen at a longer distance. This is best experienced in a car or train when pedestrians and trees seem to move faster than large buildings or mountains. A parallax designed site has a similar principle where the foreground of the page moves faster than the background as you scroll through the page. Usually you have one long main page that has all of your site’s content. Parallax design is great for mobile users. Here is a cool example.
3. Responsive Design
Responsive design refers to the automatic reformatting of websites depending on the user’s device. By adapting to different devices, platforms and softwares, responsive design websites offer the optimal viewing experience by providing multiple column views if the screen size increases or decreases. A website may reveal several columns when viewed on a desktop computer yet the same website will only show one column when viewed on a smartphone.
4. A/B Testing
A/B testing is utilized to compare two different versions of a web page. It’s pretty much an experiment that tests certain features of a web page as variables and sets all else constant. By using A/B testing, web developers can determine the optimal web page layout that will have the greatest positive impact on conversion rate.
5. UX or User Experience Design
Placing the focus on usability of a website for the user is the basis of UX. It places a focus on clear graphics, clear navigation and calls to action, and an organized sitemap. The visual design should be logical and a user should be able to easily find the information they are looking for. Familiarizing yourself with basic UX principles can help you understand certain choices a web designer makes.
Having a basic understanding of these terms will make it easier to convey what you want from the web designer you’re working with. Once you understand these terms, try talking with them to understand the limits of the technology so that you know what is and isn’t possible. There is a certain level of trust between you as a client and a designer and being able to communicate effectively will make the relationship much more efficient.