Internet Glossary

Internet Design Glossary

Not everyone is a computer guru and especially to those who are new on the internet a lot of the lingo and terms can be very confusing.

This web design glossary has been created to further your understanding of web design jargon and related terminology that you will encounter on the internet. This glossary’s intention is to be relevant and beneficial to your understanding rather than be comprehensive.

By no means do we expect our clients to be fluent with these terms, when we work with you we do so in plain English. This glossary is here simply to be a source of information for those who wish to read it.

Acrobat Acrobat is part of a set of applications developed by Adobe to create and view PDF files. Acrobat is used to create the PDF files, and the freeware Acrobat Reader is used to read the PDF files.
Aliasing In graphic design, aliasing occurs when a computer monitor, printer, or graphics file does not have a high enough resolution to represent a graphic image or text. An aliased image is often said to have the “jaggies.”
Alignment The positioning of a body of text. Text can be positioned to the left, right, or “center” of a page. For the best, consistent alignment, web site designers use tables and Cascading Style Sheets.
ALT-attribute Part of the image source tag in HTML. A good web designer will always include text in all of your image sources for two reasons: (1) if any of your visitors choose not to view graphic images on your web pages, the alternative text will be shown; and (2) if your visitors use Internet Explorer as their browser and they leave the mouse over any graphic image, they will view the text in your ALT-attribute.
Animated GIF A GIF graphic file, which consists of two or more images shown in a timed sequence to give the effect of motion.
Animation The addition of movement to a web page. This can be accomplished by using Java, Shockwave, GIF animation, or other multimedia techniques.
Anti-Aliasing Smoothing or blending the transition of pixels in an image. Anti-aliasing the edges on a graphic image makes the edges appear smooth, not jagged.
Applet An applet is a small program designed to run within another application. Java is one of the major languages used for creating Web-based applets.
ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange A standard character-to-number encoding widely used in the computer industry. Plain text, Postscript files, and BinHex files are among the types of data that are transferred in ASCII format. Spreadsheets, compiled programs, and graphics are transferred across the net in binary format. In addition, the computer community has extended the ASCII character set so it includes control and other characters. This change allowed for e-mail, “8-bit clean” data transmission, essential for the development of workstation TCP/IP applications. This lets users turn their home computers into Internet hosts.
ASP (Active Server Page) A dynamically generated web page, generally using ActiveX scripting. When a browser or a search engine spider requests an ASP page from a server, the server generates the web page with HTML code and gives it to the browser or spider.

Bandwidth Bandwidth is the amount of information your connection to the Internet can carry. On average, typical telephone lines can carry 1K of information per second.
Banner A banner is a graphic image (static, animated, or rich media) that is placed on web sites as an advertisement. Banners are commonly used for brand awareness and generating sales.
Binary digit. A bit is the primary unit of digital data. Written in binary language as a “1″ or a “0″. There are eight bits in a byte. There are eight bits in one ASCII character. See also kilobit, megabit.
Bitmap Image (bmp) A graphic image stored as a specific arrangement of screen dots, or pixels. Web graphics are bitmap images. A graphic which is defined by specifying the colors of dots or pixels which make up the picture. Also known as raster graphics. Common types of bitmap graphics are GIF, JPEG, Photoshop, PCX, TIFF, Macintosh Paint, Microsoft Paint, PNG, FAX formats, and TGA.
Browser The software used to view, manage, and access web pages by interpreting hypertext and hyperlinks. The two most common browsers are Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Web pages often appear differently depending on the brand and version of the browser intended to view them in.

Caching Local storage of remote data designed to reduce network transfers.
CGI Common Gateway Interface. A standard that determines how a web server will gather information from viewers of a web page. Typical information may be names, addressees, on-line ordering of products and what clients will be ordering and paying.
Checkbox A field on a form which, when selected, enters a check in the box. These form input tags are best used to select members of small sets.
Compression A method of packing data in order to save disk storage space or download time. JPEGs are generally compressed graphics files. Compression is a technique to make a file or a data stream smaller for faster transmission or to take up less storage space.
Cookie A cookie is a message given to a web browser (such as Netscape or Explorer) by a web server. The purpose of cookies is to identify web site users/visitors and possibly prepare customized web pages for them.
CSS Abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheet, a feature of HTML developed by the W3C. With Cascading Style sheets, both web designers and end users can create style templates (sheet) that specifies how different text elements (paragraphs, headings, hyperlinks, etc.) appear on a web page. Currently, not all browsers express CSS formatting in the same manner.

A database is a structured set of records, such as a mailing list. A web browser can access a public database by Perl scripts. There are many ways for a user to find information in a database. When the data is structured as a table in a single file, a user need only browse the page and use the browser’s Find feature. However, to search a relational database spread over many files, a sophisticated CGI script is required to access the data.
DHTML Stands Dynamic Hypertext Mark-up Language. DHTML is an HTML extension that allows web pages to react to the end users’ input, such as displaying a web page based on the type of browser or computer end users are viewing a page with.
Domain Name An unique name that identifies one or more IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs’ to identify particular Web sites. Every web site is located by its unique IP address.
Doorway Page Web pages created specifically for search engine positions. Also known as gateway page or a bridge page.
DNS Stands for Domain Name System. The DNS translates URL text addresses (such as into a numeric Internet address (such as
DPI Stands for dots per inch. DPI specifies the resolution of an output device, such as a printer or printing press machine. Print resolution usually runs from 300-1200 dots per inch on a Laser Printer and 125-225 dots per inch for photographic images on a print brochure. (For information on input device measurements see ppi.)

E-Mail Electronic Mail; addressed messages sent over a computer network, either automatically or by a human user, to one or more recipients.
Ecover An Ecover also referred to as ebook cover is a graphic representation of a digital ebook or similar intangible product. It gives the viewer an idea of what the product might look like if he were viewing it on a bookshelf. Ebook covers are frequently used on website sales pages that are used to sell ebooks.
Export To save a file in a different format (that of another program). For example, many Adobe Photoshop files are exported to become GIF or JPEG files.
E-Zine or Ezine Stands for electronic magazine and is a name for a web site which is either (a) modeled after a print magazine or (b) a magazine that is only available online or through email.

Vector graphic animation software from Macromedia that allows Flash graphics to look the same across all browsers, as long as the plug-in is installed. One of the advantages of Flash animations is their relatively fast download time.
Font A font is a complete set of characters in a particular size and style of type. This includes the letter set, the number set, and all of the special character and diacritical marks you get by pressing the shift, option, or command/control keys. For example, Times NewRoman Bold Italic is one font, and Times NewRoman Bold is another font. Times NewRoman is a single typeface.
Forms Web page elements used to gather information from a user visiting a site. Forms can have a variety of different input methods such as text input, check boxes, radio buttons, and drop-down lists. A “Submit” button is found at the end of a form to allow you to send the entered information to a CGI program or translation application for processing.
Frames In HTML, providing the ability to break a web page into multiple, separately scrollable areas. Because some search engines cannot follow links in a framed web site, a good web designer will contain text in a NOFRAMES-tag and provide a link for search engines to index your site.
Freeware Software distributed for free on the web.
FTP Stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows you to copy or send files (HTML-documents, graphic images, spreadsheets) from one computer to another via the Internet.

GIF Stands for Graphics Interchange Format. GIF images are the most widely used graphic format on the web. GIF images display up to 256 colors.
GIF Animation A simple and cheap way to create “instant animation”. It will allow a limited form of sprite-based animation. You can add a smaller image to a larger one and change its coordinates in following images.
Graphic Pictures or images, either scanned for online use or created with graphics software. Graphic file formats include GIF, JPEG, BMP, PCX, and TIFF.

Hexadecimal A numbering system which uses a base of 16. The first ten digits are 0-9 and the next six are A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are used to color web pages. For example, the hexadecimal equivalent for the color white is #FFFFFF.
Hit – A hit An instance of someone (or something, such as a Webcrawler robot indexing program) accessing a Web page.
Host The company or organization that maintains the computer on which a Web site is stored. If you use a host service, also called local internet service provider, it is common that your Web site address will have the name of your server within the address itself.
HTML Abbreviation for Hypertext Markup Language; a cross-platform text-formatting system for creating web pages, including copy, images, sounds, frames, animation and more.
HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The standard for governing how Web browsers and Web servers communicate.
Hyperlink A hyperlink, more commonly called a link, is an electronic connection between one web page to either (1) other web pages on the same web site, or (2) web pages located on another web site. More specifically, a hyperlink is a connection between one page of a hypertext document to another.
Hypertext Hypertext is any text that can be chosen by a reader and which causes another document to be retrieved and displayed.

Image A picture or illustration, also called graphic. Formats include JPEG, BMP, PCX, and TIFF. An inline image is mixed with text and displayed surrounded by text.
Image Map An image map is a single graphic image containing multiple, clickable hyperlinks.
Input An HTML form tag allowing the user to enter data.
Internet The worldwide network of computers connected by TCP/IP and other internetworking protocols.
Interlace Storing partial data from a single graphic image in multiple sequences. The purpose of interlacing is to have a partial image initially appear on screen rather than having to wait for the image to appear in its entirety. With interlacing, equally spaced sets of lines from the original image are stored together, and these sets appear one on top of the other in sequence.
IP Address Internet Protocol address, which is composed of four numbers separated by periods (”dots”), e.g.,
ISP An organization that provides its customers with dialup access to the internet for a fee. Generally, ISPés only provide their users with an internet connection, an electronic mail (E-mail) address, and in some instances, World Wide Web Browsing software. You can use a local ISP that has access numbers in your local calling area, or you can use a national ISP that provides local-access numbers across the country (e.g.. Earthlink, AT&T Worldnet, America Online, CompuServe, etc.).

Java Java is a programming language, created by Sun Microsystems, which allows small applications to be downloaded into your computer for playback. Java can be used for such simple applications as animation to more complex applications such as a calculator.
JavaScript JavaScript is a scripting language developed by Netscape. JavaScript can make web pages more animated and dynamic in terms of graphics and navigation. One of the most common graphic JavaScript effects is called a mouseover, and Javascript navigation is commonly created using drop-down menus.
JPEG Abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group. A color image graphics compression format in which a lossy compression method is used and some data is sacrificed to achieve greater compression. The compression format looks for large bodies of color in a picture and throws away big chuncks of this redundant information to compress the data and make it transfer faster on the net.

Kilobyte A kilobyte is a storage unit capable of storing 1,024 bytes of information.
Keyword Searchable terms extracted from a data set during indexing. Select your keywords with extreme care. Determine the two or three dozen keywords that seem to be the most important to your site, then ensure that the most important of those are in your title and mentioned early on your web page. Examine your competitors, or similar sites on the web. What keywords have they used? Where do they show up in a query using those keywords? The WDVL is about HTML, CGI, and a few other things.. and so are thousands of other pages. Most search engines won’t give us credit for being more, or better, about HTML and CGI than all the others. Yes, you must state those things that your pages are definitely about, but you must also find keywords that set you apart from the others.
Local-area Network; A group of computers located in a relatively limited area (like an office building or large business) and connected by a communications link that allows them to interact with each other.
Link A user-selectable hypertext or hypermedia jump point, that, when selected, will “jump” to another text or multimedia object. See also: Hyperlink and Hypertext
Lossless Compression In graphic design, lossless compression refers to a data compression technique where the file quality is preserved and no data is lost. Lossless compression is commonly used on GIF images, but can only reduce file size to about half of its original size. Lossy compression, by contrast, eliminates some data can further decrease file size.
Lossy Compression A term coined by graphics programmers to refer to a technique of shrinking file sizes by giving away some precision of detail. JPEG is an example of a file that is compressed this way. By reducing the so-called quality of a picture when you save it, you can make the file size smaller. Many photos can take of loss of fine detail before it becomes noticeable on a web page.
LPI Abbreviation for Lines Per Inch.

Meta-tag Meta-tags are HTML tags that can be used to identify the creator of a web page, what HTML specifications a web page follows, the keywords and description of the page, etc. The most common use of a meta-tag in online marketing is the keyword and description tags, which tell the search engines that index meta-tags what description to use in their search query results.
MIDI Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A music definition language and communications protocol enabling electronic instruments to communicate musical information.
MPEG Moving Picture Experts Group: Compression algorithm for video and audio files, often used on the Web.
Multimedia A form of communication combining text with graphics, page layout, video, audio, animation, and so forth.

Netiquette Accepted, proper behavior on the Internet. The term especially applies to email and newsgroup posts.

Online If you are connected to the Internet, you are online. Online advertising is done exclusively on the web or through e-mail.
Online Marketing Online advertising is done exclusively on the web or through e-mail. Various types of online marketing include: affliliate programs, search engine optimization, banner advertising, directory enhancement, posts to moderated discussion lists, newsgroups, and forums, email advertising, online press releases
Operating System The software that controls a computer. Operating systems include DOS, Windows-95, UNIX, Solaris and Macintosh.

PDF Stands for Portable Document Format. Created by Adobe Systems in its software program Adobe Acrobat as a universal browser. Files can be downloaded via the web and viewed page by page, provided the user is computer has installed the necessary plug-in which can be downloaded from Adobe’s own web site.
Perl Practical Extraction and Report Language. A popular language for programming CGI applications. Perl is by far the most popular language for CGI, because, among other things, it has powerful string matching. Perl is an interpreted language optimized for scanning arbitrary text files, extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based on that information.
PHP Abbreviation for Hypertext Pre-Processor.
Plug-In A software extension that provides added capabilities to the browser, for purposes such as viewing, hearing, or saving specially formatted files. Most plug-ins are available via the creator’s web page for downloading.
PNG Stands for Portable Network Graphics format, and is generally pronounced “ping.” PNG is used for lossless compression and displaying images on the web. The advantages of PNG is that it supports images with millions of colors and produces background transparency without jagged edges. The disadvantages are that PNG images will not show up on older browsers, and still can be comparatively larger in file size than GIFs.

Query The set of keywords and operators sent by a user to a search engine.
Quick Time Video Quick Time Video is the Apple technology that allows video, digitized sound and music, 3D, and virtual reality to be viewed on your web site. It’s available for Macintosh and Windows-based computers.

Radio Button Form input tag used to select one option from among several choices.
RGB Stands for the colors Red-Green-Blue. In web design and design for computer monitors, colors are defined in terms of a combination of these three colors. For example, the RGB abbreviation for the color blue shown below is 0-0-255. In contrast, print designers typically define colors using CMYK.
Rich Media Typically, a web site or banner ads that use technology more advanced than standard GIF animation. Rich media banners include: Flash, Shockwave, streaming video, Real Audio/Video, pull-down menus, search boxes, applets that allow for interactivity, and other types of special effects.
Royalty-Free Photos or Images Photos, graphic images, or other intellectual property that are sold for a single standard fee and may be used repeatedly by the purchaser. Typically with royalty-free clauses, the company that sells you the images still owns all of the rights to the images, and they are allowed for use only by the purchaser (i.e., the same images cannot be used by another company or individual without repurchase).

Sans Serif A style of typeface that means “without feet.” Common sans serif typefaces include Arial, Helvetica, AvantGarde and Verdana.
Screen Font A part of the font suitcase (of Adobe Type 1 fonts), describes the shape of each character to the operating system so that the font can be seen on a computer screen.
Script A generally short program written in an interpreted language such as Perl or Java. Scripts usually provide simple instructions for data and browser management.
Search Engine A search engines is a program that searches documents (i.e. web pages, which are HTML-documents) for specified keywords and returns the list of documents. A search engine has two parts, a spider and an indexer. The spider is the program that fetches the documents, and the indexer reads the documents and creates an index based on the words or ideas contained in each document.
Secure Server Software which prevents network transactions from being decoded, thus preserving the privacy of credit card numbers and other sensitive information. When a URL points to a web page stored on a secure Web server, the URL always begins with https ://. In Netscape, the broken key at the bottom of the screen becomes whole, a blue rule appears at the top of the screen and the Location box becomes a Website box when a secure server is contacted.
Serif A style of typeface that has “little feet.” Common serif typefaces include Times Roman, Garamond, and Palatino.
Shockwave A program from Macromedia for viewing files created with Macromedia Director. Shockwave is now freely available as a plug-in for the Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer web browsers. A technology developed by Macromedia, Inc, that allows the user to view Web pages with multimedia objects, such as audio, animation, video, and processes user actions such as mouse clicks.
Sound Digitizing voices, music, etc.. so they can be played by a computer. Popular sound file formats include AU, WAV, SND, MPEG, MIDI, AIFF.
Streaming The simultaneous download and display of a video or audio file.

Table An HTML tag used for element layout. Tables are useful not only for the desirable capability of organizing tabular data such as statistics by row and column, but especially for the feature of laying out any element of the HTML language.
Text Browser A client that displays the text elements and hyperlinks of Web pages, such as lynx.
Textarea A form attribute tag which defines a data entry space with multiple rows.
Thumbnail A small version of a graphic image. For example, the image below is a thumbnail image of a web page.
Tiling The process in which a single (small) image is duplicated horizontally, vertically or both to create the illusion of a large version of the small image.
Title An HTML tag used in the Head area to name the web page. The length of titles is unlimited, however, long titles may be truncated in some applications. To minimize this possibility, keep titles to fewer than 64 characters. Many applications, particularly robots, collect and analyze titles. The more meaningful a title is, the more useful it becomes when someone tries to search for it in a search engine.

Upload To transfer programs or data over a digital communications link from a smaller or peripheral “client” system to a larger or central “host” one.
URL Uniform Resource Locator. In short, an Internet Address. More specifically, a standardized naming or addressing system for documents and media accessible over the Internet. For example, the URL indicates the type of document it is (a Hypertext Transfer Protocol document denoted by “http://”) and the address of the computer on which the specific web site can be found (

Vector Graphic A graphic image drawn in shapes and lines, called paths. Images created in Illustrator and Freehand (graphic design software) are vector graphics. They are usually exported to be bitmap images.
Video A series of framed images put together, one after another, to simulate motion and interactivity. A video can be transmitted by number of frames per second and/or the amount of time between switching frames. The difference between video and animation is that video is broken down into individual frames.
VRML Virtual Reality Modeling Language- A programming language that supports graphical animation of virtual spaces of World Wide Web pages. Detailed three-dimensional images can be created with small programs, allowing the programs to arrive quickly at usersé computers and be viewed easily with special VRML browser applications.

W3C World Wide Web Consortium. The group that is steering standards development for the World Wide Web. The W3C exists to realize the full potential of the web. The Consortium is run in the United States by MIT Laboratory for Computer Science and in Europe by INRIA, in collaboration with CERN where the web originated.
WAV Pronounced “wave,” this is the Windows standard for waveform sound files. WAV files predictably have the extension .wav.
Web Site A web site is a collection of electronic pages generally formatted in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that can contain text, graphic images, and multimedia effects such as sound files, video and/or animation files, and other programming elements such as Java and JavaScript.
WYSIWYG Abbreviation for What You See Is What You Get. Pronounced wizzy-wig. Software that lets you alter or design Web pages visually, as it would appear in a browser, instead of only viewing and writing in
HTML code

XHTML Abbreviation for Extensible Hypertext Mark-up Language and is a hybrid of XML and HTML. Web pages designed in XHTML should look the same across all platforms.
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is an ISO compliant subset of SGML A metalanguage, it allows for custom tags to be processed. Custom tags will enable the definition, transmission and interpretation of data structures between organizations.
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