With innovation happening faster than ever, it can be truly bewildering trying to keep up with the new phrases, product names and digital features being used online. Indeed, if you’re wanting to teach your children how the Internet works, and they ask you about something you’ve never heard of before, you may feel as if you’re being left behind!
As such, we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly used — and little understood — words, phrases and jargon involved in web development, and we’re going to break them down for you.
Cookies are effectively a little paper trail that keeps track of which Internet sites you’ve visited before, when you visited them and how you engaged with them. Unfortunately, they have nothing to do with any sweet treats!
Initially, web users can be distrusting of cookies — it feels intrusive to have your data collected like this. Yet cookies — when used responsibly by the website — can be very useful for honing content that you, as a user, would be interested in.
Cookies enable items to stay in your shopping task, so the next time you log in you’re still ready to complete that purchase. Generally, without cookies online shopping would be much harder and more complex.
SEO (Search engine optimization)
Blogs and websites will use keywords and relevant phrases in their online copy to ensure that Internet search engines (such as Google, Yahoo or Bing) can find them. The outcome of including these keywords and phrases is that the site becomes search engine optimized.
Think of it as having a filing cabinet, and putting Post-It notes on documents or pages that you’d like to come back to, or that you’d like to reference for later. In a way, using SEO makes it easy for people to find and come back to the information that’s relevant to them, in the giant filing cabinet that is the Internet.
Hashtags, which you’ll see used extensively on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, work in the same way.
Free website builder
This term can sometimes be misleading, as web development products may initially draw you in by saying they come with no costs, only to find that upgrading to include more features, or wanting to have more control over the aesthetic of your site, will result in you being charged.
Indeed, if you’d like to create a personalized domain name, then you will have to pay for it. Regardless, you may be pleasantly surprised by how little a website can cost, but before you set up your own, check the website cost of setting up your WordPress website or equivalent.
These days, many people chose to develop their own site to advertise their skills, sell products online, display their resume and employment history. Nowadays people also create websites for the pure joy of blogging.
This word features many places when talking about Internet communication — you may have noticed you’ve got a ‘Spam’ folder in your email inbox, for example. Generally speaking, spam refers to any unwanted and unsolicited contact you’d receive online. Your email provider should do a good job at filtering these messages for you — out of interest, click open your spam box today and see what sorts of communications are appearing there.
You may also come across the word spam if you have a blog. In this case, you may receive spam in the form of blog post comments. These can be easily controlled by selecting ‘mandatory review’ of comments before they are displayed on your site.
User Experience and User Interface
Often used incorrectly as synonyms, there is indeed a difference between a website’s User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI).
UX refers to the journey a user must take through a website, and how easy that journey is to complete. For instance, is there a clear place to click for ‘checkout,’ how readily can a customer browse the products on offer? UI is more about the look and feel of the site; what colors have been used, and why.
Better understanding tech terminology…
Of course, these are but a few of the jargonistic terms you may come across while working online. Hopefully, however, this has provided some greater clarity for you and makes you more confident to discuss the Internet with your kids and other people.