Jargon busting
8 Jul 2016
Jen Jones

In life, it's always satisfying to be around people with such a firm grasp on their job that they can explain it to a five-year-old.

Working in the combined fields of global health and web development, it’s easy for us to slip into using web jargon and acronyms. That isn't terribly helpful for you!  We try to keep this habit to a minimum, but here are some of the terms that sometimes slipped through the net, just in case you find yourselves periodically flummoxed by them…

CMS – Content management system

It's the database that stores all the website content in a nicely ordered and structured fashion, What's important is that it should let anyone (including non-techy types like me) add new content, edit the words, images and structure of the site.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language

It's a common language we use to code web pages; the basic building blocks of a site. While knowing a little might help you with editing a website, you shouldn't need to, a CMS should handle everything.

IA - Information architecture

Information architecture, or where things live on a site. If you were to go onto the BBC website to look for a football story, you’d head to sport, then football. This is because we all have an idea of where to find what we want on a site. Choosing the right IA is important because it’s annoying if we can’t find what we’re looking for.

Responsive design

A site that looks right regardless of what device you’re using. It works out how big your screen is then moves the content around to fit.

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the practice of getting your website higher on search engine rankings. We optimise your code and advise you of the best way to do this.

UX - User experience

What it's like to use a website. This is important to us because we want this interaction to be a pleasurable one.


A visual guide to show the layout of the content on a web page without any design elements. This helps people to focus on the layout of content and hierarchy, without being distracted by the design.

And there we have it; not by any means a comprehensive list of the potentially confusing words and acronyms sometimes thrown at you, but we hope it helps decipher a little!