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Looking at the Lingo

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Regardless of its final scope or scale, building a website is a process – and typically not one that can be completed properly in just a few hours. The messaging and branding are important, requiring more effort and thought than sticking a logo on a page and calling it your website. And as with most industries, the people who complete those processes (web developers) tend to have their own terminology for the things they do, and such terms are often poorly explained to others (non web developers) who are involved in such projects. There are lots of these terms out there, bandied about oft enough and hardly ever explained in a simple or straightforward way. Let’s see if we can change that!

See also: Shadows of the Old Web

Wireframe

Wireframe - In-Text Image

Often in web development, wireframes (or wireframing) get dismissively explained as a “flowchart for the website”. The reality is that a wireframe is actually a much more complex document than a simple flowchart that outlines the structure of the website. A good wireframe is a detailed diagram of each page of the site that any user can get to. EACH PAGE. If your site features separate pages for all 36 models of desk organizers that you sell, each page should be laid out in the wireframe. These diagrams should show the layout of all the information presented on the page, and explain the content and how it is meant to be used. Items such as navigation links, contact us buttons, or any call-to-action for the visitor should be cataloged in some way to indicate what page they’d link to in the wireframe. This way, anyone can use the wireframe as a guide to move through your site, by simply following the “links” from page to page. This leads to the second topic…

See also: 3 Necessities to Developing a Better Website Process

UX Design

UX Design - In-Text Image

Typically seen in print media referring to the latest design trends, this unusual abbreviation stands for “User Experience” design. This is a simple concept that has been given a more complex name and again, is rarely well-explained to folks who don’t hear it every day. Simply stated, what the “user” of your website sees and does when visiting is their “experience”. Their interactions with the website, whether scrolling through images in a slideshow or clicking through pages of your catalog, should be designed in a way to be intuitive and easy to understand. A well-designed experience will be simple, fluid, and intuitive to the user, as the way that they’re intended to interact with the site just makes logical sense to them. A poorly designed site however will often be confusing and badly organized, and can negatively impact the way the user feels about your brand or products. And often enough, the wireframe described above can be used to adequately explain this “user experience” to a client or customer, showcasing all the features and functions of their website.

About The Author

Edd Twilbeck is Senior Web Developer at Marketing In Color. Websites and web applications are Edd’s realm, so he takes the lead on web projects from scope layout through specification and timeline development to completion and delivery. Edd has more than twelve years experience in web design and development, using PHP, CSS, Javascript, content management systems, and development frameworks.
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