Web design lingo: learn the terms professionals use so you can talk confidently with your designer

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The world of website design is not so easy to understand if you’ve never created a site or worked with a designer before. How can you tell if something is a CTA or a slideshow? What does ‘parallax’ mean? I’m here to shed some light on common jargon and terms so you’ll be able to speak the language of websites within minutes.

This might be particularly of use to use to you if you plan to DIY your site. Many website platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, Webflow and Figma use these terms.


This is the head of your website and this section normally remains consistent across all pages of your site. It contains your menu and other useful items like links to social media.

Primary navigation

The list of your site’s most important pages. These can reflect what’s most important to your business. Keep this section as lean as possible so you don’t overwhelm your user with choice.

Dropdown menu/navigation

This is a nested menu to help categorise pages on your site. Google likes a well organised site and one that makes sense to your users.

Secondary navigation

Sometimes you see this on larger more complex sites. It comprises the links to content that is considered less important than primary pages, but needs to be easily accessible from any page on the site.

Brand logo

This is the identifying mark of your brand, bigger is not necessarily better. Remember all content on your site speaks for your brand including tone of voice.

CTA (call to action)

You want your users to do something, right? Call to action make this happen. They’re buttons that instruct the visitor to take some kind of action. They can be simple instructional text: for example “call us”, “find out more”, or “subscribe to our Newsletter”.

Content slider/carousel

Do you have several important messages that need to be seen? A slider will rotate through photos, text or blog posts automatically. The user can also control the content using controls or arrows.

Body copy

This is the words on your site that tells your story. Sometimes businesses will write this themselves sometimes they employ a copywriter. Copywriters are skilled at adding relevant keywords that help your site be found in Google. Usually you will supply this to your web designer in a Google or Word document organised per page.


Headings are HTML elements used to define the headings of a page. They number from 1 to 6 and this determines the importance and the position a heading has. Each page should have one H1 heading tag, which indicates the primary heading. Your main points are wrapped in subheadings: H2. Sub-points below your H2 use H3. This structure goes all the way down to H6. Search engines also pay attention to heading tags and use them to index pages correctly. Without heading tags, Google may not rank your content as high as it would with the tags in place.

Subscription / lead magnet

This is where your user can subscribe to your newsletter. A lead magnet is a marketing term for something free that is given away in exchange for an email address. For example, trial subscriptions, tutorials, courses and free consultations.

Post feed

Sometimes businesses want to display their latest news or posts from their blog on other pages of the site. Usually this is formatted with a thumbnail image pulled from your post and the blog title. It also can have more information like the date or a brief summary (excerpt) of the post.


Parallax is a technique used to create a layered moving effect on photos and graphics. As a user scrolls down a page different layers of content or backgrounds move at different speeds. This creates an illusion of depth and can make a site more dynamic and interesting looking.

Instagram feed

Yes you can have your Instagram feed appear on your website! This is a great way to keep your site looking fresh with new content from your Instagram posts.


The whole bottom section of your site! Similar to the header this does not normally change from page-to-page. A footer can contain additional navigation components, buttons, company info, copyrights, forms etc.