Web Design & Development Jargon that Should Never Be Used With Clients (& What to Say Instead)

No web designer likes to find out a potential client decided not to hire them. While there is a lot we can do to ensure we will be hired, one of those tactics is to simply…

…not make the client feel stupid ? 

That means we need to keep the web design and development jargon at bay and use some more client-friendly terminology to deliver the same message. While these are everyday words to us, they are not common at all for most clients.

Here we’ll share common web design jargon you should know but avoid using when speaking with clients, plus what you can say instead. 

Helping the Client Understand Website Jargon

When communicating with a client, especially those who are non-technical, there are few things you can do to make this easier for you and your client:

#1 Give them a visual: Most people are visual learners so showing a client what you mean can be more helpful that just words. 

#2 If they’re not convinced they need what you believe they do, share a third party resource with them. Resources like Google and other big, well-known companies work well. 

#3 Use simple language. While you’re used to common web design words, clients don’t work in this field and don’t know the terminology. The easy you can make things to understand, the better your client will feel. This post will help you with this.

If you want a client to trust you and work with you, this is a skill you must develop.

The Jargon

Now let’s take a look at the common jargon we web designers user and how to make the terminology more client friendly. Plus you’ll find some tips, visuals and resources you can use to help explain these terms to your clients.

Jargon: Responsive Website

Client-Friendly: A website has that will work on any device – computer, tablet or phone.

To go an extra step further, show the client just how many visitors are using a mobile device when on their website. In their Google Analytics go to Audience > Mobile > Overview.

Show clients a visual like this so they can see the differences of a website on various devices.

Jargon: Accessability

Client’s thinking: Uhhh, yes. Why wouldn’t I want people to access my website?

Client-Friendly: We want your website to be accessible to all people including those with disabilities. Not having an accessible website is like not giving a person in a building the access they need.

Jargon: Breadcrumbs

Client-Friendly: This is a secondary menu on the website that helps visitors see where they are at on the website. Think of this as the “you are here” icon on a map. 

Jargon: Front-end vs Back-end development

Client-Friendly: Front-end: this is how we make the website look visually appealing. 

Back-end: this is everything you don’t see that makes the website look and function they way it does. 

Think of this like a nice hotel. On the front-end, guests visit and enjoy the luxurious entrance, the furniture and nice touches. In the back-end, the kitchen, housekeeping and security keep it looking and running they do that make the guest’s visit a positive experience.

Or just show the client this image ?

Image Source: comic.browserling.com

Jargon: Above the fold

Client-Friendly: We want to keep what’s most important at the top of your website so visitors don’t have to scroll to find out what it is you do and how they should interact with the website.

Jargon: Bounce rate

Client-Friendly: Let’s look at how many people come to your website and immediately leave (before looking any further or taking any action).

To see client’s bounce rate, in Google Analytics go to Audience > Overview.

If a client needs more information, a little word from Google should help.

Jargon: Permalink

Client-Friendly: We need to have a permanent URL we can use for each page and post on the website.

Jargon: Cookies

Client’s thinking: Woo, that sounds delicious! I hope it’s chocolate chip!

Client-Friendly: A file that tells us how specific visitors use the website.

Jargon: Local environment

Client-Friendly: This allows me to work on your website on my computer without worrying about your live website. 

Jargon: Domain

Client-Friendly: The part of your website URL after the www, for example: yourbusiness.com

Jargon: Host

Client-Friendly: Every website has files that make it work and look the way it goes. Those files need to be stored somewhere and that is the job of the host.

Some recommended hosts for web designers are FlyWheel and SiteGround.

Jargon: Image compression

Client-Friendly: Our goal is to keep the images looking really good while making the file small in size so they load for your site visitors really fast.

Find Compressor.io and other image optimization tools here >>

Jargon: Hero Image

Client-Friendly: The large image at the top of a webpage that usually extends all the way to both sides of a page.

Jargon: Theme or Template

Client-Friendly: Gives your website it’s design and layout.

Some recommended themes include: Elegant Themes and Thrive Themes.

Jargon: Cache

Client-Friendly: A storage unit for the information on your website so it can be accessed quicker the next time a visitor returns to a site. 

Jargon: Pixels

Client-Friendly: This is how we measure size on a website and a pixel is represented by a dot / square.

Want a fun example to share? Remember the million dollar homepage

Jargon: Dynamic

Client-Friendly: A dynamic website is created as a visitor comes to the site based on their preferences and how they previously used the site. 

Use a well known website to help clients better understand what you’re referring to. Netlfix is an example of a dynamic website.

Jargon: Landing page

Client-Friendly: A webpage is a page dedicated to having a site visitor do 1 specific task (enter their email, fill out a form, buy a product, call a phone number) and typically there is no way to exit the page.

For example: The Web Designer’s Join page has the goal of web designers becoming free members so they receive the free resources, latest industry happenings, deals and tools. Not already a member? Why in the world not? 

There are a lot of good examples of landing page at LeadPages

Jargon: API

Client-Friendly: A contract between two softwares that allow them to work together.

Jargon: Plugin

Client-Friendly: A pre-existing piece of software that will make the website work the way you want to saving you time and money.

Jargon: Content Management System (CMS)

Client-Friendly: A software that lets you create webpages such as WordPress.

Jargon: Sitemap

Client-Friendly: A file that tells Google (and other search engines) how your website is laid out so they have an easier to reading it.

What did we miss?

What other common jargon words do you find yourself using the clients don’t understand?

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