Posted by: buzzmckenna | July 3, 2008

Glossary of Web Terms

Author: Collected by Mai Nguyen

Aggregator [or Feed Aggregator/Feed Reader/News Reader]

Software or web application which collects syndicated web content into a single location for easy viewing.[1] Examples include Web-based aggregators (eg. Google Reader) and Media aggregators that contain audio or video content.

Blog (Weblog)

An easy publishing tool (eg. website) that allows anyone to publish their comments on a subject. Most blogs promote interactivity by allowing users to subscribe to feeds or link content to other sites. The majority of blog content is text based, but may also include a focus on photographs (photoblog), videos (vlog) or audio (podcast).

Consumer-generated media (CGM) or User-generated Content (UGC)

CGM is content that is created and shared among consumers. Examples include blogs, forums, reviews/rating, public discussions, folksonomies, wikis, social networking, video and photo uploading sites.

Conversion Design

Incorporates business objectives into design with the aim of converting website traffic into prospects or sales. The process of conversion design utilises a combination of information architecture (IA), usability, search engine optimisation (SEO), and internet marketing strategies to improve websites.


Also referred to as ‘collaborative tagging’, ‘social classification’, ‘social indexing’, and ‘social tagging’.[1] Folksonomy involves classifying information, by users of the application, with the addition of personal/shared labels that create categories. It is generally performed by the owner or creator of the information rather than by experts. Examples where tagging occurs include social bookmarking (eg., media (eg. Flickr), mobile (eg. Socialite) and online shopping (eg. Amazon).

Information Architecture (IA)

The set of ideas about how information should be organised to allow a logical and intuitive path for searching and managing information. In website design, IA focuses on ensuring web content reflects the site’s design and navigation scheme. A website with effective IA enables people to navigate and find required information with relative ease.

Interaction design (IxD)

The structure and behaviours of interactive products and services, and user interactions with these products and services.[2] The process involves iterative research with the aim of improving usability and communication between people.


Refers to web application that combines multiple services into a single application.[3] For example, a travel website might include Google Maps to display locations of holiday destinations, information about locations and photos.


A digital audio file made available for download from the internet using an RSS feed. Consumers can download the audio content to their desktop or portable media player (eg.iPod).

Rich Media

Advertising that consists of a combination of graphical and audio technologies to entertain and engage consumers while promoting user interaction. Examples: a movie ad that includes streaming video of the movie trailer or ads that change size when the user’s mouse passes over it.


A family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts in a standardized format. An RSS feed contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text.

Search Engine Friendly (SEF)

Websites that are search engine friendly possess content that are easily accessible by major search engines. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is commonly performed to create SEF websites.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The combination of SEO, paid advertising campaigns, and other related techniques to maximise a website’s exposure on the internet.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The process of making a website rank highly in major search engine results pages (SERP) with the aim of increasing quality visitors to the site. As part of website development and design, SEO generally involves modifications to the source code of a website, ensuring relevant and effective keywords are used.


Social networking sites

A ‘virtual community’ where members can construct an online profile of themselves and interact with other members via various applications. Popular examples include Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Cyworld.


Website content made available to multiple other sites, feed aggregators or readers. Most commonly, web syndication refers to making content from a site available in order to provide other people with a summary of the website’s recently added content (for example, the latest news or forum posts).


Usability refers to the ease-of-use of a product in achieving user-specified goals. In the context of information technology, both software applications (eg. user-friendly interface) and websites (eg. navigation, content) can be usability tested.

User-centred design (UCD)

A structured design process focused around the needs and specifications of target users. The elements of UCD usability are visibility, accessibility, legibility and language.[1] Usability testing is commonly performed in conjuction with the UCD process.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) [or Unique Selling Point]

A unique benefit of a product or service that influences a buyer to prefer it over other brands. Advertising campaigns are usually built around a USP as part of the promotional theme. Examples: Red Bull – “Give you wings”, Fedex – “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”.

Viral Marketing

Also referred to as Online Consumer Word-of-Mouth, Online Consumer Buzz[5]. It is the propagation of branded messages by individuals.

Web 2.0

The second phase of the internet which highlights changes in how the web is used. Initially, people predominantly used the internet for downloading information (Web 1.0). Web 2.0 describes how both uploading and downloading of content is possible, with enhanced information sharing and communication among users. Web 2.0 applications include social networking sites, blogs, wikis and web feeds.

Web Analytics

The process of analysing data associated with the behaviour of visitors to a website. Such metrics include the number of unique visitors, the length of time spent on the site, and keyword searches made to arrive at a site. This knowledge is used to improve the website’s design in order to attract and retain customers.


Web Feed [or News Feed]

A web syndication format that allows people to view headlines of recent updates to selected websites or blogs, by using a single feed reader (aggregator) program. Atom and RSS feeds are two common examples and can be read by a feed aggregator (eg. Google Reader).

Web Syndication

Making content available from a website via web feeds in order to provide readers with a summary of the website’s recently added content.[1] RSS is an example of a web syndication format (web feed), which provides the benefit of viewing updates to websites without the need to check sites individually.


A media file that is broadcasted on the internet. Examples: TV and radio simulcasts, web conferencing, podcasts, video clips.

Web widget

A small program that can be easily put on a website, personalised start page, or blog (eg. link to add as a bookmark). When installed on a computer or mobile phone, it is called a ‘desktop widget’ or ‘mobile widget’ respectively. Some common widgets include weather guides, calendar, and search boxes.


A collaborative website that allows its users to add, delete or modify its content. Examples include Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Wiktionary, Wikibooks.


[1] Source: Wikipedia
[2] Source: Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
[3] Source:

[4] Source:

[5] Source: Nielsen Buzz Metrics


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