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Ultimate Product Web Development Jargon Buster

Web development is a language of its own. If you’re not a developer, it can be easy to get lost in all of the technical jargon, so we put together a dictionary of basic web development terms everyone should be familiar with.
Web Development terms on a purple background

Web development is filled with dev-specific speak (what is HTML, really?), but ensuring a project’s success means making sure everyone understands each part of the process. To get the entire team on the same page and using the same words, we’ve created a glossary of web development terms everyone — from the engineer to the client — should know.

Brush up on the technical lingo with these 15 web development terms.

Alternative (Alt) Text

Alternative text is used within an HTML code to describe images and how they relate to a webpage’s content. It’s sorted by search engines and shown on a webpage if the image or asset fails to load. As short but thorough descriptions, alt text is also an accessibility feature since it can be read aloud to users who have screen readers. If you’re looking to improve SEO, alt text should be added to all images. 


A browser or web cache temporarily stores a webpage’s static assets (images, code, etc), so users can easily and quickly jump from page to page without having to download them each time.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Cascading Style Sheets is a simple design language that streamlines the creation of web pages. CSS is aesthetic — it handles the look and feel of a web page. It outlines a page’s layout, colors, fonts, spacing, and more while also accounting for different devices and screen sizes.


HTTP cookies are small pieces of data that a server sends to a user’s web browser. Browsers store cookies to remember static information. Cookies are mainly used for personalization (user preference settings), session management (keeping users logged in, saving items in their shopping cart, etc), and recording and analyzing user behavior and browsing sessions.

Content Management System (CMS)

A Content Management System is a software that helps multiple users create, change, store, and oversee content on a website. It’s a tool that can help people build a website without writing code from scratch, often using templated pages and workflows.

Functional Requirements

Functional requirements specifically define how a product or software must operate, and what features and functions it will be required to perform. They establish the basic capabilities a system should have and outlines what a software should do.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

HTML is a computer language (or code) that structures a web page’s content and informs browsers how to display web elements like text, links, and media files. The hypertext organizes text on a page while the markup language determines the style and structure. HTML is also used to format documents and embed hyperlinks.

JavaScript (JS)

JavaScript is a programming language that allows engineers to input complex features on a web page and make it interactive. JS improves the user experience by making static web pages more engaging. Common examples of JavaScript-enabled elements are search boxes, interactive maps, and animations.


Put simply, metadata is data that describes other data. It’s an additional layer of code that structurally summarizes important information to help software identify and sort data. 

Meta Description

The meta description is an HTML element that briefly summarizes and describes a webpage’s content for search engines. A page’s meta description is shown as a short overview on a search engine results page, which helps the user get an idea of what the page is about and how it relates to their search.

Meta Title

Often different from the page’s title, the meta title succinctly describes a webpage’s topic and usually includes keywords that can be retrieved and ranked by search engines.

Meta Tags

Meta Tags are part of the metadata and include the meta description and meta title. They provide information about a webpage directly in the page’s HTML. Search engines use meta tags to understand and sort through information on the webpage.

Non-functional Requirements

Non-functional requirements describe a product or software’s quality attributes or operation standards. They often answer a user’s needs, defining and ensuring a system’s usability and effectiveness.


A plug-in is a software extension or add-on that can be installed into an existing program to add new features and optimize its capabilities.

Schema Markup

A schema markup is code that can be added to a web page’s HTML to provide more information, so search engines can better understand and sort the content. 

Product Design Glossary

Web development and product design lingo often overlap, so be sure to check out all three parts of the Big Human Product Design Jargon Buster.

July 12, 2022development