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Glossary

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Z

a

Accesskey

Accesskey: An attribute of XHTML elements, like A and INPUT, the accesskey allows users to use the numerical keypad of a mobile device to quickly navigate to areas of the document or site.

Accessibility

Basically, this is the ability of a website to be used by people with disabilities, including visually impaired visitors using screen readers, hearing impaired visitors using no sound, color blind people, or those with other disabilities. A website with low accessibility is basically going to be impossible for those with disabilities to use. Accessibility is particularly important for sites providing information to those with disabilities (healthcare sites, government sites, etc.), though it is an important aspect to consider when designing any site.

Adsense

Google's pay-per-click, context-relevant program available to blog and web publishers as a way to create revenue.

AJAX

An acronym (Asynchronous Java Script and XML) representing a way to create real-time Web applications.

Alignment

The positioning of letters along lines, usually horizontal and in vertical columns.

Ampersand

A scribal abbreviation for "and." There are many forms and styles. Derived from the Latin word et, meaning "and."

Anti-aliasing

Blurring the edges of a font on screen to soften the look of bitmapped type. Anti-aliasing is usually desirable at large point sizes (16 points or above).

Ascender

That part of a lowercase letter that rises above the x-height, as in letters b, d, f, h, k, t and l.

ASCII

The American Standard Code for Information Interchange, a standard character set defined by ANSI, the American National Standards Institure.

Avatar

A graphical image or likeness that replaces a photo of the author of the content on a blog.

b

Bandwidth

Bandwidth can refer to two different things: the rate at which data can be transferred or the total amount of data allowed to be transferred from a web host during a given month (or other hosting service term) before overage charges are applied. It is generally referred to in term of bits-per-second (bps), kilobits per second (kbs), or other metric measurements. Lower bandwidth internet connections (such as dial-up) mean data loads slower than with high bandwidth connections (like cable or fiber).

Baseline

The imaginary line upon which the letters in a font appear to rest.

Beta

The period in which a site is monitored for testing on the last stage before being totally ready

Bitmap

An array of intensity values, normally rectangular, used to create an image, as on a screen or on paper. The bits are mapped onto the screen or paper.

Body/Copy

The body of a layout (also called copy or body copy) is the main text.

Body size (typography)

The height of the face of the type. Originally, this meant the height of the face of the metal block on which each individual letter was cast. In digital type, it is the height of its imaginary equivalent, the rectangle defining the space owned by a given letter (different from the dimension of the letter itself).

Breadcrumb

Breadcrumbs are the bit of navigation elements that generally appear near the top of a give web page that show you the pages and subpages the appear before the page you're on. For examples, on a blog, the breadcrumbs might look something like: Home > Category > Year > Month > Post (or they might be a lot simpler that that). The breadcrumbs term comes from the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.”

c

Cache/Caching

Cached files are those that are saved or copied (downloaded) by a web browser so that the next time that user visits the site, the page loads faster.

Cap height

The height of the uppercase letters.

Caps

Capitals, or uppercase letters. ALL CAPS LOOKS LIKE THIS. Considered impolite in email, chat or web site layout (regarded as screaming aloud), and often the sign of amateur design. In English handwriting and print two kinds of letters are used: capitals (called majuscules) and small letters (called minuscules). A relatively modern innovation. The Romans, Greeks, and Oriental peoples never distinguished capitals from small letters. All these earlier languages used two forms — a carefully drawn form of writing with squarish and separate signs on official documents and monuments and a less carefully drawn form of cursive (running) writing with roundish and often joined signs on less official documents, such as letters. During the Middle Ages a form of capital letters called uncials was developed. Uncials (from a Latin word meaning “inch-high”) were squarish in shape, with rounded strokes. They were used in Western Europe in handwritten books, side by side with small-letter cursive writing, used in daily life. After the Renaissance and the introduction of printing in Europe, two types of letters were distinguished: the majuscules, which were formed in imitation of the ancient Latin characters, and the minuscules, which continued in the tradition of the medieval cursive writing. Another distinction in printing form developed at the time was between the upright characters of the roman type and the slanting characters of the italic type.

Cascading Style Sheets

Also referred to simply as CSS, Cascading Style Sheets are used to define the look and feel of a web site outside of the actual HTML file(s) of the site. In recent years, CSS has replaced tables and other HTML-based methods for formatting and laying out websites. The benefits to using CSS are many, but some of the most important are the simplification of a site’s HTML files (which can actually increase search engine rankings) and the ability to completely change the style of a site by changing just one file, without having to make changes to content.

Client-Side

Client-side refers to scripts that are run in a viewer’s browser, instead of on a web server (as in server-side scripts). Client-side scripts are generally faster to interact with, though they can take longer to load initially.

Content Management System

Also known as a CMS, the Content Management System is a backend tool for managing a siteís content that separates said content from the design and functionality of the site. Using a CMS generally makes it easier to change the design or function of a site independent of the site’s content. It also (usually) makes it easier for content to be added to the site for people who aren’t designers.

CMYK

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, the colors a printer works with, as opposed to the screen color space, RGB. This is also known as process color. CMYK is a subtractive color space; in other words, to make white, you take away all the colors.

CSS Framework

A CSS framework is a collection of CSS files used as the starting point to make XHTML and CSS web sites quickly and painlessly. They usually contain CSS styles for typography and layout.

d

Dashes – —

Standard fonts include, at minimum: an em dash — , an en dash (–) and hyphen (-). A figure dash and three-quarter emdash are often included as well, and a one-third em dash more rarely.

Descender

The portion of a letter that extends below the baseline of the letter, such as the bottoms of y, p, and g.

Dither

In GIF and certain other image formats, there is a limited color palette used for each image. Because of this, not all colors in an image are presented. Dither is used to approximate these colors by combining pixels of different colors side by side.

DNS

Stands for Domain Name Service (alternately Domain Name System or Domain Name Server). Basically, it’s the thing that converts IP addresses into domain names. DNS servers are provided with the IP address of your web server when you assign your domain name to those servers. In turn, when someone types your domain name into their web browser, those DNS servers translate the domain name to the IP address and point the browser to the correct web server.

Doctype

The doctype declaration specifies which version of HTML is used in a document. It has a direct effect on whether your HTML will validate.

Domain

The domain is the name by which a website is identified. The domain is associated with an IP address. Domains can be purchased with any combination of letters, hyphens (-), and numbers (though it can’t start with a hyphen). Depending on the extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.), a domain can be anywhere up to 26 to 63 characters long.

DPI

Dots per inch is the more exact way to define the resolution for a file that is to be printed. Some use DPI and PPI interchangeably, though this is technically incorrect.

Drop cap

A large initial capital or versal embedded into the text. Traditionally the first capital letter of a paragraph, set in a larger point size and aligned with the top of the first line. As such, this method is used to indicate the start of a new section of text, such as a chapter.

e

Elastic Layout

An elastic layout is one that uses percentages and ems for widths paired with a max-width style to allow the site layout to stretch when font sizes are changed. It’s ability to flex to accommodate the browser width and reader’s font preferences are where it gets its name.

ellipsis …

A punctuation character consisting of three dots, or periods, in a row. It indicates that a word or phrase has been omitted. To access the ellipsis character in standard Mac typefaces, type option + semicolon.

Em

Em is a unit of measurement for sizing fonts and other elements within a web page relative to the item’s parent element. A 1em font is equal to the point size for the font already defined in the parent element (2em would be twice the current size; .5em would be half the current size).

em dash —

A dash the length of an em is used to indicate a break in a sentence. To access the ellipsis character in standard Mac typefaces, type option + shift + hyphen.

f

Face (typography)

The collection of glyphs within a specific style or incarnation of a text font. (e.g. Garamond bold is a face within the Garamond Family which defines the Garamond Font.)

Family (typography)

The collection of faces linked stylistically to a specific text font.

Favicon

Favicons are tiny (generally 16x16 pixels, though some are 32x32 pixels), customizable icons displayed in the web address bar in most browsers next to the web address. They’re either 8-bit or 24-bit in color depth and are saved in either .ico, .gif or .png file formats.

Feed Reader

An aggregator of content, subscribed to by the user, so that specific content or search results arrives in their "reader". Among the popular (and free) tools are GreatNews, Feed Demon and Google Reader.

Fixed Width Layout

A fixed width layout has a set width (generally defined in pixels) set by the designer. The width stays the same regardless of screen resolution, monitor size, or browser window size. It allows for minute adjustments to be made to a design that will stay consistent across browsers. Designers have more control over exactly how a site will appear across platforms with this type of layout.

Focal Point

The focal point of a web site is the spot on a web page that they eye is naturally drawn to. This could be an image, a banner, text, Flash content, or just about anything else. You want to make sure that whatever is acting as your focal point is the most important part of your site.

Fold

The fold is a term carried over from newspaper design and pagination (where the fold referred to the physical fold in the paper). The fold in a website is the point on the webpage that rests at the bottom of someone’s browser (in other words, to see anything below the fold, they would have to scroll down). There are varying opinions on how important the fold is in web design.

Font (also, fount)

A collection of typefaces that typically share design elements.

Font Family

Font family is a group designation for defining the typefaces used in CSS documents. The font family tag generally lists multiple fonts to be used, and usually ends with the generic font category (such as “serif” or “sans-serif”).

Font Style

In CSS, the font style refers solely to whether a font is italic or not.

Font Weight

The font weight refers to how thick or thin (bold or light) a font looks.

Front-End

The front-end is basically the opposite of the back-end. It’s all the components of a website that a visitor to the site can see (pages, images, content, etc.) Specifically, it’s the interface that visitors use to access the site’s content. It’s also sometimes referred to as the User Interface.

g

Glyph

Every character in a typeface, (e.g: G, $, ?, and 7), is represented by a glyph. A typeface may contain more than one glyph for each character. These are usually referred to as alternates.

Golden Section

The ideal proportion according to the ancient Greeks. Visualized as the division of a line into two unequal segments in such a way that the ratio of the smaller segment to the larger segment is equal to the ratio of the larger to the whole. It is usually defined as 21:34, that is, 21/34 and 34/(21+34) both equal approximately 0.618. A rectangle whose sides are of this proportion is called a “golden rectangle”. Golden rectangles can be found in the proportions of the Parthenon and many medieval manuscripts.

Graceful Degradation

Graceful degradation refers to a website’s ability to have elements that may take advantage of the capabilities of newer browsers done in a way that allows users with older browsers to still view the site in a manner that at least allows access to basic content. It also applies to making sure that if one small portion of your site doesn’t work in someone’s browser, it doesn’t break your entire site for them.

Gradient

A gradient is a fade from one color to another. There are many shapes a gradient can take, but generally it is either linear (straight) or radial (round, where it fades from the center outwards). Gradients can also be highly customized with many different color patterns so that it is difficult to tell if an object actually has a gradient. Generally gradients are used to add depth, or sometimes a shiny or metallic look, to a design element, but they can also be used simply to color an object.

Graphical User Interface

Also referred to by its acronym: GUI. A graphical user interface uses an input device (like the mouse) and visual representations of how the user is able to interact with a web application. In other words, it’s all the front-end stuff you see on a web application. It’s purpose is to allow you to interact with a web application without having to enter code.

Gutter

(1) The blank column between two columns of type. Also used for the fold and spine margins between the typeblocks on facing pages of a book. (2) The inner margin of a page, closest to the binding.

h

Hexadecimal

Also referred to a “hex” numbers, they are a base-16 numbering system used to define colors online. Hex numbers include the numerals 0-9 and letters A-F. Hexadecimal numbers are written in three sets of hex pairs. Because screen colors are RGB (Red, Green, Blue), the first pair defines the red hue, the second pair defines the green hue, and the third pair defines the blue.

.htaccess

The .htaccess file is the default directory-level configuration file on Apache servers. They are also known as “distributed configuration files.” Configuration directives contained in the .htaccess file apply to the directory in which the file is placed as well as all of its subdirectories. Within the .htaccess file things like authorization and authentication, rewriting of URLs, cache control and customized error responses can all be specified.

HTML Tag

Also referred to as an HTML element, an HTML tag is the bit of code that describes how that particular piece of the web page it’s on is formatted. Typical tags specify things like headings, paragraphs, links, and a variety of other items.

Hyphen -

A punctuation mark used in some compound words, such as gastro-intestinal, seventy-five, and mother-in-law. A hyphen is also used to divide a word at the end of a line of type. Hyphens may appear only between syllables. Thus com-pound is properly hyphenated, but compo-und is wrong.

i

Indention

The amount by which a line of type is set less than a full measure, as when the first line of a paragraph is begun with a blank space of some fixed width. The most familiar indention is the left indent found in the first line of a paragraph, known as the paragraph indention. The hanging indention is just the reverse; it is formed by keeping the first line of a paragraph flush with the left margin and then beginning the subsequent lines of the paragraph to the right of the left margin. This is especially useful for distinguishing headings in narrow columns, or for beginning lists. Indenting text from the right is rarely done except in conjunction with a left indent as well. The diagonal indention requires that the first line of a paragraph be set flush left, the last flush right, and any intermediate lines set to flow diagonally from top-left to bottom-right. It was once popular in newspaper headlines. Another seldom seen indention is made by centering at least three lines of text, each successive line being shorter than the one above it. This is known as inverted pyramid indention. It can be used for headings, but it hasn’t seen much use since the Victorian era.

Information Architecture (IA)

The process of organizing information including the structure, design, layout and navigation in a way that is easy for people to find, understand and manage the information.

Interaction Design (ID)

The creation of behavior and communication tools and processes that facilitate communication between humans and objects, services, and physical or virtual environments, and that allow manipulation of those objects, services, and environments. It is important to study the flow of information and the discourse between the human and the interface including feedback and stimulus-response over a period of time.

k

Kerning

Kerning refers to the horizontal space between individual pairs of letters (a kerning pair). Fonts that are properly kerned appear evenly spaced without large open gaps of white space between characters.

l

Landing Page

A landing page is the page where a visitor first enters a website. Oftentimes, a special landing page is created to elicit a specific action from the new visitor (usually in connection with an advertising or marketing campaign).

Leading

The vertical space between lines of text (baseline to baseline). Also known as linespacing.

Legibility

In typography, usually taken to mean “easily read.” Applies more specifically to craft of typeface and its individual ease of decipherability, while readability is often used interchangably, but should apply to other external factors. Legibility is to some extent open to personal interpretation, and is influenced by many factors, such as the intended audience for the type, the circumstances under which it would be viewed, and the purpose for which it is displayed. For a given typeface, its legibility depends in part on the qualities inherent in its design, and also partly upon the way it is used. Serif type, for instance, is generally more legible than sans-serif type because of the greater variety of its letterforms, and yet in certain low-resolution applications, such as computer video displays, a sans-serif face may be far more legible. (It is important to note also, that many other factors may influence legibility more strongly than the presence of serifs, and that, for instance, a well used sans-serif face will be more legible than a poorly used serif face.) Under most circumstances a serif typeface, neither italic nor boldface, upper and lower case, is the most legible way to set text. Finally, it should be kept in mind that legibility may not always be a designer’s top priority (although illegibility is more usually due to carelessness). In advertising, text is often set more to catch the eye than to deliver meaning. It has also become fashionable in recent years for typestyle to comment upon the content of a text, frequently at the expense of legibility.

Letter spacing

Extra space inserted between letters in a word. Also known as kerning.

Ligatures

Special characters that are actually two letters combined into one. In cases where two adjacent characters would normally bump into each other, a ligature allows the letters to flow together more gracefully. This usually makes word shapes more aesthetically pleasing. Some common ligatures are “fi”, “fl”, “ff”, “ffl”, etc.

Lining figures (LF)

Numbers that rest on the baseline, and are usually the same heights as capital letters. Lining figures are usually tabular. Learn more about figure styles.

Liquid Layout

A liquid layout is one that is based on percentages of the browser window’s size. The layout of the site will change with the width of the browser, even if the visitor changes their browser size while viewing the page. Liquid layouts take full advantage of a person’s browser width, optimizing the amount of content you can fit onscreen at one time.

m

Meta Data

Meta data is the data contained in the header that offers information about the web page that a visitor is currently on. The information contained in the meta data isn’t viewable on the web page (except in the source code). Meta data is contained within meta tags.

Monospaced

A font in which every character has the same width, and no kerning pairs. This allows for neatly set columns of text and tables.

n

Non-Breaking Space

A non-breaking space (also referred to as  ) is a white-space character that isn’t condensed by HTML. It’s primary function is to hold open table cells or add spacing between words (or a the beginning of paragraphs if an indent is desired).

o

Open Source

Open source refers to the source code of a computer program being made available to the general public. Open source software includes both web-based and desktop applications. Open source programs are generally free or very low cost and are developed by teams of people, sometimes comprised mostly of volunteers.

OpenType

OpenType fonts are less common than fonts in the other formats because the technology is relatively new. The biggest advantage shared by all OpenType fonts is cross-platform capability. The single font file will work on both Mac and Windows systems. Some OpenType fonts include expanded character sets and special features like automatic ligatures and alternate glyphs. OpenType is the best format for most purposes.

p

Short for “permanent link.” Generally used only on blogs, a permalink is a link that is the permanent web address of a given blog post. Since most blogs have constantly-changing content, the permalink offers a way for readers to bookmark or link to specific posts even after those posts have moved off the home page or primary category page.

Pica

A unit of measure equal to 12 points. Two different picas are in common use. (1) In traditional printers’ measure, the pica is 4.22 mm or 0.166 inch: close to, but not exactly, one sixth of an inch. This is the customary British and American unit of measuring the length of the line and the depth of the typeblock. (2) The PostScript pica is precisely one sixth of an inch. (Note: the continental European counterpart to the pica is the cicero, which is 7% larger.)

Pixel

Originally, this word was short for the term “picture element”. A pixel is a single rectangular point in a larger graphic image composed of many rectangular points. Computer monitors can display pictures because the screen is divided into millions of pixels arranged in rows and columns. Pixels are so close together that from a distance they appear to be connected.

Point

A unit of type size equal to 0.01384 inch, or approximately 1/72 of an inch.

Progressive Enhancement

Progressive enhancement is a strategy for web design that uses web technologies in a layered fashion that allows everyone to access the basic content and functionality of a web page, using any browser or Internet connection, while also providing those with better bandwidth or more advanced browser software an enhanced version of the page.

Property

Property is a CSS term and is roughly equivalent to an HTML tag. Properties are what define how a style should appear on a given web page.

Pseudo-Element

A pseudo-element is an element used to add a special effect to certain selectors.

Pseudo Class

Like pseudo-elements, pseudo classes are used to add special effects to certain CSS selectors.

r

Readability

A measure of the degree to which an interface can be easily and accurately read; an attribute of a usable system. The level of difficulty of vocabulary and the complexity of sentences in a written text usually ranked by the age or grade level required for a person to readily understand the text. People can more easily perceive a message correctly when the vocabulary and sentences are simple and clear.

Really Simple Syndication

Also referred to as RSS. RSS is a standardized XML format that allows content to be syndicated from one site to another. It’s most commonly used on blogs. RSS also allows visitors to subscribe to a blog or other site and receive updates via a feed reader.

Resolution

Refers to the physical number of pixels displayed on a screen (such as 1280x1024). Unlike in print, display resolution does not refer to the number of pixels or dots per inch on a computer screen, as this can be changed by changing the resolution of the screen (which, of course, does not change the physical size of the screen). The resolution of an image, however, is often referred to in terms of pixels per inch, though this has very little effect on how the image is displayed on screen.

RGB

Red, Green and Blue are a monitor’s color space. RGB is considered an additive color space, meaning to make white you add all the colors together. You view the world in RBG, not CMYK.

s

Sans serif

A typefaces without serifs. Sans serif & slab seriftype forms made their first appearances around 1815–1817. Both are marked by simpler letterforms with (usually) relatively uniform strokeweight, lacking significant contrast, often geometric in underlying design. The earliest forms of sans and slab typefaces tended to be heavy, often monolithic, display faces, but there quickly evolved a wide range ofstyles. Although the earliest designs are not much used today, their descendants are common enough. Sans serif letters have no serifs, as the name suggests. The low contrast and absence of serifs makes most sans typefaces harder to follow for general reading. They are fine for a sentence, passable for a paragraph, but are difficult to use well in, say, the text of a book. The terminology of sans serif types can be confusing: essentially, gothic or grotesque are both generic names for sans serif (although Letter Gothic, confusingly, is more of a slab serif type). In sans serif faces, the italics are often, although not always, simply a sloped (mechanically obliqued) version of the roman letters, making them totally subordinate to the roman. By far the most common sans is Helvetica (1951, Miedinger), despite being abhorred by many typographers. Helvetica does have the advantage of coming in a huge range of weights and widths, which makes it versatile, and its ubiquitous character makes it easy to match. Other general-purpose sans serifs include Univers (Frutiger, 1952+), Arial (Monotype), Franklin Gothic (M.F. Benton, 1903) and Frutiger (Frutiger, 1975). Sprouting from the Art Deco movement in the 1920s and 1930s (see Art Deco), radical geometrical shapes began to be used as the basis for sans serif designs. There are a few other common sans faces which do not fall cleanly into the above categories. Eric Gill’s 1928 Gill Sans has an almost architectural quality, and its greater contrast and humanistic design makes it better-suited than most sans serif typefaces to setting bodies of text. The same can perhaps be said of a number of late 20th century humanistic sans faces.

Script

Generally refers to a portion of code on an HTML page that makes the page more dynamic and interactive. Scripts can be written in a variety of languages, including JavaScript.

Selector

In CSS, the selector is the item a style will be applied to.

Semantic Markup

In semantic markup, content is written within XHTML tags that offer context to what the content contains. Basic semantic markup refers to using items like header and paragraph tags, though semantic markup is also being used to provide much more useful context to web pages in an effort to make the web as a whole more semantic.

SEO

Acronym for Search Engine Optimization

Serif

A stroke added to the beginning or the end of one of the main strokes of a letter. In the roman alphabet, serifs are usually reflexive finishing strokes, forming unilateral or bilateral stops. (They are unilateral if they project only to one side of the main stroke, like the serifs at the head of T and the foot of L, and bilateral if they project to both sides, like the serifs at the foot of T and the head of L.) Transitive serifs — smooth entry or exit strokes — are the norm in italic. There are many descriptive terms for serifs, especially as they have developed in roman faces. They may be not only unilateral or bilateral, but also long or short, thick or thin, pointed or blunt, abrupt or adnate, horizontal or vertical or oblique, tapered, triangular and so on. In blackletters they are frequently scutulate (diamond shaped), and in some script faces, such as Tekton, the serifs are virtually round. (Not all type historians agree that the word serif should be used in the relation to italic letters. But some term is is necessary to denote the difference between, for example, Bembo italic and Gill Sans italic. In this book, the former is described as a serified italic, the latter as unserified.)

Server-Side

Server-side refers to scripts run on a web server, as opposed to in a user’s browser. Server-side scripts often take a bit longer to run than a client-side script, as each page must reload when an action is taken.

Site Map

A representation of the information that can be found on a Website or of a system. When presented as content on a Website it is typically organized in a hierarchical listing. Alternatively, the same information can be represented with boxes and arrows that visually show the hierarchy of the interface.

Small Caps (SC)

Small caps are capital letters that are not the full height of the capital letters. Many applications can create small caps by scaling down the capital letters, but these false small caps lack the proper weight and proportions. A true small cap typeface retains the appropriate character weight but offers it at a smaller size.

Spambot

automatic software robots that post spam on a blog

Specification

A specification is a document that offers an explicit definition and requirements for a web service or technology and generally includes how the technology is meant to be used, along with the tags, elements, and any dependencies.

Stems

Vertical sticks on capitals- on lower-case letters they are referred to as ascenders. The letter o has no stem, the letter l consists of stem and serifs alone.

t

Taxonomy

A scheme for classifying a body of knowledge and defining the relationships among the pieces. Sometimes referred to as a controlled vocabulary, a taxonomy is often used to classify content to aid in the creation of information architecture.

Template

A template is a file used to create a consistent design across a website. Templates are often used in conjunction with a CMS and contain both structural information about how a site should be set up, but also stylistic information about how the site should look.

Testing (usability)

The process of validating that a system meets pre-specified usability objectives. These objectives should be task-based, and should tie directly to product requirements, including results from analytic tools such as personas, scenarios, and task analysis. Testing may validate a number of objective and subjective characteristics, including task completion, time on task, error rates, and user satisfaction. Testing may be formal or informal, may be local (with testers physically present at same location as users) or remote, and may result in qualitative or quantitative data. Testing may occur at any point in the development cycle, from early analysis through product delivery and beyond. Testing may be based on paper designs, models, or display mock-ups, as well as on products in development and completed products

TrueType

A font format developed by Apple Systems, Inc. and licensed to Microsoft Corp. TrueType fonts are natively supported by the Windows and Mac operating Systems. On the Mac, both the printer and screen fonts are combined in a single TrueType font suitcase file.

Typeface

An artistic interpretation, or design, of a collection of written symbols. A typeface may include glyphs for alphabetic characters, numerals, punctuation, various symbols, and more — often for multiple languages. A typeface is usually grouped together in a family containing individual fonts for italic, bold, and other variations of the primary design.

Type foundry

A company that designs and produces original typefaces.

u

Uppercase

Capital letters such as A, B, C, etc. Derived from the practice of placing these letters in the top (upper) case of a pair of typecases by printers when laying out text.

URL

Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A site’s URL is its address, the item that specifies where on the Internet it can the found.

Usability

Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to your site to use your site in its intended manner. In other words, are navigation, content, images, and any interactive elements easy to use, functioning the way they were intended, and that your intended target visitor will not need any special training in order to use your site.

User Experience (UE)

Every aspect of the user's interaction with a product, service, or company that make up the user's perceptions of the whole. User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UE works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users.

User-Centered Design (UCD)

An approach or philosophy that emphasizes early and continuous involvement of users in the design and evaluation process.

v

Valid

Valid web pages are those that return no errors based on the type of HTML/XHTML specified in the doctype declaration at the beginning of the file. In other words, the code used on the page conforms to the specifications for that version of HTML/XHTML. This can be checked through various validation services, most commonly the one from W3C.

w

Web Standards

Standards are specifications recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium for standardizing website design. The main purpose of web standards is to make it easier for both designers and those who create web browsers to make sites that will appear consistent across platforms.

white space

The blank areas on a page where text and illustrations are not printed. White space should be considered an important graphic element in page design.

Wireframe

Rough outline of navigation and content elements that make up a user interface. Typically visual design and precise layout are not addressed.

x

x-height

The height of the lowercase letters, typically exemplified by the letter x.

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