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Content Strategy Glossary Terms

  • Above the fold [or Above-the-fold]
    The region of a Web page that is visible without scrolling. The area above the fold will vary according to a user's monitor size and their resolution settings. The region above the fold is called a screenful.
  • Active voice
    Active voice makes subjects do something (to something). For example, in "Jill selected the link," the verb "selected" is in the active voice.
  • Ad hoc navigation
    Embedded or in-page links that are more editorial than architectural.
  • ALT text or Alternative text
    An attribute used in HTML and XHTML documents to provide a short description of an image.
  • Anchor links
    Anchor links can be used on content pages that contain several (usually three or more) screenfuls of information. Anchor links allow users to skip through textual information, resulting in a more efficient information-finding process. Anchor links are best arranged as a table of contents for the page. See also "Within-page links." Also known as jump links.
  • Banner
    Banners are graphic images that commonly function as Web-based billboards. Banner ads generally appear toward the top-center of the screen, and are used as attention-grabbing links to other sites.
  • Breadcrumbs
    Breadcrumbs are a navigation element that allows users to orient themselves within a Web site, or efficiently move to one of the intermediate pages. Breadcrumbs are usually placed near the top of the page (generally immediately beneath the browser's address bar). For example, if users are reading about the features and benefits of "widget x," breadcrumbs might show the following information: Home > Products > Widget x > Features/Benefits Breadcrumbs allow users to find their way to the homepage
  • Content page
    A Web page designed to convey specific information to a user. Content pages are often found two or three clicks deep within a Web site. The defining characteristic of a content page is a reliance on text, graphics, and pictures that are designed to convey information on a given subject to users.
  • Continuous text
    In a Web context, continuous text comprises sentences and paragraphs. See also Prose Text.
  • Deep linking
    Hypertext link to a page on a Web site other than its home page
  • Density, page
    A measure of the percentage of the screen that is filled with text and graphics.
  • Destination page
    The location in a Web site where a given user goes after clicking on a link. [See also Target page or Landing Page]
  • Editorial links
    A term for links that are dynamically positioned on top-level pages of a site depending on the promotional needs of the site.
  • Embedded link
    A link that is found in the middle of prose or continuous text. Embedded links are often used to provide users with the definitions of terms or to lead them to supporting or related information.
  • Engaging or Engagement
    Capturing the user's attention or interest or maintaining their interaction.
  • Experience architecture
    Multidisciplinary approach to technology involving information architecture, interaction design and experience design practices that aim to provide a good user experience and benefit business.
  • External links
    Links that navigate a user to an external web page.
  • Fold
    The fold is defined as the lowest point where a Web page is no longer visible on a computer monitor or screen. Where on a Web page the fold falls is a function of the monitor size, the screen resolution, and the font size selection. The information that is visible when a Web page first loads is considered to be "above the fold." Those regions of the same Web page that are visible only by scrolling are considered to be "below the fold."
  • Gap analysis
    An evaluation technique used to demonstrate the difference between the desired state and the current state.
  • Global navigation
    A means to access primary content or functions from every page
  • Gloss
    An automated action that provides summary information on where a link will take a user prior to the user clicking on the link. Often, glosses appear as a small "pop-up" text box adjacent to a link. The gloss appears as the user moves the mouse over the link that is programmed with the gloss.
  • Heading
    The title, subtitle, or topic that stands at the top or beginning of a paragraph or section of text.
  • Help text
    Information incorporated into a web page that advises users how to perform an action or provides complementary information pertaining to the content.
  • Hyperlinks
    An element on a web page that navigates a user to another page or location within the same page. These are conventionally blue and underlined.
  • Image links
    A clickable image hyperlinked for internal linking and web site navigation without supporting text.
  • Image map
    Regions of a single graphic image are designed to be clickable and hyperlinked to different pages or destinations.
  • Index link
    Index links function as a table of contents. They provide users a quick glance at the Web site organization, allows users to quickly ascertain where they want to go, and to navigate there directly from the homepage.
  • Internal links
    Hyperlinks within a page or site which point to additional content within the same site.
  • Inverted pyramid writing
    News writing format that gives the most important information or conclusion first, followed by details.
  • Jargon
    Certain words or expressions that are not readily understood except by particular professionals or groups.
  • KISS
    Keep it Simple Stupid. A populat principal for encouraging simplicity in the areas of design and engineering.
  • Labeling systems
    The consistent selection and placement of labels that best accommodates navigation.
  • Labels
    Naming conventions for buttons or site navigation.
  • Landing page
    The location in a Web site where a given user goes after clicking on a link. Also Target page or Destination page.
  • Look and Feel
    The consistent visual design and application of a corporate identity to an interface.
  • Metadata
    Data about data, it can be used to describe content on a web page or information in any other sort of media.
  • Mouseover
    A Web interaction wherein some visually-apparent change occurs to an item when the user's cursor/pointer is placed over the item. Examples of visually-apparent change includes links highlighting (words, images, etc.), cursors/pointers changing shape, or menus opening. [See also Minesweeping]
  • Navigation
    The means by which users to get from page to page on a website.
  • Navigation page
    A Web page that contains no content and that is designed solely to direct or redirect users. Navigation pages may be designed as homepages, site maps, site overviews, etc.
  • Organization schemes
    The way in which information is organized or structured. This organization is based on the type an breadth of information contained on the site.
  • Organizing principals
    The way in which material is organized so users can quickly form a Mental Model. Common organizing principals include: alphabetical, chronological, task-based, geographical or audience oriented.
  • Page density
    A measure of the percentage of the screen that is filled with text and graphics.
  • Page flow
    A hierarchy or sequence suggested by arrangement of elements on a page.
  • Page title
    Page titles refer to the text located in the browser title bar (this is the bar found at the very top of the screen of common browsers).
  • Pagination
    Dividing information into separate sequentially numbered or linked pages.
  • Paging
    A Web site design methodology that requires users to follow a series of "Next page" links to read an entire article. Moving from page-to-page is an alternative to scrolling through long pages.
  • Passive voice
    Voice is a grammatical feature of English verbs. Passive voice permits subjects to have something done to them (by someone or something). For example, ?The link was clicked by John.? Some argue that passive voice is more indirect and wordier than active voice.
  • Performance objectives
    The goals set for user behaviors on an individual Web page or a series of Web pages. These objectives usually are stated in terms of the time to correctly select a link, the overall accuracy of selecting links, the average time to select a target page, etc.
  • Persona
    The creation of a representative user based on available data and user interviews. Though the personal details of the persona may be fiction, the information used to create the user type is not.
  • Plain language
    Clear and succinct communication written to ensure readers can understand the information as quickly and completely as possible.
  • Prose text
    Ordinary writing, in a Web context, prose text comprises sentences and paragraphs. [See also Continuous Text]
  • Readability
    The degree to which users can easily and accurately read information on a web page
  • Reading grade level (RGL)
    The level of education a user would need to understand a piece of content
  • Scanability
    How easy it is to read and understand a body of text.
  • Scanning
    An information-retrieval method whereby users look quickly through a Web page looking for target information (headers, keywords, etc.). Scanning can be a quick and efficient information-retrieval method if Web pages are designed to accommodate scanning.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    Techniques used to improve website positioning (ranking) on the web's search engines. The specific goal is to have the site listed among the first results for searches on particular keywords.
  • Semantics
    Semantics is a term used to distinguish the meaning of an instruction from its format. A semantic error occurs when you enter a legal command that does not make sense in the current context. To reduce error, provide semantic hints. Example of a semantic hint: Use AND to retrieve a smaller set of records in which both of the search terms are present. Use OR to retrieve a larger number of records; OR is commonly used to search for synonymous terms or concepts.
  • Site map
    A clickable, graphic- or text-based display of a Web site's hierarchy.
  • Syntax
    The formatting rules tht aaddress the spelling of language components and the rules controlling how components should be combined. A syntax error occurs if you misspell a command, use inappropriate grammar, capitalization, etc. To reduce error, provide syntactic hints. Example of a syntactic hint: "Enter search terms separated by AND, OR, NOT, and/or enclose terms in double quotes to specify your search." "All operators must be capitalized."
  • Target audience
    The set of users for which a system is designed or intended.
  • Target page
    The location in a site where a user will find the information they are seeking. [See also Destination page]
  • Taxonomy
    How information is organization or classified
  • URL
    URL is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator. Every Web page has a URL that is used to identify the page and the server on which the page resides.
  • Use Experience (UE, UX)
    A broad term for several disciplines that study the effect of design on the ease of use and level of satisfaction with a product, site or system.
  • User research
    The study of the user's reactions to and interactions with a system.
  • User-Centered Design (UCD)
    An approach to designing a product or service (e.g. user interface design), in which the end user is placed in the center of the process.
  • Web Analytics
    The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.
  • White Space
    The use of blank (uncluttered) space on a page to promote content and navigation.
  • Widget
    Screen-based controls that are used to interact with a Web site and other systems. Widgets include pushbuttons, selection lists, radio buttons, sliders, etc.
  • Within-page links
    Within-page links are used on content pages that contain several (e.g., three or more) screenfuls of information. Within-page links are best arranged as a table of contents for the page. Within-page links allow users to skip through textual information, resulting in a more efficient information-finding process. [See also Anchor links]
  • WYSIWYG
    An acronym for "What you see is what you get." It describes the way in which the layout on the graphical screen is a representation of the printed version of the document.