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Jargon buster

When talking to people about websites they sometimes use jargon or shorthand which is not always easy to understand. Here are some examples with explanations.

This is short for applications and usually means something added to a website or mobile phone which is more than text and pictures. Examples are games, maps, calculators and calendars. Often this will be something which is interactive so that if you give information the 'app' gives you something back such as an answer or some directions.

In old style science fiction this meant a machine created to mimic human beings - a clash of light swords following the shout “Here come the androids!” However now this is almost always used for the operating system created by Google and used on handheld devices such as tablets. On these machines you are likely to see web pages via Google’s own browser Chrome. The jury is out on whether these androids aim to take over the world.


This is generally understood now but it can conjure up a picture of someone who spends a lot of time window shopping. A browser in web terms is the software which serves up pages from a website to your computer – it therefore ‘browses’ the world wide web.  Examples are Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

A particular browser often brings with it special features from a company or a partner company. Examples are search functions, advertisements and news items. Recently there has been talk of ‘browser wars’ when various companies that produce browsers have encouraged users to stay with or switch to their browser. Sometimes the browser gives you a ‘home’ page which includes all these features.

The Cloud
This is shorthand for “a storage area away from the hard disk on your computer”. Some people call this “server space” or “back up area”. It has the advantage that you can get your stuff back if your computer or laptop crashes. It has the disadvantage that you need to remember passwords and so forth to get hold of your pictures, music and files. You may have to pay for storage space too.

You may sometimes hear something like this ‘We had seven hundred thousand hits to our website last month.’   This really means very little as it is an old-fashioned measure used to count the number of items which make up a web page. What you may find more useful to get is the number of visitors, the number of pages each visitor looked at on average and the amount of time they spent looking at your site.

This means Hypertext Mark Up Language.  It is the language used to make up a web page and at one time it was the only way to put together a web page or web site.  If you want to see what it looks like just right click on a web page and go to ‘View source’.  You might be able to find a command such as <p> which means ‘Begin paragraph’.

Although HTML is important what does count is your decisions about what you want to say. You do not need to know HTML to produce interesting and useful information.

This stands for portable document format and you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and read these files. If your computer does not have this reader it probably won’t open the document. You can download a free Reader from Adobe at


Many people pay to have their websites appear if particular search words are put into the search box.  You will see these in Google as ‘Sponsored links’ at the top of the list or at the right hand side.  An ‘organic’ search happens when your website is found near the top of the list which follows the sponsored links.  This is most likely to happen when the words in a website are relevant to the search words used. There are many individuals and companies offering their services and making great claims about their ability to increase your website's visibility.

The name usually used for a device which is not an Apple iPad but has many of the same functions. You use it by touching the screen, rather than using a keyboard. They are great for games and videos. Not so good for producing large amount of text. That may be why some manufacturers are starting to sell tablets with detachable keyboards.

Web traffic
This is the way that people sometimes talk about the amount of use for their site. They may quantify their traffic by counting the number of visitors or pages that those visitors look at.