Skip to Main Content

Tech Teach

A guide designed to improve basic technology literacy.

Tech Terms

Are you new to tech and feel like sometimes you can’t even follow what people are talking about? If so, here are some jargon-free, plain-English definitions of the fundamental terms you need to know to make your way in tech.

Social Media Related Terms

Engagement - How much people use and interact with social media (Example: liking posts on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, viewing pins on Pinterest).

Embedding - Putting social media content on a web page (Example: including a YouTube video in a blog post).

Impressions - How many times a piece of social media content is seen.

Mention - Referring to a person or account on social media (Example @mention on Twitter, +mention on Google+).

Reach - How many people see social media content.

Online Marketing Related Terms

Bounce Rate - Percentage of website visitors who leave a website quickly without really looking at it.

KeywordWord or phrases used to search for online content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Making a website or web page rank high in online search results.

TrafficAmount of people who visit a website.

Graphic Design Related Terms

Color ValueWay to define colors (Example: hexadecimal color code (#000000), color name (black), RGB code (0, 0, 0)).

RasterImage made of pixels so it can be styled more but loses quality when made bigger (Example: photo).

ResolutionHow many pixels can be shown on a device’s display with higher resolution meaning more information can be shown (Example: 1334 by 750 pixel resolution of iPhone 6).

User Experience Related Terms

SitemapOutline, or map, of the pages needed for a website.

Typography Related Terms

FontTypeface at a certain size and weight (Example: 14pt bold Arial).

SerifSmall line added to letters of “serif” font families that aren’t a characteristic san serif font families (Example of serif font: Times Roman).

HTML Related Terms

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) - Coding language used to put content on a web page and give it structure.

Meta Data Elements that give the browser more information about the whole web page (Example: title, link, meta).

Backend Development Related Terms

BugMistake or unwanted piece of code that keeps a website or program from working like it should.

Software - Program or set of instructions that tells a computer, phone, or tablet what to do and includes applications and system software like operating systems, drivers, and utilities

Text EditorSoftware used to write plain text (with no formatting) that’s used for coding and programming (Example: SublimeText, TextEdit, TextWrangler, Notepad++).

Web ServerComputer that can be accessed through the internet or software that responds to server requests.

Systems Related Terms

Caching - When a web browser stores assets, like images and styles, so that the website will load faster on the next visit from the same user.

Cloud ComputingStoring and accessing information and services via the Internet.

FirewallSystem to protect a trusted computer network, like a home network, from security risks from an external one, like the Internet.

RouterDevice used to connect personal computers to the Internet via a network like cable or DSL.

Uptime & Downtime - How long a website, computer, or system has been working (uptime) or not working (downtime).

Virtual Machine (VM)Software that makes it possible to use one computer operating system on a computer running another system (Example: running Windows 8 on a MacBook Pro).

Virtual Private Network (VPN)Network that allows the Internet to be used like it was connected to a private network (instead of a public one) and so can improve security.

Data Related Terms

Big DataMassively large sets of digital information.

DatabaseCollection of electronic information, aka data.

Mobile Related Terms

Hybrid AppApplication that will work on different platforms and is a combination of a native app and a web app.

Native AppApplication that’s been made specifically for a certain device platform (Example: Mail for iOS; Ingress for Android).

ResponsiveWebsite that adapts gracefully to different-sized devices like phones, tablets, wearable devices, etc.

Web AppWebsite that looks and feels like an app.