As the digital world continues to grow, so too does its language. Annabel Howarth breaks into smaller chunks, some of the digital fodder she’s been served so far.
When I moved from the Campaigns team into the wonderful world of digital, I was not prepared for the fact that I would have to learn a whole new language. To save you the embarrassment of feeling like a dinosaur- here’s a jargon-buster for 10 commonly used digi-terms you can impress your colleagues with:
CMS stands for Content Management System. This means a computer application that allows you to publish, edit, modify, organise, delete and maintain online content. For example, Macmillan uses a CMS to publish and edit webpages. We are in the process of migrating all our content from our old CMS, over to a shiny new one with heaps more functionality that we hope will improve user experience.
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of affecting how visible a website or webpage is in a search engine’s unpaid results. Literally this means how high up the Macmillan webpage features on Google’s search results page when a search term is entered. There are lots of ways you can optimise your webpage, such as keyword tagging, a variety of content (such as images or videos), and generally ensuring your content is unique and high quality. You could also look at updating it frequently, Google loves new content.
Here’s where I get geeky. So I thought a ‘meme’ was purely a modern phenomenon – funny pictures with captions that my teenage cousin sends me. However, despite the popularity of the modern meme, the term was actually first introduced by Richard Dawkins in 1976. A meme is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. Historically, a meme is a discrete ‘package of culture’, which would spread through word of mouth, like a joke, a parable or an expression of speech. Nowadays, memes are generally used to refer to pictures of cultural references with funny quotes over the top spread using social media. The best ones tend to involve cats…or Ryan Gosling.
Above the fold
This is the upper half of a webpage which is visible without you having to scroll down. Below the fold would be what you see after you scroll down. Hamilton wrote a great post about user behaviour concerning ‘the fold’.
Call to action (CTA)
Basically what it says on the tin. Emails and webpages have these, and they are the bit where we ask the user to do something, this could be to donate, sign a petition, download a report, or just simply follow a link for more information.
A really important one…this is about making sure everything on our website is accessible for everyone, including people with a range of disabilities. Accessibility demands that you think about the fact that not all people consume web content in the same way. People with sight difficulties for example, may be accessing our content using screen readers, and people who are colour blind may be unable to read a graphic that uses red writing on a green background. Accessibility is not only about a physical impairment, it also involves accommodating people whose first language isn’t English, or who have a lower reading ability. Here at Macmillan we’re big on accessibility, and we are always trying to get better.
Linked to accessibility, alt-text is something you add when you are uploading an image to a CMS and aids those using screen-readers. The text is read out by screen readers at the point at which someone without an accessibility need would see an image. Great alt-text allows the user to visualise what’s happening in an image, so they remain as engaged as if they could see it.
Macmillan’s Digital team have been in migration mania recently. We are currently migrating content from one CMS to another, updating our website, making it mobile optimised and amazing looking. If you want to learn more about our migration project, have a read of Becca’s blog.
A difficult one for me to explain, but essentially Agile is a method of project management or way of working, which focuses on short phases of work with frequent reassessment and redesign to deliver quality products. Here’s a useful guide of the 12 principles of Agile, or read Andy’s post about both Agile and ‘mobile first’ to get a clearer idea.
A small website that serves a very specific function, under the branding of a larger site/organisation. Our Coffee Morning microsite is just one example, but as an organisation we have over 15 microsites!
I hope at least a few of your digital conundrums have been solved from reading this post. But if there’s anything specific you want to ask us, tweet us @mac_digital! We’d love to hear from you!