General Terminology

If you are new to web development, it is highly recommended you review this general terminology. Please refer back to it whenever necessary.

Accessibility: Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

Breadcrumbs: Navigation that shows the path to your location i.e. Home > Departments > Academic Departments.

Child Page: See: Parent/Child Page.

CMS: (Content Management System) WordPress is a CMS. It takes a database of content and allows users to define where and how it is displayed. This is typically accomplished with a graphic user interface.

CSS: (Cascading Style Sheets) This is code that styles content, not content itself. For instance whether text is centered or justified, or the size of an element. More information about CSS such as what you can change, and how to change it, is found later in this guide.

Dashboard: The black, grey, and white screen with all of your WordPress tools and options to the far left. This is where you start when you log in. (see “Dashboard” section for more details)

Element: An individual component of a web page. Headings, paragraphs, images, are all elements.

Eyebrow Menu: The menu at the very top of the our webpages, above the header, which includes links to the 4 campuses, UIC, & the UIC Directory  (See “Parts of a Page” section for a visual example)

Feed/RSS: (Really Simple Syndication) This is a published source of content that a user can subscribe to. For instance the news articles from UIC News that appear on the homepage arrive via RSS. This content displayed is referred to as the feed. Many sites and services offer RSS feeds that you can display on your pages. These update as new items are published so they do not need to be updated manually. Our RSS plugin is FEEDZY.

Footer: Everything below the content area, the dark area with logo and menus. We do not allow edits to the footer. This helps maintain brand consistency and provides useful navigation options.

Header: Everything from the main navigation to the top of the page, including the College of Medicine (COM) logo. With the exception of the menu bar, we do not allow edits to the header. This helps us maintain brand consistency. See the “Known Issues” section for a note about logos.

Heading: A title to begin a page or section. The size is indicated by a number i.e. h1-h6. H1 being the main (& largest) heading.

HTML: (Hyper Text Markup Language) This is code that makes up the webpage. It is organized into tags which are shown as <> for opening and </> for closing. Content will rest between an opening and closing tag. You are not required to use HTML to build webpages in our CMS, however, knowing what it is may help you understand what is happening.

Media Library: Where WordPress stores files to be used in pages. Images and documents can be found here. We ask that you do not upload video to the server, but rather use a service such as Vimeo or Youtube, and embed the video on your page. There are built in elements to embed video from external services. We use a plugin called WP Media Folder which allows us to organize files into folders.

Mobile Responsive/Responsive: Responsiveness refers to a web page’s ability to adjust the way it displays based on the screen size it’s being viewed on. Typically if a screen is not wide enough to display items side by side, a responsive site will stack them vertically. The COM CMS is mobile responsive.

Page: A standard web page.

Parent/Child Page: In the context of pages, this is the hierarchical parent of the page you are working with. Child pages may also be referred to as sub pages.

Permalink: The exact URL of your page. You can edit the portion that identified the page you are working on, but not the parent. For example in, you can only change comweb.

Plugin: A plugin adds functionality to WordPress. For example we use the Connections plugin for our staff directory. The Fusion Builder is a plugin that is bundled with the Avada theme.

Post: WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform and still retains that ability. A post is more like an article than a page. The difference is that posts can be assigned tags and categories, these can be used to sort and filter which posts to display on a page. An example would be writing all news articles as posts, and then being able to display only articles tagged “Research” on a given page, and “Curriculum Renewal” on another.

RSS: See: Feeds/RSS

SEO: (Search Engine Optimization) This refers strategies that make your site more likely to come up as a top search result.

Shortcode: Shortcodes are a feature of Wordrpress that allows you to do complex things with a simple code. They are used by enclosing the code in square brackets [ ]. For example, Using the Fusion Builder Element Generator in the WYSIWYG simply creates a shortcode based on what you input into the form fields. There are also shortcodes for other plugins in the CMS such as Connections and Feezy RSS (see “Plugins” section for more details)

Site: A collection of web pages under a single domain. We have 4 sites. Hub, Chicago, Peoria, and Rockford. While they appear as one seamless entity from the front end, they are in fact separate. They have their own files, and are updated separately. This is particularly important to understand the operations of certain plugins such as Connections and Calendars, and accessing pages and posts. Site can also refer to a collection of pages that comprise a department’s web presence, for example, the Department of Anesthesiology site. 

Slider: A slider is a rotating banner of content. The term may be familiar to you as banner, or slideshow. We have 3 slider plugins built in to our site from the relatively simple Fusion Slider, to the incredibly complex Layer Slider.

Sub Page: See: Parent/Child Page

Template: Template can mean two things.

  1. In the context of WordPress, a template defines a part of a page. Header, Sidebar, Footer, Content are all examples of templates. There is also a selectable template in the page editor that allows you to overwrite these with new designs. See more on Templates under the “Basics of Pages” section
  2. In the context of the Fusion Builder, a template is a saved page that can be reused. It includes both layout, and content.

Theme: A theme is a collection of front end styling that determines how your pages are presented/ the overall “Look and feel” of the website. This is completely independent of the content. Some themes come bundled with plugins that the theme is built to be compatible with. Our theme is Avada.

Widgets: Are configurable chunks of content typically used in, but not restricted to, sidebars and footers. There are a number of widgets you can use to add functionality to your site, or display content from others such as social media sites. Widget Sections are a single or collection of saved, configured widgets that you can reuse.

WYSIWYG: (What You See Is What You Get) This refers to a visual editor used to enable users to create web pages without using code. It features text features similar to Microsoft Word as well as the ability to insert media and links. Our environment also has a tool for inserting any Fusion Builder element(discussed below).