Mass.gov Glossary

A collection of terms and phrases used throughout the Knowledge Base

# - C

404 error – A "Page Not Found" error one will see after clicking on a broken link.

Accessibility – How easily constituents with disabilities are able to access and consume information on a page using tools like screen readers.

Analytics – The metrics we use to indicate a page’s performance. These numbers can come from Google Analytics, SiteImprove, or other sources.

Analytics dashboard – When logged in to the CMS, everything you can see in the “Analytics” tab on a page.

All Content tab – A filterable list of every page on Mass.gov, published, unpublished, and drafted.

All Documents tab – A filterable list of every document in the Mass.gov database, published and unpublished.

Author – A role in the CMS, just below Editor in our hierarchy. Authors can create new content and edit existing content and save drafts, but cannot publish pages.

Author landing page – The first page an author sees after logging in to the CMS. You can get back to the Author Landing Page by clicking on the “edit.mass.gov” button in the top left corner of the page.

Autocomplete fields – Fields in the back end that are used to link to pages. These fields will automatically filter all published content that can fit in that slot, simply start typing the title of the page. If the page you need doesn’t show up, it might not be a content type that is allowed in that slot, or it might not be published.

Back end – Everything behind-the-scenes we can see, but constituents can’t, that we use to create and maintain Mass.gov content. Includes the Author Landing Page, the “All Content” tab, and all tabs used to evaluate and edit individual pages.

Beta – A test or work-in-progress version of a new product.

Broken link – A link pointing to a destination that is no longer live or published, resulting in a 404 error.

Browser – A software application used to access information on the internet.

Bug – An error causing the site to not work properly.

Child page – Any page linked on a Service or Topic page that is below them in our site hierarchy.

CMS – Stands for “Content Management System.” Basically, the software we use to create and maintain Mass.gov content. You have to log in to the CMS in order to create or edit content, and to see certain back end features, like the feedback module and the analytics tab.

Content – Anything posted on Mass.gov.

Content type – The various page templates available to use to make Mass.gov content. Each content type has a specific purpose.

Content strategy – The development, analysis, and management of new and existing content, completed in order to make individual pages work most effectively both on their own and in the context of the full Mass.gov site.

Content Quality – In the Analytics dashboard (Beta), a measure of a page’s health, evaluating the page’s reading level and the number of broken links.

D - G

Dashboard score – A measurement of how well an individual page is fulfilling its goal of serving constituents, found in the Analytics dashboard (Beta).

Document – An electronic item hosted on Mass.gov that provides information. Documents have two elements that make them work – the File and the Media Entity.

Draft – A page or document publication status that authors and editors can see, but the public can’t. May indicate that there is an older, published version of the page.

Drupal – The open-source web platform that we use to create Mass.gov.

Editor – A role in the CMS, just above Author. Editors can create new content and edit existing content, and have publishing privileges.

Embed – A feature or item that is viewable on a Mass.gov page, but hosted elsewhere. Examples include YouTube videos and Maps.

Feature Request Board – A platform authors can use to ask for new tools and features on Mass.gov. Feel free to see what has been requested.

Feedback – Comments left by constituents in the “Did you find what you were looking for on this webpage?” survey at the bottom of most Mass.gov pages. You can view feedback for all pages you are watching in the “Feedback” tab in the “Content” menu, or for an individual page in the “Feedback” tab on that page.

Findability – In the Analytics Dashboards (Beta), a measure of how easily constituents are able to find an individual page, and whether it currently fits into our designed page hierarchy.

File – In a document, the item uploaded to Mass.gov that users will access or download. This could be a PDF, a Microsoft Word Doc, or an Excel spreadsheet.

Footer – What a user sees at the bottom of a page. Contains site copyright information and links to high-level menu items.

Google Analytics – The analytics tool we use to measure interactions on Mass.gov. We use Google Analytics to measure things like pageviews, sessions, and audience behavior.

H - N

Header – What a user sees at the top of a page, usually includes either an image or a menu.

Homepage – What a user sees when they go to Mass.gov, often the start of their journey on the site.

HTML – A basic coding language used in part to create the look and feel of Mass.gov content.

Hyperlink – Also known as a “link,” a URL address within content that when clicked will take the user to another web page.

iFrame – A coding structure used to embed an item (i.e. 3rd party application, map, etc.) within a Mass.gov page but hosted elsewhere.

Incident, ServiceNow – A type of customer support ticket submitted through ServiceNow that indicates a user has an issue that affects their ability to access, edit, or publish Mass.gov content. These usually originate with a phone call to CommonHelp.

Inline link – A hyperlink that appears within a paragraph of text.

Jira – A project management platform the Mass Digital team uses to keep track of their work.

Legacy site – Refers to the Mass.gov website built on a platform called “Percussion” that was in existence before the Drupal site was launched in 2017. You can still find pages built on the Legacy site using the Wayback Machine on Archive.org.

Mass Digital – The team within the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security that actively works on Mass.gov. Also known as Massachusetts Digital Service.

Massachusetts Digital Service – The team within the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security that actively works on Mass.gov. Also known as Mass Digital.

Mayflower – The design system – colors, fonts, and other design elements – that makes Mass.gov look and feel the way it does.

Media entity – A digital container that holds document files. If you link directly to a media entity, rather than the file it contains, you can change the file inside without breaking links.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – Also known as Two-Factor Authentication (TFA). A security system we use to protect the Mass.gov CMS. Logging in to the site relies on two pieces of information to authenticate a user's credentials. This is something they know, like a password, and something they own, like a smartphone or computer.

Needs Attention Dashboard – On the Author Landing page, the item directly below Latest Release Notes detailing pages with high traffic and low dashboard scores tagged to that author’s organization.

Node ID – An internal number that Drupal assigns to each page in order to catalog them. You can search pages for a specific Node ID in the “All Content” tab.

O - R

Open Source – An open-source license is a type of license for computer software and other products that allows the source code, blueprint or design to be used, modified and/or shared under defined terms and conditions. Source: Wikipedia

Operating system – The background software that runs and supports your computer’s basic functionality.

Orphan Page – Any page on Mass.gov that is not properly linked within our site hierarchy. These pages can be very difficult for users to find.

Outcomes – In the Analytics Dashboards (Beta), a measure of how effectively an individual page is fulfilling the purpose for which its content type was designed.

Pageviews – The total number of times a web page was viewed during a specific period of time. If a user visits 1 page 3 times during 1 session, it would count as 3 pageviews.

Parent page – The page linked directly above a child page in our site hierarchy.

Percussion – The platform used to create and maintain Mass.gov content prior to 2017. This platform has been redirected to the new Drupal Mass.gov. You can still find pages built on the Legacy site using the Wayback Machine on Archive.org.

Permalink – A hyperlink that is intended to remain unchanged for an extended period of time.

Plain text – A document format that does not support any text styling.

Publication status – A page’s current state on the site: Published, Unpublished, or Draft.

Reading level – A measurement of the level of education one would need to reasonably understand the language used on a page. On Mass.gov, we aim for a reading level between 6th and 8th grade.

Release notes – A list of changes made to the Mass.gov code to improve the site, updated weekly. Viewable on the Author Landing Page and in the Knowledge Base.

Resolution – The size of an image or video, or the size of your screen. Most often measured in pixels.

Rich text – A document format that supports text styling, like bold or italic text, or inline links.

Rich text editor – A field that allows the user to create or input rich text.

S - T

Search Engine – An online tool constituents might use to search the Web for your content.

Search Engine Optimization – Editing or rethinking content so that it will place higher in search engine results, or so that a search engine will be able to find it more easily.

Session – A group of actions taken by one user during a specific period of time. During one session, a user may visit several different pages.

ServiceNow – A platform we use to manage customer support. You can make a request for support directly to Mass Digital using this catalog item.

Source code – The code that makes up the look, feel, and functionality of a website.

Temporary Unpublished Access Link – A link to an unpublished, in progress page that can be viewed by users who do not have a CMS login. Often used for reviewing purposes.

Ticket – A specific, individual task to be completed by the Mass Digital team. This could be an error that needs to be resolved, content that needs to be published, or a question that needs to be answered.

Trash – To remove an unpublished page or document from the CMS, so that authors and editors can no longer view or access it. In the CMS back end, a list of pages or documents that have recently been trashed.

Two-Factor Authentication (TFA) – Also known as Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). A security system we use to protect the Mass.gov CMS. Logging in to the site relies on two pieces of information to authenticate a users credentials. This is something they know, like a password, and something they own, like a smartphone or computer.

U - Z

Unique pageviews – The total number of times a web page was viewed by different people during a specific period of time. If a user visits 1 page 3 times during one session, it would count as 1 unique pageview.

Unpublish – To remove a page or document from the public-facing site. The page will be saved in the CMS until it is trashed, so authors and editors will be able to see or edit it if necessary, but the public will get an error if they try to visit the old link.

URL – A web address that points to a specific page.

URL redirect – Tells the CMS to point a URL address to another page. Typically used when a page has been trashed, deleted, or converted to a new content type.

User – In EOTSS communications, authors and editors who work in and contribute to Mass.gov.

User Satisfaction – In the Analytics Dashboards (Beta), a measure of whether or not constituents say they can find what they were looking for on an individual page. Calculated using responses to the “Did you find what you were looking for” survey at the bottom of each page.

Watch – Adding an individual page to the list of content on Mass.gov that you receive updates about.

WebEx – The online meeting software Mass Digital uses to host remote working sessions with colleagues and users.

Webinar – A seminar, presentation, or meeting hosted online, rather than in-person. This is also known as a WebEx.

WYSIWYG – An editing system that shows you what your text will look like in the text editor, without having to publish the page. Stands for “What you see is what you get.”