What term do you use to refer to a company / organization that helps other companies / organizations in the following areas?

  • Working with the product owner / manager to formulate abstract ideas into concrete wireframes. In other words, working together to design the user experience.
  • Transform the wireframes into real comp in Photoshop.
  • Web front-end engineering i.e. HTML / CSS / JavaScript. By "engineering" I mean besides the pixel-perfect implementation (based on the comps), the company also concerns about the web standard and page performance.
  • Design and implement marketing-related assets e.g. newsletters and landing pages.

Some people call it a "web design" or "web consulting" or "web design and development" company. I think the last one better encapsulates the different services offered, but it sounds rather too long.


  • 1
    It depends on who you want to reach. Some times clients don't understand what "web development" is and all web-related things is plain "web design". Some times "web design" falls short and you need "Web Consulting" to encompass all your services, but then again the client has to be familiar with what "consulting" means. Personally I'd go with the latter. Dec 17 '11 at 14:05
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    @Naoise: That's a good insight. I feel that the term "design" can be a superset that includes "development," whereas "development" more often than not doesn't include the design stage.
    – moey
    Dec 17 '11 at 14:47
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    Interview your customers or people who you'd like to be your customers. Ask them what they think. Do card sorting. Use a term that resonates with your customers, not what you'd like it to be. May 8 '12 at 14:26
  • Web front-end engineering? There is no such thing.
    – insidesin
    Aug 3 '15 at 10:45
  • Web Solutions firm
  • Web Solutions company

Going this route will allow you to wrap design, development, etc... underneath the overall solutions umbrella. Delivery of solutions is all a customer really cares about. Concerning yourself with the nuances of each iteration within the life cycle may only complicate your message.

  • The problem is they are not delivering web solutions. And the negative response that this has could be very poor for business. Yes the client wants solutions, but the realisation that Acme Web Solutions does not provide that, having decided that a single supplier is probably the correct route, will lose business. Dec 21 '11 at 9:43
  • @SchroedingersCat I just read the OP's question again and it seems like they are delivering solutions. A solution to a customer is the meeting of expectations for a given problem. Dec 21 '11 at 13:38
  • no they are not. They are delivering web pages. They are not delivering the entire software solution, including backend processing. It clearly states that they do front-end engineering, not back-end. Dec 21 '11 at 13:47
  • @SchroedingersCat You do know that numerous businesses have nothing more then static content as their web page right? The back-end is something they don't care about or need. Dec 21 '11 at 14:09
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    Yes. But that is a site, not a solution. Dec 21 '11 at 14:11

I would disagree with the term "Solutions" if you only do front-end design and dev work. To me, solutions sounds like the whole package (backend, e-commerce, possible marketing outreach regarding the website, SEO, blah blah blah), and agree with David regarding "Studio" or "Lab" since those sound more like the creative and iterative aspects.

I would also throw "Interactive" and "Agency" into the mix, though be careful with "interactive" since that can relate to gaming, 3D, Flash or touchscreen or booth/installation design.

  • There in lies the irony. We somehow think that customer John Doe will immediately go, aha..._interactive_ means gaming/3D/Flash...I need to find someone more aligned with my needs. It doesn't work that way which is why the marketing gurus provide so much entertainment value with their naming schemes. Dec 21 '11 at 13:42
  • I don't think I understand your comment, Aaron. Do you think someone will see "interactive" and not bother to research the company? Will that word always be plagued? I'd assume any client worth having would be choosing to contact you on the basis of your existing website/portfolio and what the bullet points on your Services page says. So long as you list all of your competencies, I don't think the confusion is going to happen. If potential client X calls and asks, it takes a minute to say "Sorry, no, but we've worked with Company Y before for that kind of work; here is their information."
    – mnicole
    Dec 21 '11 at 17:31
  • That's my point. The effort and energy we put into titles is often for not. Dec 21 '11 at 17:40
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    Also, as you suggested in another comment, "studio" is not at all Web 2.0; the very definition of it is a place where creatives work (e.g. film studios that have been around for nearly a century). It's perfectly acceptable to use Studio here (SikuSiku Studios actually rolls off the tongue quite nicely) and across the gamut of all creative work. All of these 'marketing guru' terms are so ambiguous that it really won't matter. However, "Solutions" specifically means answers -- in this case it'd mean a full-service/one-stop shop -- and that is not what the OP's company does.
    – mnicole
    Dec 21 '11 at 17:55
  • @mandynicole: +1 for the great suggestion: SikuSiku Studios. By the way, would it be more correct to use a singular form i.e. "Studio"?
    – moey
    Dec 26 '11 at 10:43

I would go with Consulting or Studio. The other two do have more specific meanings to me - and so to others who know some of the terminology:

Web Design - you are a company of Graphic Designers, who will style and advise on colour schemes etc. Expertise is more in image creation than html creation.

Web Development - You will build a fully functional web site, complete with all of the code. Your core expertise is software developers, but you also have some graphic designers who will help with the front end work.

Neither of these fully reflects the breadth of what you do. Of course, you do need to consider your potential clientele, who may - particularly if they are from a specific business sector - respond differently to different terms. It is far more important that they get you than that I get you.

  • Not a fan of Studio. Feels very Web 2.0, hipsteresque and vague. It almost sounds like a product name as well; Web Studio Dec 21 '11 at 13:39
  • It would not be my preference, but it might work for some sectors. Dec 21 '11 at 13:49

Not sure this is a UX question, but an interactive agency or digital agency are sort of catch-all terms for the type of online marketing agencies/consultancies and web development studios you're describing.

There's also all the stupid boutique names: digital boutique, interactive boutique, boutique creative digital agency, digital creative boutique, etc. I guess they convey a more up-market and elite vibe. But it's a bit too marketing-y for me.

  • Thank you for the inputs. Those might work but, from my experience, the word "agency" has frequent connotation of being (unreasonably) overpriced.
    – moey
    Dec 26 '11 at 10:31
  • @SikuSikuCom: That depends on your target market I suppose. Since "digital agency" is a catch-all term for all creative agencies that focus on digital media, it's certainly going to include a lot of really expensive agencies. And since it's classified as a niche of marketing, that naturally also raises the perceived price tag. But that's just the standard terminology. And it can certainly work to your advantage if you're actively trying to seek out clients with larger budgets. Dec 27 '11 at 5:57

Studio, Lab, Consultancy.

I'd suggest looking at a few examples of other companies with a similar bent. I'll offer two examples:



Notice that what the two have in common is that they bracket their marketing messages, if not segments, into 3 big items. I'd suggest you do the same and use some of the terms you've mentioned creatively to position your company.

Good luck!

  • Well, all three words have very specific connotations, it's not as if you could use any of them randomly. Your business needs to be a studio, or a laboratory or a consultancy, and comply somehow with its meaning. Dec 21 '11 at 0:29
  • @NaoiseGolden Defining labels in that way is pedantic. I'm not suggesting the random use of the terms, but some poetic license is in order here. Do you think Willow Garage refers to themselves as a garage because they want to be associated with auto mechanics? A studio is a room where an artist works. A laboratory is a place where scientific research, teaching, and learning take place. I'd say the OP's description fits both of those reasonably well since the techniques are a blend of art and science. Dec 28 '11 at 6:53

Made By Elephant have their tag line of 'We Craft Interfaces'. There's quite a few others that try to use really simple language like 'We make websites' to remove all the jargon.

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