Say what? Digital Agency terms you should know

Alex Canning, Project Coordinator
Posted on Oct 2, 2019

In the digital world, we tend to use a lot of words and acronyms that you might not have heard before. Check out this list for an overview of the terms and phrases that will help you stay informed throughout the duration of our project.

Business Development

As we begin collaborating together, you will work closely with our Business Development team. Our relationship will continue to build as we get to know you and your team, and understand the goals of your project. Here are some terms you’ll hear during the business development stage of the project:

Scope of Work (SOW): A SOW is a formal document that is used to describe the work that has been agreed upon between you and the agency that will be completed during a project. This document will describe timelines, milestones, and deliverables that will be provided upon the completion of the project.

Request For Proposal (RFP): An RFP is a document that is put together, and provided by the hiring company. This document contains guidelines for the proposed project and will be sent to vendors, inviting them to put together a bid on the project.

👉 Interested in getting your project started? Check out our RFP Template!

Proposal: A proposal is a document that our team puts together to outline the discussed goals and objectives of the project. It includes a recommended approach for execution, a list of defined deliverables, a timeline including milestones, a breakdown of estimated costs, and terms and conditions both the client and agency will abide by.

Project Management

Throughout your project, you’ll be working closely with a producer who will manage the project internally and act as the liaison between our team and yours. They are responsible for managing deliverables, budget, and timeline.

Take a look at our production process and the steps that your project will be going through. Here are some of the terms you might hear along the way:

Kickoff: A kickoff is the first meeting you’ll have when starting a new project. The meeting will be attended by the Imarc project team and any relevant stakeholders from your organization. During this meeting, we will review project goals, timeline, and deliverables.

Deliverable: A deliverable is a key item that marks certain milestones and documents what’s been done during each phase of the process. We often use the term deliverables to reference items that are needed to move the project forward, require client approval, and keep the project timeline on track. Examples of deliverables are wireframes, design comps, and prototypes.

Standup: Rather than scheduling a 30 to 60-minute meeting, our project team will often have a quick standup meeting, where we quickly gather in a project room to regroup on what’s happening. These are often internal meetings that we use to quickly assess a goal, a deliverable, and identify solutions.

Quality assurance (QA): QA is the process in which we conduct extensive testing on what we’ve designed and built. This ensures that the final product is functional across all devices and browsers from both a technical and user experience standpoint. We conduct this QA to ensure that you, our client, is beyond happy with your project.

Check out the newly redesigned device lab we use to ensure our projects are top of the line!

Strategy and User Experience

Our strategy and user experience team will work with you to explore and document your project requirements. This includes an assessment of the current site, audiences, content, and organization. We then work with you to define what’s needed to create a successful site. Here are a few of the terms you might hear when working with our strategy and user experience team:

Stakeholder: This is an individual who has a vital interest in the company, and will be impacted by the outcome of the project.

Sitemap: A sitemap highlights the relationship of a website’s information and organization of its content using a hierarchical diagram with annotations for content, content management system (CMS), and templates.

Wireframe: A wireframe is a visual guide that represents the layout and functionality of a web page. They include things like simple shapes, boxes, and content that are arranged to create an architecture for the web page, without getting into details like visuals and font. Get in the know, and learn what exactly wireframes are, and aren’t!

User Interface (UI): User interface (UI) is the way the user interacts with your website. Having a well-designed UI improves the site visitor’s overall experience with your site. A good UI allows site visitors to complete the task that they came to the website to do with ease and without confusion.

User Experience (UX): User experience (UX) is the overall experience and emotion that the site visitor has with the product, in this case, the website. By understanding the site visitors, what they need, and what they value, we can create a meaningful, relevant, and user-friendly experience for them.


Our creative team assures that your brand is authentically communicated as they bring the wireframe of your website to life. They design the look and feel of your new website with appealing visuals, intuitive navigation, and compelling content. Here are a few of the words you might hear when working with our creative team:

Inspiration board: An inspiration board is a curated collection of found images, colors, font pairings, and other visuals from a variety of sources that are reminiscent of the brand.

Mood board: A mood board is a higher level compared to an inspiration board. Key visual and design elements are skillfully laid out and presented as a composition to illustrate the brand’s visual design direction.

Design composition (design comp): A design comp is a static, comprehensive layout of your website. It brings together various design elements and presents a proposed design, highlighting positions of text and illustrations. The design comp serves as a draft of the final layout, and is used as a guide for further design changes and, ultimately, production.

Homepage: A homepage is the initial or main page of your website. It welcomes visitors to your site, and will tell your visitors who you are and what you do, and present a site navigation to continue to additional pages of your website.

Interiorpages: Also known as ‘child pages’, these are the pages that can be accessed from your site’s homepage.

Hero (banner): This is the large real estate at the top of a page, this area is often used to convey key messaging as an image alone or with text, fixed or in a slider with other images, a video or animation, or a variety of other designs.

Slider/Carousel: A slider or carousel is a sequence of rotating images featured within the hero, most commonly seen on the homepage of a site.

Cutup: This is the practice of converting a website from an image format (such as Photoshop or Illustrator) to a collection of HTML files, CSS styles, and images. It's essentially the practice of turning an image into a website prototype.


Once the design has been approved, our team of engineers will leverage the sitemap, wireframe, and design to develop the website. They ensure that everything is functioning properly, looks great, and is effectively communicating with the back-end content management system. Here are some words you might hear when working with our engineering team:

Backend developers: A backend developer manages how the server sends information to the visitor and handles any scripts that process background information or perform tasks. They are the ones that configure the CMS tools, and integrate it with other external systems.

Frontend developers: The frontend developers are the ones who design and develop the UI for the website. They handle the visual aspects of how the web page looks with things like page animations, as well as the interactive aspects for how the user responds to the page.

Development (dev) environment: The dev environment is a collection of procedures and tools for developing, testing, and debugging applications and programs. There are three stages:

The developer first tests the code for an application, then tests the application on the staging server, and then is approved as part of the server.

  • Development server: The development server is where the developer tests code for the application. It allows them to continue to work on it and test it locally before moving it to the next environment.
  • Staging server: The staging server is a nearly exact replica of a production server environment for software testing. Staging environments are made to test applications, builds, and updates to ensure quality under a production-like environment before deployment. This gives the developer an opportunity to really see how the application will behave once it’s live.
  • Production server: A production server is the final, external-facing environment that serves the website. The production environment can be seen as the real-time environment, where programs are run serving up the consumer-facing website.

Application Programming Interface (API): API is used to incorporate third-party tools, like existing apps or software, that help simplify the page build. The API itself is the communication protocol that sends data between the website and the third party tool.

Integrations: Integrations are the process of connecting third-party web applications to your website, most commonly through an API. Common third-party applications to integrate with your website are eCommerce, CRMs, marketing automation, Google applications, and event management software.

Software repository (repo): A software repo, is a storage location from which software packages may be retrieved and installed on a computer.

Dynamic content: Dynamic content is any web content that changes based on the behavior, preferences, and interests of the site visitor. With the use of third-party tools, your site can deliver personalized content based on past forms completed, prompting things like “Hello, Alex!”

Static content: Static content is always the same when delivered to a site visitor. The server does not modify the content, it simply delivers the same file to each site visitor.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): CSS is a style sheet language that is used to describe how HTML elements are displayed on screen, paper, or in other media. Creating a CSS saves time and work, as it can control the layout of multiple web pages all at once.

Commit: Making a commit refers to updating and saving data permanently to a database. Once an engineer makes a commit, the client can view it live.

JavaScript (JS): JS is the high-level, interpreted programming language of HTML and the web to build interactive, dynamic websites and pages that respond to every device.

Vue.js (Vue): Vue is a version of JS that is used in frontend development. It is a specialized set of tools that allows the developer to create the site functionality without starting from scratch.

Metadata: Metadata is a set of data that describes and provides additional information about data.

For example:

Meta tag: Meta tags are additional pieces of information on web pages or elements. A meta tag should contain a content description of the page that will be used by search engines to display a description of your page in their results.

Content Management System (CMS): The CMS is the “home” of your website. This platform powers your website, and is where you manage the content for your pages.

Responsive web design: Responsive web design is the approach of building and designing the website in a way that allows the site to be optimized for any device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. This approach will render web pages in a clean and concise design, aligning with Imarc standards. Imarc always designs and develops with mobile in mind.

Two-Factor Authentication/Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA): 2FA is a method of confirming a site visitor’s claimed identity. A site visitor is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more (multi-factor) pieces of evidence to an authentication tool.

Single-sign on (SSO): SSO is a system that allows a user to login with one set of credentials to access multiple applications by using other trusted sites to verify a users identity. This is helpful as it reduces login troubleshooting and no need to store passwords in the database.

Deployment: A website deployment is moving a website from a test environment to a live server. This is also referred to as “going live” in some communications.

Now, you’re in the know!

Now that you know these terms, we hope you feel confident in keeping up with our project conversations. While this list is pretty comprehensive, don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand something. We look forward to working with you!

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