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What do you call this thing we do?

By Jason Grigsby

Published on October 31st, 2023


We’ve been trying to better define what Cloud Four does, and we need your help.

We’ve been looking at the types of projects we’ve done in the past to determine if they might be an area worth focusing on. Some of these projects are easy to define: design systems, ecommerce, progressive web apps, etc.

But, there is one type of project that we seem to excel at, but that we don’t know what to call it. And because we don’t know what to call it, we don’t know if there are enough organizations that need this service, and how we might find them.

So I thought I might describe these types of projects and see what you would call them.

For these projects, the organizations have an existing legacy application that they need to convert into a responsive web application.

In a couple of cases, they needed to move an existing desktop Java application to move to the web. In another case, it was an older, fixed-width web application with a complex UI that wasn’t obvious how, or if, it would work on small screens.

In all cases, there were existing user bases and internal developers maintaining the application. The developers needed help both designing and building a foundation for a future web version of the application, but either didn’t have the expertise or the time. Our job was creating that new design and building the foundation they needed for the new, web-based version of the application.

What is this type of work called? It’s akin to product design and development, but people usually reserve those descriptions for new products, not existing apps. Plus, we’re not in the business of product definition or market fit analysis. Internally, we started calling them responsive retrofits, but I suspect we’re the only ones who use that phrase.

Perhaps someone reading this will recognize this type of work and know exactly what it is called. Or maybe we can collectively coin a new name for it.

What do you think? What would you call it?

Bonus points: Do you think there are a lot of organizations out there that need this service? Any ideas on how we would find them?


Adam DuVander said:

It sounds similar to what I’ve seen described as “replatforming.” You take an older technology and move it to something newer.

Is what you do a speciality within replatforming? Probably. But that might be an umbrella buzzword to help you find the right clients with this set of problems.

Michelle said:

Systems Change Management

Nina said:

It sounds like Application Design and Development. In my team, there are several people who do that, with titles like “full stack developer” or “web systems administrator”.

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Red Feet said:

We’re currently exactly doing that! Analyze a current landscape of tens of legacy web and desktop apps and paper processes. Redefine, redesign and rebuild a fresh new portal & micro services platform with fluid design system and PWA with off line support, all with UX’/UI that responds in ms rather than seconds. We call it digital transformation. But we could call it revolutionize, modernize, upgrade, rethink, redo, total-web-makeover or renovation project..

Dave Rupert said:

I always liked the term “Rehabbing”. It’s almost like “SRE” work; but specifically with architecture, tech choices, responsive strategy, performance, UX etc on existing products rather than net new products/features. Needs some word-smithing but I agree it’d be nice if there was a term for it.

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