QA Graphics provides design services for a variety of different industries. We know it can be confusing, so we’ve put together a glossary that helps explain some common terms.
If you have questions or can think of anything else that would be helpful to include in this glossary, just let us know.
ActionScript: An object-oriented language originally developed by Macromedia Inc. (Now owned by Adobe Systems).
Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash): A multimedia platform used to add animation, video and interactivity to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements, games and Flash animations for broadcast. More recently, it has been positioned as a tool for “rich internet applications” (RIAs).
Amazon Appstore: A specific term that refers to Amazon’s online store for purchasing and downloading software applications and mobile apps for the company’s Kindle line of e-book readers as well as other Android-powered devices.
Android: Linux-based operating system for mobile devices developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google.
Application program interface (API): A set of protocols used when building software for a specific operating system. This allows programmers to use predefined functions instead of writing them from scratch.
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black): The color model used in color print.
Configurator: A term QA Graphics commonly uses when referring to the interactive applications they develop to demonstrate a variety of product or accessory options and illustrate the many ways in which they can be configured.
Content management system (CMS): A computer system that allows publishing, editing, and modifying content as well as site maintenance from a central page. For example, QA Graphics can provide interactive applications with a CMS that allows clients to update information, change content, modify images, etc.
Desktop application: An application that runs stand-alone on a desktop or laptop computer. Contrast with "Web-based application," which requires the web browser to run.
Digital menu board: Digital signage solution used to display menus, nutritional information, advertisements, etc. in place of a static print menu board.
Digital signage: An electronic display of content such as advertising, company information, menus, etc.
Donor dashboard: A term QA Graphics uses to describe interactive applications that they create to recognize donors, volunteers and others in a creative way while providing information to attract new donors.
Flash application: An interactive application based on Adobe’s Flash technology. Adobe Flash is software used to create interactive experiences that present consistently across desktops and devices.
Flash Player Mobile: Optimized Flash Player plugin for mobile devices. Adobe stopped development of the Flash Player Mobile plugin in November 2011.
Flash Player: Software for viewing animations and movies using computer programs such as a web browser. Flash Player is a widely distributed application player created by Macromedia and now developed and distributed by Adobe after its acquisition.
Google Play: A digital content service from Google which includes an online store for music, movies, books, and Android apps and games, as well as a cloud media player.
Graphical user interface (GUI): Series of graphical screens.
HTML5: The fifth revision of HyperText Markup Language, the core language for presenting content on the web. HTML5 includes new syntax such as tags for video that is responsive and will also play in many browsers without requiring end users to install proprietary plug-ins.
Image resolution: The number of dots, or pixels, used to display an image. Higher resolutions mean more pixels are used to create the image, resulting in a crisper, cleaner image.
iOS (originally stood for iPhone Operating System): Apple Inc.’s mobile operating system. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV.
Native mobile apps: Mobile device software that is stored in the device’s memory and runs locally. Native apps are specifically developed with the intention of publishing in the App Store, Google Play (formally known as the Android Market), Amazon Appstore.
Nutritional kiosk: A term QA Graphics uses to describe their interactive applications used to display nutritional information, allergen information and more via kiosks, touchscreens and mobile devices.
Rendering: The process of generating a 2D or 3D image from a model.
RGB (Red, Green, and Blue): The color model used for representing colors used on a computer or screen display.
Rich internet application (RIA): An engaging experience that can be deployed across browsers, mobile devices, desktops and touchscreens or kiosks.
The App Store: A digital application distribution platform for iOS developed and maintained by Apple, Inc. The service allows users to browse and download applications from the iTunes Store for use on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Web application: An application that is accessed via a web browser over the internet and runs on a web server.
Windows Mobile: A mobile operating system developed by Microsoft for use in smartphones and mobile devices.
Wire frame: A basic layout without design elements. It is generally used as a means to plan where navigation and content will sit on an application.
BAS Image Module: A module licensed by QA Graphics which loads onto Tridium, Inc.’s Niagara AX JACE and Supervisor devices to provide more realistic graphics when building system graphics for the Niagara AX platform.
Baseline data: Basic information gathered before a program begins. It is used later to provide a comparison for assessing program impact. For example, baseline data can be uploaded to an energy dashboard to compare building performance to an energy model, energy portfolio, Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey or other building goals.
Building automation system (BAS): A system that optimizes the performance of HVAC equipment and alarm systems.
Building comparison: Using building performance feedback to compare resources savings among different campuses, buildings or floors.
Building render: Creating images or animations showing the attributes of a proposed building design.
Cloud: A network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or personal computer.
Daylighting: The practice of using natural sunlight to illuminate the interior of a building. Daylighting reduces the load on conventional lighting systems during the day.
Economizer: Used on air units to regulate and optimize the amount of outdoor air brought into a building for cooling and ventilation.
Energy dashboard: Provides technical information with gauges, graphs, and live display values that provide a building operator with a summary of the important energy metrics within their facility.
Energy education dashboard: Focuses more on education about a building’s performance and sustainable features than the technical information that operation management would utilize.
Energy management system: A control system capable of monitoring environmental and system loads and adjusting HVAC operations accordingly in order to conserve energy while maintaining comfort.
Energy Star: Joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Provides an innovative energy performance rating system. Learn more.
Free cooling: An economical method of using low external air temperatures to assist in chilling water, which can then be used for industrial processes or air conditioning systems in server rooms.
Gateway device: A fully programmable controller that can communicate with any BAS and acts as another device node using the BACnet IP, BACnet MS/TP, or Lon communication protocols. This is used to gather building performance information for display on QA Graphics’ Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard.
Geothermal: A system that takes advantage of the constant temperature of the Earth to heat or cool a building.
Graphic domestic sourcing: Hiring an outside company, like QA Graphics, to handle your graphic design so you can focus on other tasks.
Green building certification: An achievement that verifies a building meets a specific set of qualifications to claim it is efficient and sustainable.
Green Globes: A building environmental design and management tool that is operated by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). Learn more.
Green roof: Consists of a series of waterproofing and protection layers covered by a growing medium that is suitable for growing drought-tolerant plants, such as succulents or prairie plants.
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning): The technology of indoor and automotive environmental comfort. HVAC is important in the design of medium to large industrial and office buildings.
Historical building data: Building information that has occurred previously. Can be displayed in hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly increments.
Innovation in Design Credit: LEED credits that are awarded for comprehensive strategies which demonstrate quantifiable environmental benefits not specifically addressed by the U.S. Green Building Council LEED building rating system.
Instantaneous demand: The power that something is using at any one moment in time.
Key performance indicators (KPI): KPIs are long-term, measurable indicators that help organizations understand how well they are performing in relation to their strategic goals and objectives.
Kilowatt-hour (kWh): A kilowatt-hour is the unit of energy equal to 1,000 watt hours or 3.6 megajoules. The kilowatt-hour is most commonly known as a billing unit for energy delivered to consumers by electric utility companies.
kW Usage: 1000 Watts. kW refer to how powerful a device is, how fast it will use electricity.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): Created by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) as an internationally-recognized green building standard and certification to provide a guide for sustainable construction.
LEED Checklist: Provides an in-depth explanation of the points earned by a particular building project under the U.S. Green Building Council LEED building rating system.
Lighting sensors: Sensors that automatically control the brightness of a screen, especially in low-light or high-light situations. They can detect how much light is in a room and raise or lower the brightness to a more comfortable level for the user.
MEP: Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.
Occupancy sensors: Devices that are found in many lighting systems. The sensor is capable of identifying when a particular space within a building is occupied and adjusts the lighting, heating and cooling and other appliances accordingly.
Occupant awareness: Engaging building occupants with education to inform and encourage participation in an organization’s sustainable initiatives.
Photovoltaic: A method of converting solar energy into electricity using semiconductors.
Preconfigured hardware: QA Graphics offers integrated touchscreens and walk-up kiosks configured to work in conjunction with their design solutions.
Rainwater harvesting: Accumulating and storing of rainwater for reuse.
Real time building data: Information that is delivered immediately after collection. For example, Version 3.0 of the Data Manager for QA Graphics’ Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard can gather real-time data from multiple buildings and immediately display the building performance feedback anywhere, anytime via the web, mobile devices and touchscreens or kiosks onsite.
Solar hot air: Solar energy from the sun is used to heat a specially designed panel that is typically placed on the roof or south facing side of a building or home for maximum sun exposure. Reduces the amount of energy needed to heat a space.
Solar hot water: Solar energy from the sun is used to heat a fluid that flows through a series of pipes. Solar hot water systems are used to reduce the amount of energy, gas or electricity that is used to heat the water.
Sub-meter: Individual meter of utilities in one building.
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): Non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction. Developers of the LEED building rating system. Learn more.
Wind turbine: At a high enough speed, wind can be used to spin the blades of a wind turbine, to generate electricity.