This paper describes a research framework which led to the development of industry-specific reference models for mass information systems (mass IS). As one of the primary means of standardized communication, these models provide an invaluable opportunity to strengthen the ties between academic research and industry practice. By avoiding structural inconsistencies and mistakes, companies are able to improve the quality of their systems, usually at low costs compared to acquiring the required know-how from external commercial organizations. Researchers, on the other hand, are able to test hypotheses about the success factors of mass IS in different industries. For this reason the extended World Wide Web Design Technique (eW3DT) was developed and - in cooperation with renowned Austrian and German companies—applied to a number of Web- based prototypes.