The Web Design/Development Process – The 4 D’s

A common question we get when conversing with potential clients about their website project is “What is the process?” This post is designed to answer that question.

A typical website project consists of four major phases: Discover, Design, Develop, and Deploy. Following is a breakdown of what is included in each phase. Your project will include more specifics based on the goals of the project.


  • Gather information about the organization and industry as well as the goals and purpose of the website.
  • Understand design specifications including style, look and feel, and layout of the site.
  • Logo, artwork, and content is collected from client.
  • Website agreement is executed and deposit is collected.


  • Design the site in Photoshop per the design specifications, navigation, and content provided.
  • If necessary, revisions to the design are completed.
  • Client signs off on the design so development phase can begin.


  • Develop the site using standards compliant XHTML/CSS markup and integrate with working content management system so client can maintain website.
  • Build out and fill in content for approximately X pages.
  • Content to include text and 2-3 images per page of content (to be provided by client); contact form; home page slideshow; newsletter signup box; blog and calendar.
  • Integrate basic search engine optimization techniques within the code and structure of the site to maximize exposure on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. These include friendly URL’s, XML sitemap, regular sitemap, keywords in title/alt tags, table-less and clean markup, separation of design from content, proper navigation structure, etc.


  • Beta test and debug the site to confirm it is in perfect working condition before official launch.
  • Confirm that the site looks perfect and functions correctly in all major modern browsers including Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox 2+, Safari, & Opera.
  • Confirm the site is standards compliant for maximum usability and to protect the integrity of the design and functionality against future changes in browser rendering (more info)
  • Collect remaining balance from client.
  • Publish the website on the Internet.
  • Provide a free 1-year warranty on all design code created by Cristers Media. This means that if the site “breaks” (doesn’t look right or function correctly due to future browser changes), then we will fix it at no cost.