The 4 D's of Web Development

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The 4 D's of Web Development

Harry Bartlett

To ensure the highest quality website and effective project management, we implement a 4-phase development process:

Define, Design, Develop and Deploy

While these action items are meant to be comprehensive, we are committed to a collaborative approach in order to produce the most effective and customized website that meets our clients needs.

During this phase, we first define the project goals, then explore different strategies for achieving these goals and finally quantify the scope of the project. We often use a Project Profile to get a better understanding of the project goals, target audience needs and web site features.

To complete this phase we perform the following action items:

Project Site

At the start of every project, we launch a client Project Site. The project site is a secure website housing all project-related work, including the schedule and contact information. This website is a key project management tool and facilitates clear communication between all members of the development team.

Kick-off Meeting

We start the project by assembling the key project personnel. We review strategic documents such as the Project Profile, and other sites that have similar objectives.

Strategic Goals

To better understand strategic and branding issues, we focus on:

  • Defining the project goals as well as ‘the problem that needs to be solved’.
  • Defining the branding strategy including the most appropriate ‘look and feel’ the site should have.
  • Defining what types of information and features should be included to best meet the target audiences needs.
  • Explore other online resources that might be appropriate for the target audience.


Explore and define site features and functionality. Create a wire frame site map illustrating a birds eye view of the site and navigation structure.


Create a spreadsheet that defines the amount of pages, type of content, frequency of updates for each page etc.

Technical Requirements

Define technical requirements such as: website functionality, hosting, and the post launch website revision process.

Phase I Deliverables: Strategic/Creative Brief, Technical Requirements, Site Map

and Content Spreadsheet as required



During the design phase, we develop the ‘look & feel’ of the website, as well as finalize the sites content, and navigation.

To complete this phase we will perform the following action items:

Interface Design

Design the website ‘look & feel’ and navigation. We utilize information gathered during the Definition phase and then explore different approaches to communicating the core brand message. We then present various versions of the homepage, interior page and any other appropriate pages. After a version is chosen we further refine the designs until a final ‘look & feel’ is agreed upon.

Motion Graphics

Design animation sequences such as product demos, information graphics and marketing messages.


Write the copy, re-purpose existing copy and modify repurposed print copy for web usage as necessary.

Visual Content

In addition to the copy for the site, other content such as photographs, illustrations, maps, etc., must be collected, designed, and optimized for web use.

Database Content

Design the interface of pages that access database information such as search and display features.

Design Freeze

After final review and approval by the client, a design freeze goes into effect so that the coding of the site can begin.

Phase II Deliverables: Interface Designs [‘look & feel’], Navigation, Motion
Graphics Storyboards and Database Interface Designs



In this phase, we write the code, integrate the content and test the site. The sites soft launch is the milestone that marks the end of this phase.

To complete this phase we will perform the following action items:


Write the HTML, DHTML, Javascript, ASP and any other appropriate technologies.


Set up the appropriate Internet Service Provider [ISP] hosting package or integrate with an existing site’s hosting package. While we do not regularly host public web sites we have relationships with hosting companies and can recommend anappropriate ISP.

Quality Assurance

Testing is of critical importance with web sites, especially web applications. We test the functionality as well as proof read every page, making modifications as needed

Soft Launch

After the site is tested, we launch it to a public server for final review and additional testing.

Phase III Deliverables: Fully integrated Website



Before the public launch, we review the site design, navigation, copy, content and code. After the site is approved, we launch it on the public web server. After the public launch we can provide promotion and maintenance services that are often critical to the success of a web site.

Live Launch

After the final round of testing, we will post the site to the public server.

Search Engine Registration

We register the website with the major search engines, including optimizing the code (including key words, meta-tags, etc.), to gain the best search engine results. We can also research other appropriate industry specific website directories and register with these organizations as well.

Site Maintenance Training

Based on the clients needs, we can provide: content management training, web master training and custom web site maintenance processes.


A site is often only as valuable as the amount of people who use it. For this reason, we offer online promotion development and management, including: e-mail newsletter creation and list
management, as well as Search Engine Optimization [SEO] enhancements.


Analyzing site statistics, such as visitor traffic, is an invaluable tool for understanding how well the site is performing, especially with e-commerce sites. We can facilitate this process by recommending the best analysis application and train people to data-mine the most important information.

Site Enhancements

After the site is operating, we can provide regular modifications to the design, content and functionality to meet our clients evolving needs.


Phase IV Deliverables: Live Public Website and Search Engine registration. Site Maintenance Training and Documentation, Promotion, Statistics and Site Enhancements performed on an as needed basis.

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About the author

Harry started BI in 1998 and focuses on integrating best practices in branding, user experience design, Internet marketing, and technology to increase the value of an online presence.
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