What is a website architect

Paul’s brief definition of the profession of website architect:

A web architect masterminds the creation of a website’s strategy, information structure, technology, design and usability.

Paul’s motto has been:  A web architect sees the world through two lenses: information that needs structure, and structures that need form. It’s not enough for sites to function well; as I see it, they need to function beautifully.

A web architect will hire expert craftsmen such as programmers, designers, writers and marketers to help produce the final web product.

PDG has been fortunate to partner with many great experts in various fields, from programmers to advertising agencies to photographers.

Review of 5 Website Wireframe Tools

I recently decided to review our website wireframing/prototyping techniques to see where we could be more efficient in getting from concept to code. We currently use Dreamweaver’s Site tool and/or Fireworks or Illustrator for mockups.

The follow survey highlights some new wireframing and mockup tools. My main criteria was having the tool export the wireframe to html so that we could upload to our own servers for testing and client review.



Their description: Drag and drop UI elements to the page, then rearrange and resize. Go from idea to mockup in minutes. Link multiple mockups together and preview them interactively to get a feel for the flow of your application. Share a link and your clients and teammates can edit with you in real time. No more emailing images back and forth.

Price: $9/month Basic to $99/month Expert plans.

Cons: does not export to actual html for a true click-through web schematic.



Their description: A GUI Design Software for clickable Wireframes. Fast and easy like Rapid Paper Prototyping, but completely web-based and with many more features. Advantages: Clickable Wireframes; Fast and easy Prototyping; Easy Remote Usability Testing; No Software Installation. Products & Features: Interface Prototyping; Prototype Reviewer; Remote Usability Tests; Realtime Collaboration.

Price: $9/month Personal to $85/month Unlimited plans.

Pros: has versioning. Online review tools with user commenting. Usability testing built in!

Cons: does not export to actual html to load a click-through web schematic to your own server or the client’s.



Their description: An Informal Tool For Early Stage Web Site and UI Design.

Price:  free

Pros: standalone program for desktop PCs. Exports as HTML.

Cons: does not look to be current (last mod date 2008). Uses our own handwriting to make the mockups.



Their description: The Pencil Project’s unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use. Top features:  * Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping * Multi-page document with background page * Inter-page linkings! * On-screen text editing with rich-text supports  * Exporting to HTML, PNG, Openoffice.org document, Word document and PDF. * Undo/redo supports * Installing user-defined stencils and templates * Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating… * Cross-platforms * Adding external objects * Personal Collection * Clipart Browser * Object snapping * Sketchy Stencil

Price:  free

Pros: Firefox plugin and standalone program (via XULRunner, but not for Mac). Sketchy-like look and feel.  Exports site as HTML.

Cons: Unintuitive initial screens; hyperlink fields have no obvious URL field until a new “page” is created within the document. No site-wide export as HTML without arcane steps to install a so-called “template” of some kind. Not ready for prime time.

Wireframe Sketcher


Their description: WireframeSketcher is a software tool that helps you quickly create wireframes, mockups and prototypes for desktop, web and mobile applications. It comes both as a plugin for your Eclipse-based IDE and a standalone application. * Create wireframes and mockups * Get quality feedback fast * Build better software * All using your favorite Eclipse IDE * 45+ built-in UI controls * rough, unfinished, hand-drawn look for your mockups

Price: Trial (watermark on exports), $75 one-time buy.

Pros: standalone program and plug-in for many IDEs. Very cool sketch look. Nice toolset.

Cons: No HTML export. Complicated to begin; following the tutorial is essential.

How to speed up your website

We discovered a useful social media website called Store Crowd


From their description: StoreCrowd is a Social Engine for sharing your favorite deals. Built lovingly in Melbourne, Australia we are trying to change the way people share great bargains with friends.

See what steps they took to minimize page load time… advanced strategies like:

Speed up the Application / Server

  • Use Fragment Caching on elements that change less frequently
  • Memcache & CacheMoney
  • MYSQL Indexes & Query Optimization
  • Dedicated Database Servers

Reduce Number of Queries

  • Combine Javascript & CSS into a single file & minimize
  • Use CSS Sprites

Reduce the load time elements

  • Make sure Gzip is Enabled on your Server
  • Move 3rd party scripts to the bottom of the page
  • Move all static content to a CDN
  • Compress all images with Smusher


If Libya shut off the internet, why does bit.ly still work?

Twitter users, fyi: the Libyan government has “shut off” the internet in their country. All websites hosted there are inaccessible. However, domain names like http://bit.ly (a URL shortening service used for Twitter) still function because they are not hosted inside the country. Hopefully some citizens of the country can use international dial-up services to access the global internet and keep getting the word out.

Why HTML 5 is not a Flash Killer

Why HTML 5 is not a Flash Killer… or, said another way, why Flash is not going to die.

If you’ve been wondering if Adobe’s multimedia format Flash is in jeopardy (more importantly, whether you should still use it on your website) because of the lack of support from Apple (on the iPhone and iPad), read this good Wired article.

HTML 5’s video embed capability is not ready to replace the Flash swf format. More reading here.