Start of Prototype Building

Last week I started building two different prototypes based upon the wire frame models that were discussed in the previous post. The prototypes are based upon versions A and D. My goal is to have all of the top level pages created for each prototype by the end of the week because next week I will be on vacation.

On the Guidelines web page it was indicated that the website was going to be built using XHTML 1.0 Transitional; However, the new website will be built using the HTML 5 standard and CSS 2.1. The two main reasons for building the new website using HTML 5 is that it is backward compatible and I do not want to rebuild the website again in a few months. Backward compatibility is the most important reason to start using HTML 5 today instead of waiting around for all people to update their browsers. Not all features are available in every browser, but this is nothing new since they have existed.

According to the W3C Working draft HTML5 differences from HTML4

“HTML5 is defined in a way that it is backwards compatible with the way user agents handle deployed content. To keep the authoring language relatively simple for authors several elements and attributes are not included as outlined in the other sections of this document, such as presentational elements that are better dealt with using CSS.”

In other words HTML tags used in previous versions will still work as web browsers will get updated. For example, in HTML 5.0 a new form input tag has been created for email, which is <input type=”emal”>. If a web browser is not able to use these tag it will default back to using <input type=”text”> instead.

I am happy with the progress that has been made so far and will continue to move forward in working more on the prototypes. This week has been dedicated to creating the prototypes because of my vacation next week. Along with continuing this work, I still need to show and test out the wire frame models with more people. If you are a SUNY Potsdam Faculty member or Student and would like to help out please get in touch with me at patterpj at

After completing the prototypes they will be tested just like every other part of this project. If you have not noticed already doing something and then getting feedback is the core behind designing and building a successful website that allows people to find the information they need. If you have to teach or show someone how to use your website you have failed.

About a month ago, I received some information in the mail regarding the Empire Plan. If you are not familiar with the Empire Plan it is the New York State Health Insurance program for state workers. In the information that was sent to every person that has the New York State Health insurance was a flier that showed people how to use the website. When I looked at the flier, I just had to shake by head and laugh out loud. It made me thing of several things in just a few seconds. Creating this flier was a waste of my money. Was the state of New York trying to find work for a Graphic Designer, so they could made an argument from cutting a position. Why did they not do usability testing to understand how people use the website. The list goes on and on.

In conclusion if you use a process that involves testing along the way will help you to create a website that people can actually use to get things accomplished. You will not get everything right the first time around, but by using a this process will help yo eliminate several problems that would occur if you did not test things out along the way.


W3C (2011, May). HTML5 differences from HTML4. Retrieved from