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How to Create a Successful Website, Chapter 2: Mapping Out UX

Web Design, User Experience, Information Architecture, Content

Have you ever visited a website that had great imagery and amazing animations, but was a pain in the ass to use? We see it all the time; design gets carried away and pretty soon visitors are more focused on the pictures than the purpose. And that’s a total UX fail. (For you website-jargon newbies, UX stands for “user experience”). Through our years of design on the web, we know that organization is key to creating successful websites where form and function meet. So at Makespace!, we start with a sitemap.

What is a sitemap?

Well, as you may have guessed, a sitemap is… drumroll please… a map of your site. And it serves two purposes: to avoid confusion and define goals. We begin the sitemap as a super exciting spreadsheet (has anyone ever said that before?), laying out the pages on your website with the intention of organizing your content into buckets that visitors can intuitively and easily understand to find what they need when they want it – AKA good UX. In order to create this organization, we must define the goals. With these goals in mind and the organization of content defined, a designer will know how to craft the path to conversion for the website visitor. From this design, the sitemap graduates to its own page on the newly developed website.

Why does a sitemap matter in web design?

We use a sitemap on every website we build. A sitemap makes it easy for search engine bots to get around your website, which in turn makes the search engines very happy. Read: GOOD FOR SEO. It also serves as a safeguard to ensure there’s no duplicate content (remember from our last post, duplicate content is bad for SEO).

Intrigued by the basics of good user experience? We’ll be back with more tips in a couple weeks. In the meantime, if you’d like more information about site organization and navigation, we’d be happy to give you some direction.

Better yet, we have a map.