By site map I mean a graphical representation of the way you expect the
site to be organized in terms of navigation. This is the time that some
basic decisions must be made regarding the predominant level of organization.
Essentially you have to decide how the information will be best organized
from the visitor's perspective. The site map will therefore act as a refinement
of the rationale in focussing the goals of the web site.
All of the elements of a robust web site can exist under different types
of organizational models, with appropriate links between all relevant
documents, but the navigation of these links can be greatly aided by the
appropriate choice of a model. Suitability of the model has to be gauged
against the intent of the web site
This is probably most easily illustrated with some examples related
to the Dave's Rose Emporium Case Study which was introduced above.
Case Study Continued - Dave's Site Map
Dave has some basic choices to make, with the emphasis of the pages
based on either:
- Special time times of the year with products, services and expertise
- Products and services with seasonal considerations and expertise
- Subject expertise with a tie in to products, services, and possible
If Dave were trying to develop an online community and generate revenues
based on advertising and referrals to online sellers I would recommend
option 3, as this model is most likely to bring repeat visitors and
facilitates a community based exchange of ideas. The first two options,
however, are more representative of the type of business Dave is in:
supporting the sales of products and services in his neighbourhood or
Option 1 has the advantage of presenting timely information immediately,
and supports quick decisions on products. The disadvantage lies in reduced
access to information about services, and in the fact that the main
pages will need to be updated frequently to reflect seasonal changes.
Option 2 has the advantage of more readily showcasing services, but
has the disadvantage of assuming the user knows what type of service
or product they're looking for.
Dave decides that he would rather concentrate on his craft than on
updating seasonal changes to his pages. After all, he is not putting
up a web page to allow people to order a half-dozen roses at bargain
basement prices, those types of buyers tend to just show up at the store.
Rather, Dave wants to showcase his premium services such as wedding
arrangements and bridal bouquets, and special party services. Certainly
he will list all of the basic in-store products too, and he can list
specials and holiday items, but he won't organize the web site around
Here's what Dave's Site Map might look like (although the original
was probably scribbled on the back of a napkin during a trip out for
coffee late last night):