This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution.  We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.

What.

An exercise to plot out a comprehensive structure of a website, rending how each page relates to one another.

Why.

To plan and organize contents of a new website before the wireframing stage. You can also use this technique to audit existing websites to assess the structure and content.

How.

  1. Firstly, list out each page of the website - or particular section being audited.
  2. For existing websites, you may choose to screenshot each page and create a supporting thumbnail of each screenshot. For new websites, you can use logical building blocks to represent your upcoming pages.
  3. Place the image thumbnails on individual pages - either virtually or printed out if the exercise is in person. Arrange each page into a hierarchical diagram to a show logical structure. When evaluating an existing website you should focus on how you'd logically order each page based on their content and relationships to one another—rather than the pre-existing URL structure.  Some pages may function as a 'sub-page' to another so your site map should reflect that.

Further discussion.

Getting the site map right can greatly improve average the user experience. This exercise could last several hours for extensive websites, but you could also consider the 'solution sketching' approach to create viable options at speed.

Rough site maps may lack the full picture, but by starting with this quick fire collaborative method you may find that many deeper thoughts come to light faster. With more key considerations on the table, you'll be able to proceed with clarity when creating your new in-depth site map.

We often utilise Figma as our site mapping tool of choice as it allows for live team collaboration with each component easily configurable.  

The Funnel.

To conclude, some attention should be given to marketing funnels. This refers to a guided process of predetermined actions you wish your user to take, with defined layers assigned for each step of this journey.

When structuring a site map, you have the opportunity to build a purposeful website that helps inspire and motivate users to perform certain actions.

For example if your goal is to get more newsletter subscriptions you may have started by having a simple 'subscribe' button in the top corner of every page. If you found that you weren't gaining as many conversions as expected, you could brainstorm an intelligent funnel within the structure of the website. To illustrate this, imagine the following steps:

  • The home page contains a hero section with a video showcasing your main value propositions. There is an accompanying CTA to the 'about us' section of your website nested underneath the home page.
  • Within the about us page, you have your social proof listed prominently with a call to action to encourage users to explore client testimonials and snippets from case studies.
  • This testimonials section, housed within the about us page, has a sharp focus on how clients gained from your expertise and aid. Here, you are demonstrating the value of connecting with your brand to further cement why subscribing to your newsletter is advantageous. You could then offer a bold CTA inviting users to discover how your brand could help their productivity.
  • This CTA would be the final stage of your funnel. Users would click through a interactive form to answer questions about goals they wish to achieve. At the end, you'd thank them for their participation and ask them for their email to send them the results of the survey—this is where you can include an automatic (or opt-out) subscription offer to your newsletter, to further help the user.

Whilst many marketers will simply build countless landing pages for such funnels, if you have a website built intuitively and intelligently, you'll have a strong asset that organically aids your goals.