It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a new website or just redesigning your current one, it is super important that are aware of how the end product will look and feel for your end-user. You want your site to be user-friendly, super organised, and looking great. Therefore, pre-planning is a very important step in the designing of your website. An exceptional website is one that helps lead the end-user so they are not stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to find information that is buried layers deep.
Welcome to the sitemap
Designing a sitemap as your first step will save you time and improve the quality of the end result. Sitemaps are organised lists or flow chart diagrams that shows you the connections between web pages and your website content. You will find that a visual sitemap is a very effective method for both planning and communicating your ideas about your website’s structure. Sitemaps allow designers and developers to efficiently plan website projects as they offer them a bird’s-eye view of the entire project at one time.
Save time and allow for improved communication
Knowing in advance what the requirement is, for both you and the designers, allows the designer to test out a variety of website structure scenarios before coding actually begins and set in place the expected outcomes. This gives both you and the designer the opportunity to visualise in advance the user flow and experiment with how the end-user will interact within your site.
What to plan?
When you beginning the process of planning the layout of your website, it is important to start with a few key things to help you get started.
Define your goals
What is it you want to achieve? This will help you decide what content should be at front and centre.
Know your audience
By learning about your audience you know what they enjoy doing and what they want. There is a wise saying used in marketing, and that is, if you market to everybody, you end up marketing to nobody. Therefore, when you know what your target audience is, you know what to and what not to include.
Check out the competitors
There are a lot of great ideas out in the web world, so take the time to look around for inspiration. A good place to start is with your competitors. Find out what is popular and while you are there, check out what you DON’T LIKE.
List all of your content
Now that you have a good idea on your goals, audience, and competitors, write it all out and see what you have to place on your site. You are maybe able to group or refine your content.