How to create a map for an existing web site? In order to build it, you need to carefully look at all the elements of the site. Here is a list of four items that will help you get down to solving this problem:
1. Start from the main page. Go to the main page of the Web site and look at the links on it. On a large piece of paper at the top, draw a rectangle for the main page, write a list of all the links that you see on the main page aside. Leave them grouped as they are on the main page. For example, under the “Footer” heading, list all the links to the footer pages. This list will help you navigate the site when you work with individual elements.
2. Highlight the main categories. Try clicking on all the links and see which pages you will go to. In this case, your goal is to determine the purpose of each link and find the most important categories of links. You may be very surprised to see that some important elements of the site content are hidden from users, and to access them you need to carry out a whole sequence of navigation through various links. The link to these important elements is missing among the main links of the site on the main page. Perhaps this is the reason why you were hired to reorganize the site!
Selecting each of the main categories, you designate them as rectangles on the site map in the line next to the main page. In the third row, place all the contents of each category.
3. Define global functions. All pages can contain links to the same site element. For example, on each page there may be a link to a security policy page or a link for company feedback. Select all global pages and draw them in a separate area of the site map.
4. Check for interaction with the database. Identify the pages on which the technology will be applied that require communication with the database. They are very easy to recognize, just look for pages that require data entry. Obviously, this data must be saved somewhere after the user enters it. Also note the pages with fancy URLs.
Ask the customer about the number of databases used for the site, as well as their purpose. Customers can use a content management system for text and graphics, a database for products and prices, and a separate database for their customers. Most likely, you will have to include already existing databases in the updated site. If this is not the case, then you need to ask the customer how he plans to upgrade these systems.
When finalizing the site map during its reorganization, use your own set of symbols and lines for a detailed description of the site and its elements. In the process of reorganizing the site do not focus your attention on a thorough study of the details of the map of an existing site, get better at the map of the updated site. The purpose of creating an existing site map is to examine the current organization and information architecture of the site. This card should be discussed with the customer, asking him many questions to determine the main directions of reorganization.