7 Common Keys in Desiging Website Infrastructure
Matcha Design - Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Before we jump into a website’s site map design, you’ll require three things:
Time – A strong sitemap can’t be designed in 20 minutes. Does your business have the necessary time?
People – Key participants should contribute to the sitemap design. Who could these people be? Are they the right people?
Research – What are the website’s objectives? Who are our target audiences? What kind of detailed information are they looking for? What do our analytics explain to us?
Before you get into defining navigational elements (Step #3), you will need to consider your website’s content. What services/products are you marketing? How much company information is going to be offered? Do you have sufficient customer testimonials? What helpful resources can you offer on the website?
Don’t focus on where that content goes in the sitemap for now (Step #4). Provide yourself the liberty to ponder openly — even passionately! Problematic content thoughts will logically work themselves out with time.
3. Describe Primary Navigation
Also described as “Main,” “World Wide,” “Tier 1,” or “Top Level,” primary navigation is normally found at the top of a website in a horizontal design. Though there are examples which contradict vertical navigation, many websites still take this approach (e.g. Amazon).
4. Check Out Second/Third Level Structure & Content
With your primary navigation in place, it’s time to look deeper into each section.
For most websites which have fewer than 50 pages, a second level of structure should be adequate. For bigger websites, a third level is often required to preserve a compact hierarchy. I’ve even seen some websites which are four levels deep.
Unlike your primary navigation, in which the number of elements should be concise, secondary/tertiary stages of content are nearly unlimited — within reason of course. The challenge with multiple levels is designing a structure of menu systems which will allow for easy searchability and navigation.
5. Don’t Skip Utility Pages
Disclaimers, Privacy policies, legal information — these are all precarious pages which require a home in your website. Don’t lose the pathway to these in the website’s sitemap. Slice out a spot for them in your footer or elsewhere. This content could take weeks or even months to finalize!
6. Generate Records and High-level Provisions For Each Page
“We will only have a bit of basic content for this page.”
Wait! It shouldn’t be like this!
Take a minute to think in depth about each page’s content. What current assets are available? What innovative properties need to be created? How far do your archives go? What will be the topics for your blogs?
7. Entitle The Design Pattern
Is this page a photo gallery? Conversion form? Table of contents? PDF?
This action can be like the question of chicken or the egg. How can you classify a design infrastructure for your content when the content isn’t completed?
The key here is that you’re not essentially focusing on structuring the user interface (UI)—you’re classifying the type of content. This classification benefits the content curation process and warms the engine for UI design down the road.
About Matcha Design
Matcha Design is a full-service creative agency specializing in web design, print, identity, branding, interface design, video production, still photography and motion design. Using our passion for excellence, multi-cultural background, and award winning practices, we consistently provide high-quality, custom, innovative solutions to meet the diverse marketing needs of our clients. For more information, visit www.MatchaDesign.com.