Lesson 1


Estimated Time: 3 minutes


After this lesson, you will:

  • Be able to apply your team’s goals and results to your website;
  • Be able to identify websites that are “role models.”

Descriptive transcript

Video Description: Brian, a white male, is seated. He is wearing a dark blue polo shirt, a tan flat cap, and a pair of black eyeglasses. He is using American Sign Language to teach. On his left side is a light gray dresser with an assortment of house plants on it. A plant grow lamp casts white light upon the plants. To Brian’s right side is a small brown plant stand, with more house plants on it, along with a black baseball cap with the word “Purdue” on it. Another grow lamp casts blue light on the plants on this side.

What is a sitemap?

Building a website is like building a house. If you don’t have a blueprint, you won’t have a house. If you don’t start with a blueprint, you’ll have serious problems! And if you design your home for specific people, they will enjoy it even more. For example, a deaf person might prefer a house with an open floor plan to best see and communicate with each other, instead of having to go from room to room to get into each other’s line of vision. It’s pretty much the same for a website. 

A sitemap is the first part of your website’s design process. Your sitemap will be a flowchart that shows all pages together and how they’d be linked to each other via arrows. This will let us show how your users will navigate your website. With a sitemap, we can also understand what content you have ready to put up online — and what content you will need to develop. 

When you have a good sitemap in place for your particular audience, they can get what they want, faster. Here’s a fun fact: users often make the decision to leave a website within 10 seconds.

What do I need to do to support my sitemap? 

Your sitemap makes the first stage of our web development project together, so there are a few things to consider.

Know your goals with your website

When you have one or a few clear goals with your website, you can make the most out of your website investment. What exactly is it that you would like your users to do? Find resources to use? Download a new app? Sign up for workshops? Thinking “out loud” with your team will help you discover all possible goals. We can design your website around them. 

Recall your role models

We all have our favorite websites. The best websites are those that give us exactly what we want and in a way that has us coming back for more, because of how good the navigation experience is. The goals of those websites are clear, which impacts how they make you think and feel. 

Think about the websites that really connected with you. Maybe it’s a shopping website that helped you find and buy what you need, right away. Or a non-profit organization website that made it easy for you to donate money to a clearly wonderful cause. Those “role models” can provide good insight into how your website could be structured.

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Save for Later

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