Many beginner web designers assume that they would mostly be creating websites from scratch. In reality, almost every business and non-profit of any size already have websites. The problem is that these websites are not really functional. They have either been created by someone who didn’t know what they were doing or have been created a long time ago and have become really outdated.
This is why one of the tasks that you will face as a web designer will be to re-design websites and to keep websites fresh and up-to-date to make sure that they are taking full advantage of the latest technologies and needs of an organization.
A site map is a tool that is very useful both when creating a new website and redesigning an existing one. A site map allows you to see a website as a whole. You will be able to study how pages relate to each other and connect with each other. Finally, you will see what is working and what is not. With a sitemap, you will be able to spot the problems and get redesign ideas.
If you are dealing with an existing website that doesn’t have a sitemap, you can create one by taking the website apart and seeing how it was originally made.
Go to the home page and make a list of all the links that you find there. Take a large sheet of paper. Draw a box at the top of the page. This box will stand for the home page. Jot down lines from the home page, one line per link that you encounter on the page.
Next, identify the main categories and goals of all the links. You will most likely find that some important content is hidden behind subtle links that are hard to notice. This is probably one of the reasons you were asked to redesign the website in the first place.