Identifying the purpose of the website, and communicating the best design to clients has always been a challenging task for web designers. They have to be technically skilled; and their job involves a whole lot more than just creative skills unlike the job of print designers.
A website is predominantly the most important marketing tool for a startup or any other online business. Besides designing an aesthetically pleasing website, a web designer is expected to design a functional and conversion effective website. It is always best to apply some of the best practices for designing websites. One such practice is mapping out the website structure and content by designing simple online sitemaps and web mockups.
You can now draw sitemaps and link them to your webpage mockups, so your clients can visualize and explore the entire website design even before a single line of code is written. Look up for a good online sitemap creator, or try Creately for free! Creately is an online collaborative diagramming software, perfect for distributed project teams to collaborate and iterate on Sitemaps, Web Mockups, Flowcharts or just about anything visual.
With the practice of designing sitemaps, web mockups and wireframes beforehand, planning your site can be made amazingly easy! Here are 5 reasons why sitemaps and web mockups are useful to Web Designers!
1) Illustrate Website Structure and Content
Developing a sitemap is probably one of the first steps that should be undertaken by web designers to illustrate the hierarchical structure of your website plan and its various sections. By doing this, the web designer can share the conceptual structure of the site, and help the clients visualize how the site has been broken up from the main page into other linking pages.
2) Effective Project Communication
A Sitemap is the best organizing tool which helps the designer communicate the main areas of the site, and the different page types within the site. Now, share your sitemap and encourage comments during a project discussion to get effective feedback from your clients and team members. This would bring about productive project communication by bridging the gap between clients and designers!
3) Visualize Design Layout
Designers can mark the pages with special functionality – pages that need to be loaded securely can be marked differently to the pages that features video content and so on. The sitemap should also include the pages, where each page links to webpage mockups. So the clients can now visualize the structure together with the design layout!
4) Smiling Customers!
Engage clients in your project discussions and give them greater visibility of the project. Review and revisit the sitemap and the web mockups as your understanding of the project improves. New pages, updated structure and simple changes to the page will keep the designs up-to date and ensure less confusion in your project team. Having the site built on valuable user feedback and managing their expectations, you’ll have nothing less than happy and satisfied clients!
5) Save Time and Money
As you know World Wide Web is dynamic in nature, web designers have to understand that the overall design is likely to change over time. Thus, before the coding begins, detailed planning of the site is essential! Share the sitemaps and mockups with your team and clients by inviting them to review and comment. Incorporate these comments to arrive at the agreed structure and design layouts, and stay focused to avoid hours of rework. Quickly iterate over your Mockups to reduce project turnaround times, and settle down with the complete, up-to-date design document before writing a single line of HTML code.
As a web designer, by using Sitemaps and web mockups in each of your website design projects, you’ll give your clients the best possible satisfaction in working with you and your team!