A Sitemap is a visual or textual representation of how the web pages on a site are organised. Typically a Sitemap is hierarchical and provides users with a top-down view of the whole information architecture for a site. Although, most users will navigate using the primary navigation, the Sitemap provides a way to see the whole structure at a glance, which some users find useful.

The design of a Sitemap is often based on performing a Card Sorting exercise to understand how users expect elements to be organised and the terminology they expect to see. The design of a Sitemap is based upon Understanding Users and what their primary goals and tasks are when they visit a website. High frequency or critical tasks or topics will be displayed more prominently, and related tasks and topics grouped together.

What it provides

The Sitemap provides a definition for how the pages on a site should be organised on a website. As Sitemaps are created to display the complete information architecture their purpose is primarily to help with the design of the primary navigation structure however, they are often made available and displayed on a webpage so that they can provide a secondary navigation mechanism.