Report by Peter Van Dijck of poorbuthappy.com
(Guide to Columbia)
Peter Van Dijck wrote me about how he uses a sitemap on all of his web pages. He threw me some statistics, that you will see below, that really made me think about navigation on small web sites. A sitemap on every page is an interesting idea. I've only seen this done in a few cases, and usually it is not done well. However, Peter obviously spent some time working on his and he solicited feedback form users. I hope you find Peter's report interesting. If you have similar usability stories, please tell me about them. There's a good chance that we can take your story and turn it into a report. -- John S. Rhodes
several different sitemap designs on users, I decided to try putting one
on every page of my small Columbian
web site. I then decided to track how often it was used for
navigation. It turns out the sitemap is used for over 65% of all
navigation done on the site. That was a bit of a surprise,
especially because the sitemap is at the bottom of the page, not at the
top. I had expected it to be used for 15 to 30% of all navigation, not
65%. (You can see the current
results here; they are updated dynamically.)
The sitemap is in a table-of-contents style, and has elements of an index since some pages are listed more than once. My testing with users showed this was the most efficient form. The only hard part was to find the right categories. I had users divide a list of pages on the site in categories of their own, and then chose the best categories from those.
After watching a few users use the site, it turned out they would start using the sitemap intensely after discovering it. They also used the links in the body of the text a lot, which aren't being tracked so far, so I don't have statistics on those yet.
In an email, I asked John Rhodes what he thought about this. He had some good points:
So there you go, I implemented some simple automated testing and navigation was improved for my users. By keeping track of the links on my site, I found out that a persistent sitemap is of key importance on my web site. My users can quickly find what they need and their habits determine how I design and update my site. Follow the links below to discover more.
statistics are here: (about 250 pageviews a day)
An article I
wrote on the functions of sitemaps, search engines and navigational
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