Sitemap design: how to design a UX sitemap for a website

Do you need to create the perfect sitemap? You're in the right place. Below is our straightforward roadmap to help you get started.

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Why designing a UX sitemap correctly is important

Sitemap design and planning your site's hierarchy have far reaching effects on everything from search engines to making sure your visitors have a buttery smooth user experience.

A well-planned website page, the result of effective UX sitemap design

Why online website sitemap design is best

App-based visual sitemap planning has clear advantages over paper or whiteboards

Refine your UX with superior sitemaps

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How to build a UX sitemap in 6 steps

The only way to create a site that makes sense for a visitor and delivers a friction-free user experience is to plan the website's structure and navigation first. That means you have to know how to design a sitemap and create a solid foundation before you code anything.

Sitemap planning and collaboration with an online team
Visual sitemap box representing the homepage
A section of a sitemap showing the homepage and child pages underneath it
An expanded site map highlighting web pages organized under each major section
Slickplan feature that allows for creating a new version of a sitemap with a click
Box for adding descriptive notes to a sitemap box

Popular UX sitemap examples & free sitemap templates

Not sure where to start with your UX design sitemap? No problem, we have a full sitemap template library to help you get started.

Banking international website structure template Banking international website structure template Blog sitemap template Blog sitemap template Corporate website structure template Corporate website structure template Ecommerce website structure template Ecommerce website structure template Mobile website structure template Mobile website structure template Multilingual website structure template Multilingual website structure template One page website structure template One page website structure template Portfolio website structure template Portfolio website structure template Real estate sitemap template Real estate sitemap template SaaS website structure template SaaS website structure template University website structure template University website structure template Create your own sitemap template

The difficulties you may face building a UX sitemap

Building a sitemap isn't rocket science but there are hurdles that can trip you up. Whether you're starting from scratch or updating an existing website, here's what to look out for.

Missing pages

Missing pages

The bigger the website project, the more chances there are to overlook one page or even an entire section.

How to avoid: Thoroughly check your work as you go and run it past team members or other stakeholders before going into production.

Hierarchy error

Hierarchy error

Incorrect page order creates confusion, and worse yet, a page in the wrong silo can have visitors missing critical content.

How to avoid: Customize your pages to make them easier to follow, i.e., use different colors or cell sizes for different sections.

Ignoring user behavior

Ignoring user behavior

A site should strive to reduce strain and guide users naturally to their destination, doing a poor job can lead to a bounce.

How to avoid: Get user feedback to understand what's most important to them and make those pages the most easily accessible.



People like easy but as your UX sitemap grows, it's not uncommon for navigation to get muddy.

How to avoid: Keep your sitemap simple and stick to a clear, logical hierarchy. Users and search engines will appreciate it.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content

Having the same content or same page in multiple places around your site is both redundant and potentially detrimental to your SEO.

How to avoid: Your visual site map is really a flowchart of your website, review it consistently to ensure you catch any redundancies.

Irrelevant pages

Irrelevant pages

There's a tendency to cram as much as possible into a site map, even unnecessary web pages, which can overwhelm visitors and affect search engine rank.

How to avoid: Share site maps with stakeholders, focus on website goals and create mind maps for each silo to eliminate irrelevant pages.

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Who benefits from using a UX sitemap?

Whether you're on the sales side, the creative side or bringing the site to life as a developer, website sitemaps allow everyone to work collaboratively from a clear roadmap.

3 women collaborating on a project

Content strategists

  • Gather, organize & create content – plan SEO and identify content gaps
  • Import site structures and develop information architecture ideas
  • Integrate with your favorite tools and assign tasks to your team
A young, professional woman sitting a desk with papers

UX/UI designers

  • Visualize design solutions and streamline the development process
  • Enhance site or app usability and improve information architecture
  • Create user flow diagrams, present mockups and see overall UX strategy
An older woman at her laptop in a workspace

Marketing teams

  • Diagram customer journey maps to optimize pathways to conversion
  • Use separate workspaces to organize and collaborate on projects
  • Invite stakeholders, improve marketing plans and track progress
A man and a woman in an office looking at binder

Project managers

  • Present client proposals with detailed, visual solutions
  • Oversee content production, project progress and your whole team
  • Showcase site structure options & user journeys that decrease bounce


What’s the difference between visual sitemaps, HTML sitemaps, and Google sitemaps? See why they are important in modern web design practices.

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Visually designing sitemaps is important in properly planning your website. Learn how a visual sitemap generator works.

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David Bennett

We have some very large clients and I was asked to help make an information architecture plan for one of them, Slickplan was much better than a mind map or any other suggested app for this purpose.

David Bennett, Digital Marketing at Surefire Social