We understand that as you upload content and evolve your offering as an organisation, your sitemap may change and evolve too. Whilst this may be inevitable, you don't want to jeopardise the effectiveness of your website for your core audiences. It’s important to test your sitemap with a few sets of fresh eyes, to ensure audiences are able to navigate through your site and achieve the goals you’ve defined for your website.
1. Define any new audiences and complete a persona for them. If you need a persona template you can find one here.
2. Grab a few people without prior exposure to your website. Fresh eyes will be able to expose the weaknesses in your sitemap, unlike people who may be working on the site regularly.
Whilst changes to your sitemap may be inevitable, you don't want to jeopardise the effectiveness of your website for your core audiences.
3. Get them to walk through your site as a persona and achieve the goals assigned to them. For eg. Can they find out where to volunteer? If this isn't clear, you could be losing people at this point.
4. If they struggle to find things, or stumble on any part of the site, ask them why. Understanding where they couldn't find the information they needed to achieve a goal will help shape the sitemap in the audiences favour.
5. Take notes on where they struggled and adjust accordingly. Remember to only make changes if a few people stumbled on the same thing.
We want your website to serve your audiences and ultimately drive great results for your organisation. Be sure to test your sitemap a few times a year, or as you make major changes to the sitemap.