top of page
Site Map Diagram

A Site Map Diagram, also known simply as a “site map,” is a visual representation of a product’s hierarchy and its page flows. They can be created for a new site or application based on the results of a Task Analysis. For the purposes of this article, however, we will examine the creation of a diagram for an existing product.

Information Architects creating Site Map Diagrams typically use flowchart software like Visio, Gliffy, or OmniGraffle. This method concisely illustrates a product’s scope, relationships between pages, and inconsistencies between navigation and content labels. It can also bring attention to the presence of orphan pages or extraneous content.


Schedule Time

  • Time Needed: Minutes to Hours
    Dependent upon content quantity and complexity

Gather Materials

  • Design software, especially software specially created for flow chart creation


  • Complete a Controlled Vocabulary and a Content Audit so you have an inventory of what exactly you are mapping.

  • Use flow chart software like Lucidchart, Microsoft Visio, Omnigraffle, or Gliffy to build a boxes-and-arrows diagram of the highest level of site organization. Include the home page and top level sections in this first page of your diagram.

  • Subsequent diagram pages should describe more specific flows, including deep dives for content and interactive processes like checkouts.

  • Meet with stakeholders to decide whether to re-integrate or eliminate any orphan pages — that is, pages in the Content Audit with no currently active links to them.

  • Complete a Task Analysis for common user flows to see if pages are organized logically.


Try these tips

  • If you are presented with a site map diagram for an existing product, verify that it is up to date.

  • In the absence of flow chart software, use software that lets you to draw and move shapes with ease (like Adobe Illustrator).

Explore more resources

Software Options

bottom of page