Sitemaps at the bottom of the page: the evolution of a design pattern.

I’m sure this would have happened anyway, but back in 2000, I did some usability experiments with having a sitemap on every page of the website. Peter Merholz wrote about it (I didn’t have my blog yet back then). I actually measured clickthroughs on that sitemap, and it turned out to be very popular.

Years later, that idea started to get picked up by more and more sites, and these days it seems like everyone is doing it (because it makes sense). So in a sense I could be the father of the sitemap at the bottom of every page pattern. Then again, it’s one of those things that would have happened anyway.

Like the navigation in the main column pattern that Amazon is using these days. They used to have left hand navs, but over time, slowly, undoubtedly with lots of testing, they moved to having almost no left or right-hand navigation on their product pages, they’re just one long page. The navigation is in the main column. I expect that pattern to take off more and more as well, since users quite effectively blind out the classic left hand nav.

Oh, in Peter’s post, in the comments, a beauty: “Putting a site map on every page really riles me, actually. It’s just laziness on the IA’s part. Come up with a navigation that makes sense, and there won’t be a need for it.” – Hahaha.

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