Opened 3 years ago

Closed 3 years ago

Last modified 3 years ago

#21942 closed task (fixed)

Sitemapping the current site layout

Reported by: linda Owned by: linda
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Webpages/Website Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords:
Cc: isabela Actual Points:
Parent ID: #22120 Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description (last modified by linda)


  • generate a digraph representation of the current sitemap of

We are doing this to visualize how the website is currently laid out, analyze the pros and cons of the layout, and to see user paths throughout the website.


  • a sitemap is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. It can be a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design.
  • a directed graph (or digraph) is a graph with a set of vertices connected by edges, where the edges have a direction associated with them.


To generate the sitemap digraph, one person (linda) manually visited the website and manually wrote the code for generating the visualization. The manual crawl began by visiting all the pages reachable with one click from the front page, then visiting all the pages reachable with two clicks from the front page, and so on. This continued until there were no additional pages to visit.

External pages (any site that wasn't, so would be considered an external link) and duplicate paths (if one page was reachable from the header, and also from the footer, for instance) were noted along the way.

There was existing work done to sitemap the website (#10591), and this was taken into consideration. The previous work was used to check that there were not any sites that were not accounted for, but since the digraphs were not generated in the same way (the old method did add nodes for external links, whereas this digraph does, for instance), they do not look identical.

Results and observations

  • a digraph sitemap of (key: black = webpage, grey = external webpage, pink = duplicate link to a webpage).

The three main observations about the structure were that it was abnormally structured, too flat, and messily interlinked. More details about this below:

  1. The current structure of the website does not follow any of the standard design patterns:

An example of a hierarchy pattern, additional ones are here.

Currently, the website structure is asymmetrical, and of various depths. This can be irritating to users where some pages just "end" whereas other pages require 2-3 clicks to find the information that they need.

  1. the website structure is very flat.

This conveys the same amount of pages, but in a flat vs deep hierarchy.

Content is more discoverable when it's not buried under multiple intervening layers. Users can become overwhelmed with cluttered menus. Hierarchies can be helpful if categories are specific and do not overlap, which I do think is the case for many of the content in

  1. there is a lot of inter-linking and duplicate links to various pages.

You can get to to a pages' subpage from another page's subpage. There are links with different text ("learn more" and "about tor" both lead to the same place) that lead to the same place. On one page, there are multiple ways to get to the same page (you can get to the donate page from the header, subheader, and footer, and occasionally a side bar tip). All of these things are confusing, and we should find out where the best placement for something is, and keep it there.

Child Tickets

Attachments (4)

tpo-digraph-before.png (1.6 MB) - added by linda 3 years ago. (11.5 KB) - added by linda 3 years ago.
the file used to generate the digraph
flat-vs-deep.png (92.5 KB) - added by linda 3 years ago.
an-example-hierarchy.png (64.0 KB) - added by linda 3 years ago.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (11)

Changed 3 years ago by linda

Attachment: tpo-digraph-before.png added

comment:1 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Description: modified (diff)
Owner: changed from hiro to linda
Status: newassigned

Changed 3 years ago by linda

Attachment: added

the file used to generate the digraph

comment:2 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Resolution: fixed
Status: assignedclosed
Type: defecttask

comment:3 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Resolution: fixed
Status: closedreopened

comment:4 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Resolution: fixed
Status: reopenedclosed

Changed 3 years ago by linda

Attachment: flat-vs-deep.png added

Changed 3 years ago by linda

Attachment: an-example-hierarchy.png added

comment:5 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Description: modified (diff)

I'm done with sitemapping. Here are some things I didn't want to forget about:

  • observations about site structure along the way:
    • 38 links on the front page, which leads to 30+ pages--that's a bit too much.
    • 3-4 ways to get to one page (header, footer, inline, from a subpage), sometimes with different text ('volunteer' and 'get involved' lead to the same page).
    • there are site headers, subheaders, AND side headers, which compete for attention.
    • the header, subheader, and footer stay the same throughout the site, and are visible everywhere.
    • the side headers sometimes appear, and also are different depending on which page you are on ( vs
  • ideas about structure for the new
    • keep it simple: nothing more than sub-sub-sub pages (3 clicks away)
    • less is more: reduce the different amount of content on each page, and expand on the select few topics that remain on each page.
    • consistency: use the same phrasing to refer to the same pages and topics throughout.
    • minimize: use only a header and footer.
    • put things in the footer that are not as important, and link to a leaf page. The current footer links to pages linked to by the header, which is kind of confusing.
    • organize by target audience: a lot of the existing content can be organized into the developer, support, and outreach portals. (for instance, the manuals, project pages, wiki, can all be in the developer portal.)

The above observations and ideas are just my ideas, and have not been decided on as final.

comment:6 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Description: modified (diff)

comment:7 Changed 3 years ago by linda

Parent ID: #21222#22120
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