Whenever I start a new website, one of the first tasks to be done is to create a flowchart, often referred to as a sitemap. A flowchart (or sitemap) outlines the navigation through the entire site, so I know how many pages I’ll be building and what pages link to what other pages.
I’ve tried various tools over the years for building flowcharts. The one I’ve used the longest is, Inspiration. Although it’s not specifically tailored for web designers, it actually does a very good job, and is relatively inexpensive ($69).
One problem with using a tool like Inspiration, is none of my clients use it. The only way to review and revise my flowchart is to export a PDF, email it to my client, discuss it over the phone, and then make any revisions we come up with. It’s not uncommon for this process to go through several rounds before we get the final version. It can be very time consuming.
I recently came across an excellent alternative to this process. It’s called WriteMaps. WriteMaps is a free online sitemap creation and collaboration tool. It’s only been recently released as a 1.0 product, but it’s looking pretty sweet!
WriteMaps is extremely easy to use to quickly generate your sitemap. Once complete, you can send a link to your client allowing them to view and edit the sitemap, significantly cutting down the time it takes to hammer out the final version. As a bonus, once you finish building the actual site, you can export your WriteMaps sitemap as a Google sitemap (XML) file.
WriteMaps is the brain child of Boston-based graphic designer, Scott Jehl. Frustrated with the cost and/or limitations of other sitemap creation software, Scott decided to make his own. And, he’s nice enough to share it with all of us. Thanks Scott, you rock!
While WriteMaps is free, Scott does accept donations to cover hosting costs, etc… If you find it useful, consider slipping Scott a few bucks via the donations link on the site.