Live Example of a Smart Site Map: 1canoe2

Working with the 1canoe2 team was a highlight of our spring! We had all admired their work before they got in touch with us. Meg and Brad worked on the design of this site, and found that their design sensibilities were almost perfectly aligned with 1canoe2’s.

The design process was fast and fun, and we’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the site. I thought this project would be a good one to use to illustrate my post on Oh My! about site maps.

1canoe2 website design by Aeolidia


Beth, Carrie, and Karen’s goals for the site were all shopping-related. They told us:

“We need a total website design. Blog, info pages, shop for retail, wholesale, and a custom work page for invitations, birth announcements and custom notecards.

We love the way Etsy works, and we’ll never give up that shop, but we would like to be able to bypass the Etsy and PayPal fees, and we’d also like a wholesale login and shop page, as well as a custom item page. The custom item page will probably need to be a Phase 2 thing, as we don’t have those elements designed yet. We’re hoping to have a line of wedding invites/notecards/announcements done by the end of the summer.”

Meg and Brad took this info, and went through the process outlined in my site maps article:

1) Define goals: 1canoe2 had done this step.

2) Consider the shopper’s goals: 1canoe2 had an existing Etsy shop, website, and blog, and had developed a good idea of what their customer is interested in.

3) Brainstorm pages: we got this list from 1canoe2:

  • Blog
  • About Us
  • Contact
  • FAQ/Shop Policies
  • Wholesale
  • Press/Where to Find Us
  • Mailing list signup
  • Social media (FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram)
  • Contact info
  • About us
  • Custom orders page

4) Narrow it down and 5) Prioritize: As you can see on the website, only seven links made it into the main horizontal navigation.

  • Shop
  • Blog
  • About
  • FAQ
  • Contact
  • Wholesale
  • Stores

The FAQ page includes the shop policies (no reason to have two separate pages for this!). Press was left out, and Where to Find Us was renamed to Stores for clarity. The mailing list and social media links are in the footer of each page, where they’re simple to find, but not taking up valuable real estate. Rather than make a page for custom orders, we made it a category in the shop. This section also serves as a bit of a portfolio gallery, as it uses photos of custom items they’ve created.

6) Group: Like Lauren suggests in our site map article, once you have real content ready, navigation usually falls in place pretty easily. The 1canoe2 site has a clear area for the cart and account links, one that contains the main informational links, and an area in the footer for external social media links. When in the Shop section of the site, a vertical navigation bar is included with the shop links.

The 1canoe2 site is clear and easy to understand. It has all the info needed to shop, and it’s packed with personality (check out their super adorable “About” page!).

Beth’s testimonial for us almost brings a tear to my eye, because she expresses all my goals for how I think Aeolidia projects should go, but from the client perspective. It makes me so happy!

“Understandably, we were completely overwhelmed by the idea of designing our new site. We knew it needed to look like us and that it needed to be clean and robust. Because of their specialized client base, Aeolidia already knew the type of company we were, without hours of explanation or exhausting revisions. We were so blown away with the first design draft that we only made a few small revisions, and that’s saying something from people as visually picky as we can be. It was intuitively 1canoe2, in a way that we weren’t able to express on our own.

Every step of the process was easy, educational, and organized. I just don’t think it could have gone any smoother or faster. And on top of all that, the final website is above and beyond what we dreamed up ourselves. We are enabled to go create more hand-illustrated products and effortlessly sell them ourselves in just the way we want to present ourselves to the world.”

Savvy creative businesses say they always learn something helpful and interesting when they read our newsletter! You can join them here.

Of interest: