SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: SIGIA-L: can we talk about site maps
RE: SIGIA-L: can we talk about site maps as navigation?
From: David Heller (dave_at_vizooal.com)
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 12:37:18 EDT
Interesting conversation ...
I just came out of a usability test for a site I'm working on, w/ a sitemap
link. We asked people what they thought they would find under the link, and
no one got it. Not a one. That's pretty telling.
On a separate note, someone said that you shouldn't have a sitemap if your
navigation is working properly, right? Makes sense, no? Well, it makes sense
if you think of a sitemap as an alternative form of navigation, but to me it
is much more. It can play two very different roles depending on the design
style and decisions of the information designer.
1. A spatial represntation (thus the word "map"), of the site. In this way
users can grasp a physical feel of the information and its relationship to
other pieces in the site. This works usually for smaller sites, but the use
of Inxights software, or brain, or similar flash like sitemaps
(www.vizooal.com in no way a perfect example), attempt to accomplish this in
various levels of detail.
2. An index in the classic reference sense. Sometimes it is a lot easier to
find something from the index than from the Table of Contents (which to me
is more like a top level navigation w/o the depth of an index). We are
working on creating a site w/ both of these elements. An index would be mroe
linked to a search engine like quality, and allows a user to see all the
places where a subject/keyword is on the site.
There is no good way to do this just in the navigation alone. It would be
distracting to repeat users, or for users who are adept at sniffing and
pecking through a site.
Director of Information Architecture
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:37 EST