Criteria For A Site Map
Web sites and Software often have site maps to help give the user a reference of where information is and the hierarchy of it. What are your criteria for what does and what does not belong in a site map? What do you believe is the best format?
They might sound like simple questions, but explaining them to a client does prove to be a challenge.
[This message has been edited by digits71 (edited 12-07-2001).]
Re: Criteria For A Site Map
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by digits71:
What are your criteria for what does and what does not belong in a site map? What do you believe is the best format?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Well, a site map is just that - a map of the site. Thus the criteria that goes into it are those areas of the site that a user can go to. The distinction comes in when you consider the granularity of a site map. Just as in regular maps, many details can get left off and, instead, the reliance is upon major areas or landmarks.
In a similar fashion, sometimes the "major areas" of a site are the ones that are listed on the site map with the idea being that the user will then have to navigate from a localized navigation scheme in the major areas to get to subareas. In other cases, however, it is considered prudent to also list the subareas on the site map.
However, for me, this all depends on the structure of the site and the way it is broken down as well as other elements that are used to aid in navigation, such as "breadcrumbs," persistent menus, frames, etc. It also depends on the structure of the site map itself - is it going to be totally graphical or is it going to be text-based, or a combination of both? Also, is it going to utilize some type of scripting, such as in collapsing trees, for example. Those types of things can determine how much or how little detail goes into a site map.
The structure of your site will determine your site map although, of course, the hope is you designed the map first and made the site adhere to that - i.e., the site follows a logical plan that was previously mapped out.
Re: Criteria For A Site Map
Lovely answer Jeff! The reason for my question was that our client (grandfather project) let someone else design the interface and the hierarchy but we're developing it. It's a terrible mess and the site map is NOT a reflection of the site (because it's impossible to make heads of tails of it).
They've got PDF's on the site map! That's a document, not a part of the site navigation. Maybe we could do a 'table of contents' for documents within the site....
I don't have a hope in #ell of getting them to change their minds (don't ask - I just don't). So I was looking for an explanation for clients as to what the criteria was (i.e. the granularity you spoke of) so that I wouldn't be in this situation again.