Representing visually the reasoning behind the sitemap.

15 Nov 2009 - 10:12am
6 years ago
3 replies
725 reads
Weston Thompson

This might be a good time to use a storyboard or comic representation of key
use scenarios. Those can embody all of the UX research/rationale and also
how that translates into pathways in the site. You could also try site path
diagramming (see Wodtke p. 248 or this PDF


On Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 9:54 PM, George <latatouille.g at> wrote:

> I was asked to represent VISUALLY the reasoning behind the sitemap.
> There is a whole documentation about the full UX study, but the
> client does not want to read TEXT, he wants to see a VISUAL
> representation of the reasoning of the sitemap. How is that possible?
> I am totally lost and clueless and have never faced such a request.
> site-map
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15 Nov 2009 - 7:30pm
Paul Bryan

Hi George,

This request might be more straightforward than you think. Since you
mentioned that you have a UX study that supports your decisions,
there is presumably a rationale that has lead you to organize the
site the way that you did in the site map.

You didn't say what kind of system you are designing. I'm guessing
it is either a consumer-facing site, an employee-facing site, or a
b2b site. In any of these cases, you can create a concept model or
interaction model that reflects the entities involved, the priorities
your users have expressed, and the pattern or sequence or media that
you intend to use to engage users first at an introductory level, an
on-going usage level, and at a loyalty level. If you start sketching
these entities, relationships, and priorities, using size, position,
sequence etc. to indicate relative importance or ordering, you will
end up with a visual representation of the organizational structure,
and this should correspond to the site map. If not, you should
consider modifying the site map.

I posted some simple concept model/interaction model diagram types
that I've used to give project sponsors a quick visual
representation of the rationale for how a site or interactive piece
is structured. They are on my personal site:

Hope that helps,

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16 Nov 2009 - 3:36am
Mathew Sanders

I'm assuming that the audience for the presentation are not familiar
with a standard site-map deliverable, and I'm guessing that they are
not looking for a blow-by-blow account of the entire rationale you
have chosen, but instead looking for some confidence in the decisions
that you have made.

Maybe what would help would be to create a presentation that
illustrates some of the significant changes in patterns that have
been made with the new site map.

Look for differences between the old site map, and the new site map
and think of ways to visually communicate this using metaphor,
analogy or diagram.

Perhaps first level labeling has been changed from obscure technical
language to more simple easy to understand language.

Perhaps the categories have been organized so that at each step there
are fewer decisions to make whereas before there were many.

Perhaps the depth of the website has been decreased, so that from the
homepage people reach content with fewer steps than before.

Look for patterns on what has changed, make sure you understand why
the changes have happened, and brainstorm ideas how you might
communicate this.

Pretty vague advice, but hope it helps a little.

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