Friday, December 7, 2012

Is Sitemap Dead?

Sorry, but I needed an interesting subject to draw your attention. Did it work? J

I am facing a growing problem of explaining the concept of sitemap effectively to our clients. It’s very important for the client to understand an artifact clearly – if we are seeking approval on it.

The problem is arising because of the connectedness and dynamism of the content and functionality that today’s technology offers. Gone are the days of static HTML pages, where the user used to navigate on pre-defined paths on the sitemap. We are in the era of portlets, multi-layered dynamic UI, widgets and context sensitive controls.

In today’s world, sitemap:

  • Is not a page hierarchy; It’s not information hierarchy either
  • Doesn’t “truly” represent hierarchy levels because the content/functionality can be accessed from multiple routes
  • Doesn’t map to user flows either

So, the question is: how to best present the sitemap to the client? Moreover, how to explain it effectively and clearly?

  • Are we doing the sitemap because it has been part of our deliverables – historically?
  • Does it really have any value? Shall we start doing conceptual sitemaps going forward, as the article (link below) suggests?
  • Does it makes sense to seek client approval on this – even when they don’t get it?

This article on Sitemap in UXMAG clearly defines my problem -

I am attaching a conceptual sitemap as an example. Do you think that the conceptual model works better than traditional sitemap?

I would like to hear your experiences, comments, thoughts, and suggestion on the same.