If a user has a choice between two maps he/she will often use the map with the 'better' design. This means a map, besides being readable, should be visually attractive, comparable with other maps and eventually deliver some tools to navigate and interact with a map. A further problem is that a lot of maps are not always self-explaining by default. SVG offers some possibility to make maps well designed. The readability is dependent on several factors: e g. the chosen colors, used fonts or minimal dimensions for symbols, line-styles and fill-patterns. The article is pointing to basic principles for designing visually attractive maps.
Recently I needed to crank out a visual sitemap (or is it a directory tree?) from a rather large site and had a devil of a time finding decent tools to help. Everything I found in my search was either too costly, too complicated, or too unattractive for my purposes. A case in point was CSS Diagrams—a damn fine piece of work (and free), but it really didn’t suit my needs. But it did give me an idea. Why not roll my own sitemap diagram in HTML and CSS?
When I compare the usability of the highly graphical MAPA dynamic site map with that of a more traditional text-based table of contents, the traditional approach wins hands-down. You can scan the contents much faster and you don't need a fast connection or a Java-enabled browser.
I have always liked the idea of medieval mapmakers using the phrase "Here Be Dragons" to denote unexplored or dangerous territories. Sticking a fire-breathing reptile in documentation when you run out of facts? That’s panache. These days, people aren’t so stylish. When an information architect (or user experience designer) doesn’t have the time (or the talent) to document content requirements, they stick a "page stack" on their site map.
Hypertext mapping has long challenged writers, and perplexed hypertext system designers. Clear, attractive, and informative maps help readers and writers understand the structure of complex hypertexts. Conversely, in the absence of adequate mapping tools, many writers fall back on simplistic link models like sequential lists and outlines.
Concept models aren't for everyone. When I show fellow designers these artifacts, I sometimes get "You show that to clients?" Like any deliverable, there's a time and a place for concept models. If you're anything like me, however, you think visually. Even if your models don't see the light of day, a good model can help you get a better grip on the problem, or lay some groundwork for your designs.
Sitemaps are common deliverables, desired by clients who want a visual representation of a site. Since they are rarely used to make decisions, information architects may not consider them the valuable tools they are. The effort required to make and maintain them requires time that might be better used elsewhere. In fact, I would suggest that making sure the little boxes line up is a waste of an IA's mental abilities.
This paper is about the relationship between the topic map and RDF standards families. It compares the two technologies and looks at ways to make it easier for users to live in a world where both technologies are used. This is done by looking at how to convert information back and forth between the two technologies, how to convert schema information, and how to do queries across both information representations. Ways to achieve all of these goals are presented.
A map-based approach to building a content inventory allows it to be a tool from the concept stages and throughout the life of the website. Patrick Walsh tells us why to use them, shows us how to create the maps, and how to leverage them over the long haul.
Web site maps are created by webmasters and content providers to help users navigate and search complex web sites. A variety of styles of map are used, many based on organisational charts. Presented here are some of the best examples from around the Web.
Information architects have so far applied known and well-tried tools from library science to solve this problem, and now topic maps are sailing up as another potential tool for information architects. This raises the question of how topic maps compare with the traditional solutions, and that is the question this paper attempts to address.
Navigation refers to the method used to find information within a Web site. A navigation page is used primarily to help users locate and link to destination pages. A Web site's navigation scheme and features should allow users to find and access information effectively and efficiently. When possible, this means designers should keep navigation-only pages short. Designers should include site maps, and provide effective feedback on the user's location within the site. To facilitate navigation, designers should differentiate and group navigation elements and use appropriate menu types. It is also important to use descriptive tab labels, provide a clickable list of page contents on long pages, and add ‘glosses' where they will help users select the correct link. In well-designed sites, users do not get trapped in dead-end pages.
Maps help us navigate. On the Internet, finding things has become the big challenge. Death by a thousand clicks is the bane of any net user. The reason? We are attempting to shoe-horn the metaphor of maps–tools for navigating complex spaces–into existing metaphors, such as the infinite book that is the World Wide Web.
Site diagrams can be quite helpful in answering all kinds of hard questions. How to create the right diagram became a personal challenge for Jason Withrow. He shares his story through tips and techniques…
One of the oldest hypertext usability principles is to visualize the structure of the information space to help users understand where they can go. On today's Web, site maps are a common approach to facilitating navigation. Unfortunately, they are often not very successful at it. We conducted a usability study of site maps on 10 websites, and our main conclusion is that users are reluctant to use site maps and sometimes have problems even finding them. Considering that site maps could be particularly useful to people who are lost, it is not good news that they are often hard to find.
About how to use a sitemap on all of one's web pages. Includes some statistics, that you will see below, that encourage rethinking navigation on small web sites. A sitemap on every page is an interesting idea. I've only seen this done in a few cases, and usually it is not done well. However, Peter obviously spent some time working on his and he solicited feedback form users.
Sitemaps and site indexes are forms of supplemental navigation. They give users a way to navigate a site without having to use the global navigation. By providing a way to visualize and understand the layout and structure of the site, a sitemap can help a lost or confused user find her way.
Topic maps are a new ISO standard for describing knowledge structures and associating them with information resources. As such they constitute an enabling technology for knowledge management. Dubbed “the GPS of the information universe”, topic maps are also destined to provide powerful new ways of navigating large and interconnected corpora. While it is possible to represent immensely complex structures using topic maps, the basic concepts of the model — Topics, Associations, and Occurrences (TAO) — are easily grasped. This paper provides a non-technical introduction to these and other concepts (the IFS and BUTS of topic maps), relating them to things that are familiar to all of us from the realms of publishing and information management, and attempting to convey some idea of the uses to which topic maps will be put in the future.
Topic Maps have figured very prominently at all recent IDEAlliance conferences, with a large number of interesting presentations on various aspects of the Topic Maps paradigm. However, at every conference there are always many people who are encountering Topic Maps for the first time. For those people, experiencing that something they have never heard of before - or don't quite get - is the "buzz of the conference" can be very frustrating. This presentation is designed to cater to the needs of such people by providing an introduction to the basic concepts of topic maps in a lively and informal manner.
This paper shows how topic maps can address the limitations of traditional content management systems while building on their strengths. The term ITMS (Integrated Topic Management System) is coined for a content management system based on topic maps, and the paper shows what is necessary to build such systems, as well as what benefits they bring. The use of the WebDAV protocol to layer topic maps over content stores is also considered, and an abstract topic map-to-content store protocol is sketched, which corresponds very closely to WebDAV.
The Web site map is one of the key tools that site designers can provide to help surfers successfully navigate through their site. However, the art and science of creating intuitive and useful Web site maps is still in its infancy.