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Should site maps be considered? (Re: Site Map)

From: David R. Stong <drs18@psu.edu>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 07:51:05 -0500
Message-Id: <p06002000bc4d2e620569@[]>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Kevin, in your note you say that you use a site map when you need to 
"show the layout in full to clients". That's an important time to 
make sure it's clear, and I can understand using a site map. I think 
there are many circumstances that are just as important and require 
the same sort of global clarity. I'm a designer; I think in pictures. 
Many people do. When I'm involved in my work, if someone interrupts 
and asks a question, it takes me a moment to respond because words 
aren't there. I like site maps when they're done well. I find the 
maps used by the National Gallery site when they have a special 
online show, for instance, to be invaluable for navigation as well as 
understanding how the site is inter-connected.

So far there were several opinions about site maps saying they're 
dated or otherwise un-useful. Please realize that not everyone uses 
the Web the way you do, and certainly not everyone thinks of it as a 
book with linear layout. A site map can be a good thing, and if coded 
adequately can read as a table of contents to a screen reader or to 
those who turn images off.

>I'm going to have to side with the view that the site map is 
>inevitably dated. Jesper touched a good point where the site map 
>seemed like the best solution to explain to users the semantic 
>structure of a website but to add another tag to to the mix does not 
>seem to make any sense.
>I use Semantic maps to show the layout in full to clients but thats 
>it, normal users do not visualise their position in the layout of a 
>website rather they just feel like they are making their own natural 
>progression through a text.
>When a table of contents is the standard in all other literary texts 
>why make another one for the web? After all the purpose of web 
>accessibility is to create universal standards.

David R. Stong
Microcomputer Information Specialist (Graphic Designer),
Education Technology Services, a unit of
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Information Technology Services
The Pennsylvania State University
Phone 8148651843

212  Rider Building II
227 W Beaver Avenue
State College, PA   16801-4819

Working for Universal Design: http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/accessibility

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Received on Monday, 9 February 2004 07:52:32 UTC

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