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Re: Site Map

From: ATutor <info@atutor.ca>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 10:33:11 -0500
Message-ID: <4027A837.20101@atutor.ca>
To: tina@greytower.net
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I've been following this thread off and on for a while,  and figured I 
should add my two cents.

Firstly, from a cognitive perspective a sitemap is quite useful. For 
those who like to see the content of a site from a single location, it 
helps them find information quickly by browsing a list of topics, and 
allows them to relate information by seeing how topics are positioned 
within a collection of ideas (talking from an instructional 
perspective). Personally, if a search feature on a site doesn't turn up 
the information I'm looking for, the sitemap is where I turn.

I didn't catch the reasoning for deprecating sitemaps, though I can't 
think why this would be suggested. I would imagine that those who agree 
with deprecating sitemaps, are probably not global type learners, and 
probably have little utility for site maps. That's fine. If you have no 
use for a sitemap, you don't have to use it. There are still many of us 
who do find sitemaps very VERY useful (to quote Tina and a few others).

In our work with accessibility, and there has been much of it, we take 
the position that transformation and adaptability are the key to 
accessible Web sites. If something is inaccessible to one person, it 
does not mean that that feature has to be removed to comply with access 
standards, it means in many cases that alternatives are required. By 
same token, if a sitemap is not useful to one user,  removing it would 
reduce the accessibility (or rather usability) of a site for those who 
benefit from such a tool.

"Sitemap" is now a fixture in the English lexicon (and other languages 
I'm sure), and it is quite unlikely it will go away any time soon.  
Better than trying to get rid of the concept, a formal description, or 
perhaps an operational definition of Sitemap would better serve the 
accessibility community, and Internet users in general.  Whether you 
call it a sitemap or a table of contents,  whether its presented as a 
list, a hierarchical presentation of topics, or a visual layout of a 
site, the purpose is to provide a "Big Picture" of the content,  and 
make a site more easily browsable.

:: transformable -- adaptable -- accessible ::


Tina Holmboe wrote:

>On  6 Feb, Jesper Tverskov wrote:
>>10 years ago it was the notion that a site map could be a visual
>>representation of how a web site was organized. Such a site map was
>>thought to help us find our way making it easier to navigate. But the
>  I'd make the claim that this concept not only exist today, but should
>  exist, and be used. However, it might be that we are thinking of
>  different things.
>  A "site map", to me, is a representation - one way or another - of
>  where to find what on a website. I like to compare it to the catalogue
>  of a library.
>  A "table of contents", on the other hand, is a document-specific
>  representation listing what exists, and where, in this specific
>  document.
>  Both are -highly- useful, and well known to most people from other
>  works of life.
>>I don't remember ever having seen a useful implementation of the concept
>>of a site map as a visual, even a 3D, representation of a web site.
>  I see, daily, sitemaps implemented as nested lists describing
>  hierarchial websites which I find very, VERY useful.
>  The concept of a non-hiearchial website might need a different
>  implementation, but I've not seen any of those.
Received on Monday, 9 February 2004 10:36:56 UTC

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