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Most site maps fail to convey multiple levels of the site's
information architecture. In usability tests, users often overlook
site maps or can't find them. Complexity is also a problem:
a map should be a map, not a navigational challenge of its own.
Users go to site maps if they are lost, frustrated, or looking
for specific details on a crowded site. A site map's main
benefit is to give users an overview of the site's areas in
a single glance by dedicating an entire page to a visualization
of the information architecture. If designed well, this overview
can include several levels of hierarchy, and yet not get so
big that users lose their ability to grasp the map as a whole.
One of our 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.
Site maps must become more aware of users' website navigation,
indicating not only their current location, but also site
sections that they've already visited. Site maps that use
textual links and standard link colors already offer a simple
version of the latter feature, changing the color of links
to visited pages.
Let AQABA enhance your site map.