Monday, June 13, 2011

Hierarchies inspired by Tube Maps

One of the probably most famous and useful navigation resource is the London Underground map. It is truly a masterpiece of navigational aid and has hardly changed since its inception. When reviewing the different possible ways to map out a navigation I came across Patrick Walsh's post :

There he describes a process of using Visio to create a tube map like representation of an intranet. A sample could look as such:

Using interconnections, call-outs and differently coloured lines it now becomes easier to show the different paths a user could take through the system, how the navigation nodes relate to each other and where cross linking is used to help navigation.

Also it should become easier to add lots more links onto a page while keeping it printable and overviewable.

Donna Maurer ( has already found the benefits of adding actualt data to a visio diagram, which makes updating th diagrams with new titles or descriptions a breeze. As datasource you can use either a excel file, Access database or even a SharePoint list!

A few tips for when you are working your way through connecting data to your shapes:
1) call the field which contains the url to the page Url. That way visio will automatically link the whole shape. You can rename a field in Visio, no need to fix the source.
2) create custom representations for your data using the Data Graphics button on the Visio 2010 ribbon.
3) create four different options, one for title above, one for below and one for each side. Changing one option will change all instances of that option. Thus, you will need to create four separate ones.

I'll be handing out samples of the visio I used to create a map at my IA course in Wellington which you can use straight away to build your own metro sitemaps!

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