Information architects need better tools for dealing with complex design problems like faceted browsing, template-driven displays, and content management systems. Site maps show a web site’s underlying structure, but render every page literally. Such views of the site are hopelessly obsolete before they reach the printer. They do not account for modern approaches to designing navigation systems. Database- and CMS-driven sites, for example, offer greater flexibility in storing and displaying content. Our deliverables must be able to keep up.
Concept models offer an alternative that better approximate the underlying structures of today’s web sites. By documenting a site’s foundation at a greater level of abstraction, concept models provide designers better insight into the user experience.