Clever UI: Subway Map for Intranet

“A Map-based Approach to Content Inventory” caught my eye. I love the aesthetics of subway maps, the clever way in which they distort space while still presenting a more aesthetically true representation of the relationships between places. Patrick Walsh used the subway map metaphor to understand the gnarly structure of the intranet he was redesigning. (found via Matt Jones)

I wonder whether this would be useful as a general daily-use navigational aid for any web site. It wouldn’t be hard to implement this as a Firefox plugin—a sidebar that puts heads on the x axis, external links on the y, and links within the same site on the diagonal. Daily use would let you know whether it’s useful to have, to borrow Patrick’s metaphor, a GPS in your web browser.

  • His concept was interesting – but it would have been nice to get a comparison on how this was preferable than having a Hierarchical Graph, especially since dealing with a local government.

    A Subway concept might be preferable in a non-hierarchical, vertical relationship.

    Also, it might be worth investigation incorporating the use of AJAX previews, Meta Data & Summaries in such an illustration.

  • nyc

    One site that *sort of* looks like a subway map is this one:

    It’s a non-profit in New York. It isn’t exactly what you are talking about, but I think it’s a complete disaster.