I am working on a large financial application and would like to know few ways to present an IA or sitemap to other stakeholders (business development teams)

Do you start by explaining the goal or the problems with the current IA? or Should I just say - the homepage takes the user to point A,B,C then page A takes the user to sections A1,A2,A3. ?

Is there any better way to explain this?

4 Answers 4


It depends what you're trying to accomplish.

If you're looking to convey that the IA you're proposing is backed by research (e.g. a card sort), I'd start by documenting that research itself, using tools at the correct level of sophistication for your audience (affinity diagrams, similarity matrices, etc.; many card sort tools generate these for you).

If you're redesigning an existing IA, I'd start by presenting evidence that the current IA is inadequate in some way. That can be shown quantitatively (people aren't discovering this page, or this kind of content is over-represented in site search analytics, etc.), or qualitatively (in usability testing, participants fail to find this feature or page).

When presenting a proposed sitemap, I find it very helpful to accompany the proposed sitemap with user flows against your user stories (as in, if we implemented the proposed sitemap, the user story "As persona X, I want to check my account balance on the road so I can make purchasing decisions while out shopping" would be achieved by Home > User Profile > Accounts > Billing). This approach has the benefit of allowing you to demonstrate alternative paths through the tree, and ensuring that the design of the IA is focused on the actual user stories you're looking to support in your app or site.


Graphical representation of it could be better. You can maybe create nice-looking "tree view" graphic of the incorrect IA and correct one and present it.


Always show key parts of your design to gain confidence. Showing the entire IA is not relevant. All you have to do is to get them to trust your design decisions.

Show them the part of the current IA where it fails. Give them the reason for its failure. Propose your IA along with a strong reason why it's better than the existing IA.

Don't forget to also include the downsides of a new IA (shows that you are actually trying to improve instead of forcing your design on the current system). E.g. Downside can be: There's a learning curve for existing users. But make sure you show a way how you overcome that downside too. E.g. Including a global search or through a clear visual hierarchy.

Considering it's a financial app, the stakeholders must love presentations that include numbers. So, make sure you include some quantitative facts like surveys, card sorting results, the sample size of participants, etc.


Based on the assumption of the audience (business development teams) and their relative familiarity or unfamiliarity with the work, I would say that a brief introduction to the problem and perhaps some visibility to major points of friction would be necessary for context and to help answer any initial contextual questions from the group. Hopefully, in doing so, you are able to keep the conversation focused on the point of the meeting which is to present the team with your solution (IA or sitemap). As some have noted, using visuals to support this part of the discussion can only help but, as always, be mindful of the stage at which the work is at and what you show (low fidelity wires, artboards, prototypes, etc.) to support it.

If you know or have an understanding of the specific use case that the business development team supports, you may want to place emphasis on that specific journey through your IA and the use of personas. What task or job are they "hiring" this company to do? What does that path look like? And how are we helping them achieve that goal with the improved IA?

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