I am creating an information architecture map for a site I am working on. 90% of the site is visible to all on the Internet, but the 10% is available for users, based on their role.

My question is whats the best way to represent this? Currently I have all the IA in one map, and have colour coded the pages for "group A", "group B" so on.

Is this a usual way, or is there a better approach?

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    I'm glad you found a good answer, but you don't need to accept the first answer you get. If you leave it for 24 hours you'll probably get more answers, possibly even better / more suitable ones. Accepting an anwser so quickly may deter other people answering.
    – JonW
    Jun 27, 2012 at 16:19
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    True I suppose. Anything by Jessie James Garret gets my vote for a good answer. :) I've removed the good answer (sorry dhmholley) to see if anyone else answers. But it was good for me. Jun 27, 2012 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


Jesse James Garrett's Visual Vocabulary for IA has the concept of a "conditional area", represented by a dotted line grouping the elements.


The example he gives is the following:

enter image description here

In your example, you'd have the condition based on their role and throw some sort of error when the user tries to access a page outside of their role.

  • Excellent! Thanks very much for the link. I had sorta used a similar approach (shaded background container), but didn't think about the security error branch.. Jun 27, 2012 at 15:52

A simple icon, such as a keyhole lock, that can show the page is locked (and therefore unlockable with the correct key), is a good way of identifying which pages are behind the login or firewall. Using a dotted line pointing away from the lock to an error page/box, along with other lines that connect the page to represent typical navigation, should be make sense.

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