Background: Product I'm working with caters to developers, and I'm redoing the UI to improve usability. Currently, the UI behaves like the system model, which is fairly complicated because its a relational database model. For example, in the UI you can create an application (MyApp), a directory (DIR), and accounts (Bob). Bob exists under DIR, and DIR exists under MyApp. However, DIR can also be associated with another app - MyApp2.
Our current UI navigation places equal weight on application, directory, and accounts.
If you ask developers about common tasks, they would say sth like "i first create an application, then i create the directory, and then the accounts. Later, I would go into my application and see what accounts are in there." So their user model is application-centric, which has major implications in the UI because supporting this makes it appear inconsistent with the system. So you can imagine, if we have an app-centric UI, a user chooses an application and sees its associated directories and accounts. It implies that a directory exists under a single application (which is not the case, but may possibly be a common use case).
This is the current system model:
This is the user model:
I'm struggling with this inconsistency. The current UI is too bloated and tries to do too much by listing all the capabilities, and designing it with the user model in mind would simplify the UI. But designing the user model seems inconsistent with the actual system model.