Need your advice on solving a sitemap issue



I’m having issues with a client who wants his website to be “evolutionary.” (Financial Industry). He is pushing back against the sitemap I created because of its use of best practices, which he equates to boring and “same as everyone else.”

We’ve provided SEO data, card sorting test results, articles on sitemap dos and don’t, and other real-world examples. His argument is that what people search for, like “How do I move my money” doesn’t equate to a navigation item labeled “Checking.” He wants my sitemap structure and taxonomy to match what people are really typing and searching for.

Has anyone come across this? How would you handle it?

I appreciate your feedback in advance.




It appears he would like to focus on task based call to action items. Depending on his hierarchy of importance, task based navigation may not be an awful idea. Some more context may help. Perhaps a compromise would be to provide an aside or section area that presents top 5-7 task based content items up front. Another is providing a leading navigation label of I want to … and using the nesting links as completions for the tasks he feels should be placed at that level.
John C


Thank you so much for your input. Yes, it’s a task-based navigation they seem to prefer, though I can’t find any evidence that this is a preferred UX. Your compromise seems great – they’re a tough sell though.



A task-based IA isn’t unheard of. Also, using verbs in your navigation may help. There are some books on the topic…
Information Architecture for the Worldwide Web (4th Ed), Blueprints for the Web, and a few others.

There seems to be a disconnect between the structure (browsing/findability) and searching with the stakeholder. A sitemap may not be the best deliverable. You may have to come up with something new or combine a sitemap and content map.


Twitter says

Sure. I love jobs to be done as a basis for design. So surfacing the tasks that sit under a JTBD is a great way to go.


My (as usual) unpopular opinion - let him do it his way and potentially fail. It’s his business after all - if he’s going to hire you and then not listen, that’s his problem.

Mind you, ‘how do I move my money’ wouldn’t be findable under ‘Checking’ so maybe you need to do some tree testing on normal tasks against your own recommendations…


But fact is, you can’t usually include all the tasks people do in navigation - it’s rare that there are a small enough set of tasks that they can fit. And tasks tend to have long labels. That’s why we tend to group them into noun objects, not verb objects…