information architecture

Information architecture is the science of figuring out what you want your site to do and then constructing a blueprint before you dive in and put the thing together

Information architecture (also known as IA) is the foundation for great Website / App design. It is the blueprint of the site upon which all other aspects are built - form, function, metaphor, navigation and interface, interaction, and visual design. Initiating the IA process is the first thing you should do when designing/developing a website / app. This series of articles describes specific methods and processes for developing a site's information architecture.

Information architects are often faced with complex requirements, competing goals and high levels of ambiguity. Their task is to derive order from the chaos and reconcile the need for stability with the values of flexibility and scalability.

It starts with usability; looking in detail at users and their information needs. What are their information seeking behaviors? These needs and behaviors can vary greatly. There is no goal more important than to satisfy users' needs. Modeling what happens when users look for information forces us to ask useful questions about what kind of information the user wants, how much information is enough, and how the user actually interacts with the architecture

Many organizations are in opinion that the development of an IA to be impractical, both in terms of the time it takes and the skill needed to do it effectively. However, a good Information architecture is incredibly effective, and can save both time and money in the long run.

Information Architecture, ultimately it involves thinking about your information and who's going to be looking at it and designing a 'living space' for your information that your customers will find comfortable. For example, the design of your home/welcome page is particularly important, as it designing for future growth. Good design will age gracefully, support growth and make the site expandable.

It covers everything from using language that your users will understand (and avoiding jargon and acronym) to providing intuitive paths and a clear conceptual model of the site.

Why it is important to you?

By mapping how users expect to find information and the information you currently have you can improve the structure of the information and also identify gaps or redundant information.Users won't be able to find their way around your site if they can't understand the labels, descriptions and terminology you use.

Too often, a site without an IA map becomes unwieldy as it is built. Help pages, error pages, news article or other archives; all of these can contribute to creating a site that is much larger than originally anticipated. In order to avoid surprises that can severely impede the user experience of a site, it's essential to develop an Information architecture.

How we can help?

By understanding your business objectives, common user tasks, and technical constraints, we can focus on content and functionality that is most valuable, and allows us to make recommendations for you to implement.

We can also perform content audits to find out what types of information exist and how they are related. Then we'll conduct user research to identify what users want and how they expect to get it.

By mapping how users expect to find information and the information you currently have we can improve the structure of the information and also identify gaps or redundant information.