Software development

What is Information Architecture? IxDF

Competitive research, your sitemap, and user research are all important. Website navigation that feels natural grows out of the research and planning you’ve done up to this point. So, your next step is to develop navigation that makes your categories and taxonomies easy to find.

information architecture

An information architect’s job is to create a UX that allows the user to focus on the task they want to complete – not finding their way around the site. Your customers expect to find the solution to their problem with minimal effort when they come to your site. If finding that information is slow or complicated – or if your site is disorganized – there’s a risk they’ll leave and go somewhere else. Once gone, it’s difficult to bring them back, and that’s why information architecture web design is so critical.

Test Your Information Architecture With Tree Testing

To do this, you need to understand how the pieces fit together to create the larger picture, how items relate to each other within the system. The key difference between your brand website and your knowledge base is having a UX designer in charge of how information is presented. Your knowledge bases tends to have fewer stakeholders interested in its design, and thus the development of content is more organic. You need to arrange your help content into logical and meaningful categories in order to create a coherent system for your users within your knowledge base.

  • It’s how the content on a website, intranet, online community, or other digital space is organized and labeled.
  • After each round of research, take careful notes on what works and what you need to approach in a different way for future testing.
  • We want to make sure that the content that users see is relevant to the page they’re on.
  • If you’re considering using a flat site, be sure that the content will not eventually grow to the point that this kind of structure would become unwieldy.

On larger websites, each departmental silo wants its own section of the site, and they often fight to ensure their section is featured in the main navigation. Even small sites suffer from problems with information architecture as business owners focus more on what they want to say rather than what users want to know. The Global Seed Networkis an initiative that supports diversity and protects the public food system by encouraging farmers and gardeners to share seeds of different plants. The site’s information architecture has a simple navigation system and allows new visitors to sign up in two steps and find the available types of seeds right at the homepage.

What is Information Architecture? (UX Tips and Examples)

The most effective labels help users quickly see where they can get the answers they want. Because you can find just about anything on the internet, users rely on images to contextualize simple text. For example, the label «Best Sellers» on the Thirteen Lune home page. This simple phrase lets shoppers know that once they click the link they will see the most popular products on the site. For example, The National Endowment for the Arts website has common labels like «News» and «About,» but it also has unique labels like «Grants» and «Initiatives» that relate to what the NEA does.

information architecture

The ultimate purpose of information architecture testing is to increase content findability and help users find what they are looking for on the website or app. Organizing and labeling content are two major hindrances to navigation, findability, and user experience. Information Architecture is the art of transforming your thoughts into output for seamless browsing.

Step 1. Define User Goals

With a strict hierarchy, pages are only accessible from their parent page. This can be a great structure for sites that wish to guide users through information in a very specific manner, without allowing them to skip ahead. Because of this, these kinds of structures work well on educational sites, where one lesson builds upon the last. By only allowing users to access a new page from its parent page, you prevent users from skipping ahead to information they might not understand. A single page site puts all of the content and information on just one page. This works best on a site with limited content and a very focused purpose.

information architecture

An example user could tell us a lot about possible routes and what relationships these programs could have. On the Classes & Events page, REI «hides» the list of available classes behind a thoughtful search and filter option. Not only does this prevent overwhelm or confusion at seeing courses not in your location, but it also gives you an efficient way to discover the content you do want to see.

Content audit

Information architects will also work with other departments to ensure information is presented to users clearly. The simplest example to understand that is an e-commerce application. Imagine you enter an app trying to find new sneakers, and there’s no clear navigation nor search bar. How much time will it take to leave the app and go to the competition?

Spotify’s website featured a co-existing hierarchy pattern with reiteration and partial reiteration of some sections. This made the information architecture messy with users struggling to find what they need and getting lost in redundant menu items. Although a sitemap is the first prototype in information architecture development, you still have to create advanced prototypes by wireframing and data modeling. Index pages pattern – consists of a home page and equally important subpages. This type is one of the most common choices for websites because it’s simple, familiar, and deep enough for most use cases. The next step involves grouping content into different categories.

Related UX Design Articles

IA is the foundation of the UX process, opening the door to all other aspects of user experience design. That is why every competent UX designer should have IA skills – and it’s a component of many UX courses. What I am trying to say here is that you can use existing information architectures from other websites and this should be your first step before creating everything by yourself. Architecture certainly is designing and constructing buildings, as much as UX is designing and constructing apps/websites. While the end products are different, the design process of architecture is very similar to the way we approach IA and UX design. Not shocking, I know, since design thinking is designed to be universal, but let’s explore.

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