The Importance of Information Architecture to UX Design :: UXmatters

Information Architecture takes a good deal of mental work, and so some IAs prefer to use nothing but paper and pen. However, ultimately, information architecture results in site map creation, metadata tagging, and categorization—all of which needs to be shared with clients in one visual format or another. Some information architects also create site wireframes, which require additional tools. Here, we’ll review some of the products information architects use to create site maps, define categories, and design wireframes. We mentioned earlier the importance of making decisions as to where information lives.

what is information architecture in web design

At the same time, it’s a good idea to create a powerful homepage that links to the main sections of your site. Hierarchical models show information in a hierarchy from most to least important. In this model, every page has equal importance, and they all have the same priority in the navigation.

What is the value of information architecture in UX design?

The goal of information architecture is to classify the content in a clear and understandable way and arrange it according to relations between the content pieces, allowing users to find what they need with less effort. Not applied solely when creating a product from scratch, IA is used in redesign. Any mobile application is all about the content it is based on and the way it is organized. Your texts, visuals, videos, audios, etc. can be awesome on their own, but if you make it too complicated for the user to reach them and enjoy their awesomeness, your app is doomed. Most site navigation interfaces provide global navigation links that allow users to jump from one major site area to another without being forced to back up to a central home page or submenu.

what is information architecture in web design

In my spare time, I make videos about design, tech, and other passions. If we’re dealing with a blogging site, users should know what category they’re in, and how they can navigate through the larger structure of the site from there. An example of Information Architecture structure for an eCommerce siteIt might not be the most exciting, but IA is definitely one of the most important aspects of UX design.

Then you should only list products under the Products link and services under the Services link. The eight principles of IA were first proposed by information architect and UX designer Dan Brown in a 2010 issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. His aim was to define a set of “guidelines based in universal truths that provide a sketch of what makes any information architecture good.” Alphabetical, chronological, topical, or user-segment-based organization systems are all popular online. The information architect’s goal is always to understand the user.

Organizational systems

Principle of choices — the pages of a product should offer a number of meaningful choices to users. These types can complement each other, but the main principle of good navigation is to avoid overloading with guiding elements. Hybrid – unites elements of both types, or starts with an open type, moving to the closed type to follow user logic.

what is information architecture in web design

Information architecture has been compared to a road map, a library and a musical score. It has to be easily scalable (i.e. it has to be easy to add new features to the app after its release). You can also learn with your fellow course-takers and use the discussion forums to get feedback and inspire other people who are learning alongside you. You and your fellow course-takers have a huge knowledge and experience base between you, so we think you should take advantage of it whenever possible. How all of your content interacts together in the grand performance of a single user’s experience is the ultimate consideration of information architecture.

Hierarchy design patterns

So, in this case, it is better to reconsider your choice and opt for another pattern with less complicated navigation. This pattern is used for websites; however, it has found its application in mobile app design as well. Basically, you create one index page that has links to other pages, which in turn can also contain links to more subpages. First and foremost, the user interaction with a smartphone is based on swipes and taps instead of clicks and keyboard shortcuts. The screen is significantly smaller, so fewer elements can fit into it. Information Architecture is the art of transforming your thoughts into output for seamless browsing.

  • He counts advertising, psychology, and cinema among his myriad interests.
  • When you click on a web link about a particular topic, you expect the link to take you to a specific piece of content and not to the home page of Wikipedia.
  • This system determines how the pages interact with each other and how accessible the content is.
  • Information architects gather users’ needs and content and turn them into something understandable.
  • Plus, if people leave your website or application before completing the desired action, it will be hard to win them back with remarketing because of the bad impression.

Information architecture strives to make a website’s value immediately understandable to users. The metaphors designers and engineers use to describe information architecture are not just fanciful descriptions. They reflect the diversity of forms a website or app can take and important differences in how designers think about organizing the flow of information within and across pages. Jeff Link is a Built In contributing reporter covering design, UX and product development.

What is Information Architecture? (UX Tips and Examples)

Focused navigation – Navigation should be simple to avoid confusing the users instead of helping them find the information they need. Exemplars – Showing examples of the published content for each category will help the user decide whether the content included in that category is relevant for him or not. The principles of choices refer to the fact that fewer elements are the key to good project design. Overcrowding a website with elements is the opposite of this principle. Powerful UI design and quality content are completely irrelevant if the IA design is ignored. The Information Architecture must be defined first, while the navigation system can be set up afterward.

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Not all listed properties are on one main page – the list would go on forever, and you would never see any of your interests. That’s why architects gather information from each property, then create filters for pricing and features which save users time and headaches. It makes digital products useful, understandable, and long-lasting. When you open applications with good IA, chances are you won’t feel the complexity of the elements.

Think about what you want users to do on each page, just like you organise objects in your house based on how likely you are to use those things for main tasks in each room. IA are the gatekeepers of the operation map for digital systems. Their knowledge is essential for helping drive teams to make the best decision. It helps bring teams together for ultimate collaboration from anywhere. They have a free version with an unlimited number of collaborators with plenty of features, but the free version has a limit in the number of projects though.

How to Create Information Architecture for UX

Wireframing is used to visualize the ideas of how a certain page or a screen can look, and it is useful for presenting and discussing these ideas with other stakeholders. This pattern is good for multi-functional apps where each tool or feature has its own purpose and internal navigation. However, if your app is aimed at users who would like to multi-task, this pattern won’t work well.

For instance, if the client specified that he would like the FAQ section under the Product category, the information architect must respect this requirement, even though it might not be the exact way he would do it. Disclosure – Information previews are the ones that instill curiosity. Users will only dig deeper to find more content if they are interested in what they assimilate from the preview.

Offer users several different classification schemes to browse the site’s content. Show enough information to help people understand what kinds of content they’ll find as they dig deeper, but do not overwhelm them. This is why navigation design is a result of information architecture design, and why information architecture should be defined before navigation. Join the Shopify Partner Program for free and access educational resources, developer preview environments, and recurring revenue share opportunities. Based on your content audit you can see how effective each page is in terms of the metrics you’re using.

This made the information architecture messy with users struggling to find what they need and getting lost in redundant menu items. First click testing can detect navigation and layout problems at the prototyping stage or on a functioning website/app. As you conduct the testing, remember to collect qualitative data in addition to quantitative information on clicks.

what is information architecture in web design

It is important to perceive content as an organic whole, with its own image, strengths, and weaknesses. The initial stage in developing a strategy for presenting information involves organizing all the categories of defining information architecture content objects and determining the types of interactions users need to have with those content objects. The task of the information architect or designer is to present the content to visitors most efficiently.

What is Information Architecture? – Examples & Definition

By the end, you will have the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to conceive your first information architecture diagram. The site uses two levels of navigation, then displays content tagged with different taxonomy terms. Go into How-To & Tools to find all the different articles they have about Methods, Resources & Templates, and Guidance.

For example, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a mental model of time management. People create mental models to understand and interact with the world. Each mental model is unique and changes constantly, as we collect more information. Well-planned information architecture makes it easy and fun to engage. Whether you’re playing a game on your mobile phone or scrolling a B2B website, it helps you find what you need to reach your goals.

At its core, information architecture is a plan or thought out system of how content will be accessible to users on a website or mobile app. In the first lesson, you’ll learn what user experience design is and what a UX designer does. You’ll also learn about the importance of portfolios and what hiring managers look for in them. As indicated by Don Norman, User Experience is an umbrella term that covers several areas. When you work with user experience, it’s crucial to understand what those areas are so that you know how best to apply the tools available to you.