Building a successful website requires much more than mere coding and graphics. A well-structured information architecture that leads to optimal user experience is quintessential to creating an interactive and user-friendly website.
What is Information Architecture (IA)?
Information Architecture is the art and science of organizing, labelling and structuring content of website such that it supports usability and offers good user experience. It is the discipline that focuses on organizing information within digital products. Web application development company researches on browsing behaviour of users and accordingly organizes the content and flow of a website.
For any website, there could be a lot of directions to go to and many ideas that could help enhance it. Information Architecture helps to get the solution that works best for the brand and further optimize the UX of the website.
What is the Purpose of Information Architecture?
The prime goal of IA is to create the best user experience and build a solid customer base by focusing on the attention of the user on the most important conversions. The Information Architecture team begins by informing and optimizing the design and usability of a website. They examine the business needs of a user at an early stage and develop a solution to them.
When a user visits any website, he/she has a set of fundamental questions in mind:
- Have I come to the right website?
- Do they have what I am looking for?
- Can they offer me something better than others?
- What should I do now?
The end goal of Information Architecture is to structure the website in a way that it answers all these questions without much effort. This is achieved with the help of strategically planned Information Architecture that takes care of following elements:
- Assure visitors that they have come to the right place. Give a glimpse of what your company is into at the very first glance of users onto the website.
- Present users with the information they are looking for through clear navigation and easy search.
- Highlight the USP of your product or service to make a good first impression in the minds of users.
- Give users an easy access to CTA button from any page of the website.
How Does Information Architecture Help in Improving User Experience?
Time is one’s most vital resource. In today’s world, people want solutions to their problems the quickest with the least amount of effort. Therefore if a website serves slow or complicated information people would tend to become uninterested and could abandon it. Information Architecture plays a key role here. It is the backbone design of the website which helps to optimize the UX of the website.
Information architecture is at the foundation of website’s user experience. Well planned, structured and labelled information architecture helps visitors find what they need. It also enables businesses to take the necessary action that helps to achieve their business objectives.
Only if users can find what they need, they can buy anything from you. User experience coming from good information architecture is directly connected to high conversion rate. IA allows in organizing the content, images and other media in the way that sells. Create an effective and user-friendly website by communicating with top web designers and developers to build an informed information architecture that delivers optimum user experience.
Remember, promoting engaging and interactive websites can be the key to the success of your business. There are several firms offering similar goods and services and hence, improving customer engagement and maximizing their satisfaction can be the key ways of optimizing sales.
Moreover, information architects must also keep in mind the target audience of the website. Of course, all individuals visiting the site are not tech-savvy. Thus, it is vital to maintain a simple website interface and develop a user-friendly site.
Experts think of Information Architecture as a part of user experience design that contributes to make the content on the website usable and understandable for visitors.
5 Steps on How To Create A Website Information Architecture
To create a website that would help users meet their goals and requirements, it is very essential to first understand the user’s goals, problems, and aspirations. This would help create the website in a way that makes the information needed by the user more accessible and also optimize the UX of the website.
Here are 5 steps that explain how to create Information Architecture for a website:
- Gather data about the website users before working on the website architecture. This is one of the most crucial roles of creating an information architecture. This is because it is vital to understand the needs of the website, its target audience, and other factors before designing it.
- Create customer personas and user stories that would help design the website for real people. This can enhance engagement on the website and also add a unique touch to it. Remember, creativity and innovation are the main ways to win over competitive firms.
- Build the information architecture with metadata, and scenarios featuring customer personas and map individual web pages.
- Create user flows that map the progression of users through your site.
- Gather feedback on your website architecture and make sitemaps and wireframes to communicate your proposals and findings.
Evaluation Criteria of User Experience & Information Architecture
The success of website is the measurement of perfectly implemented information architecture. Following are other key heuristics to evaluate the effectiveness of IA and UX:
- Usability: Is the information structured in a format that is easily consumable by the target audience? Does the information provide enough utility to the users?
- Accessibility: Is important information and CTA easily accessible and consistent across all web pages? Can the customers reach out to the employees in case of queries?
- Searchable: Does the website offer easy search option? Is it possible for users to get the required information with relevant keywords?
- Credibility: Is the information displayed on the website convincing enough for the users of its purpose and usability? Is the information genuine and authentic?
- Transparency: Is the content understandable by users in the first interaction?
- Interactivity: Is the flow of content engaging for users to indulge in an interaction with the website?
- Uniqueness: Is the structure and placement of content and media on website unique? Does it attract users because of its uniqueness?
What is the work of an Information Architect?
Information Architect structure content in a website that makes it easier for users to find what they are looking for and optimize the UX of the website. The significance of the role of an information architect increases with the increase in the amount of content that a website has.
Here are certain activities that require the role of an information architect:
- User Research
They research user needs. For any website to run successfully it is important to maximize user satisfaction. To do this it is essential to first recognize what the user would want from the website. Then they would organize the information as per the user’s needs.
- Content inventory, grouping, and audits
A content inventory is a spreadsheet or a list that shows what content lives where. Content grouping helps to identify the relationship between two or more pieces of information. The content audit gives an insight into the effectiveness of the content. These allow the information architects to have a good understanding of the content that the product offers.
- Taxonomy and labeling
Taxonomy is the process of classifying items based on similarities. The information architect organizes the items using categories or sections, in an easily scalable manner because the functionality and content of the product will grow. Labeling is also a vital part of IA design because it helps users to discover the information.
- Creating hierarchy and navigation
Hierarchy and navigation are two essential components of IA. The hierarchy consists of designing content based on what the user expects to see one after another. While navigation involves making these contents easy to navigate through.
Information architect work on creating low-fidelity prototypes that are simple and demonstrates the hierarchy of information and navigation.
What’s the Difference between IA and UX?
The terms ‘User Experience’ and ‘Information Architecture’ are definitely related to each other, but they are not one and the same. Information architecture is more like a blueprint of the design structure that is further shaped into wireframes and sitemaps of the website. UX experts use these blueprints as reference for planning navigation system.
Information architects develop a usable content structure out of other complex sets of information. Whereas, UX designers make things more profound to enhance the UX of the website.
IA is an independent component whereas UX cannot be present without the IA.
The main aim of IA focuses on converting complex information into easily understandable ones. The main objective of UX is to increase the system efficiency and utility for the users to access the content.
IA focuses on helping users to find information and complete tasks while UX focuses on providing the customer with a satisfactory site experience.
UX design goes beyond mere content structuring. The main aim of user experience is to account for pleasant interaction model so that users feel extremely comfortable in accessing the website. Talking about the UX of website, it includes various aspects of user’s behaviour and actions; whereas Information Architecture experts design the structure as per user’s goals.
On a Concluding Note…
Information architecture is the foundation for implementing user-centric approach in design. Interaction, seamless navigation, visual elements and functionality of website are built according to the information architecture principles. As a matter of fact, even compelling content elements and powerful UI/UX design can fail without appropriate IA.
Companies that ignore the significance of information architecture face issues of less interactivity with users, lower engagement rate and reduced website traffic. Though building a systematic IA is a time consuming process, hiring services of a leading web application development company could be a great help!
Hidden Brains is a reputed website development company that designs well-thought information architecture to account for excellent user experience. Our creative and talented designers also offer template and brochure designing services that help your business to grow. We reduce the possibility of usability and navigation problems by designing flawless information architecture of website.
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