Complete Beginner’s Guide to Information Architecture

If you are redesigning your website then it’s recommended to update and review your website content. If you have already performed the above two steps then you must be aware of what your users want and your website’s purpose. Once you are aware of your user needs then depending on the data you have collected you can make changes in the content of your previous website. In this particular step, you need to focus on two important parts that are your website content inventory and the website audit. It can be only achieved when you have a well-planned information architecture for your website.

Much of the structure may stay the same and provide consistency between versions so users don’t get confused. Information architecture should be a holistic process, so when a new product or service is being designed, it’s important to start with IA. Good IA serves as the foundation of effective user experience design.

information architecture for web design

And today users don’t have much patience when it comes to finding the answer on the internet. If you are adding more minutes and seconds then you might end up creating a bad user experience which can result in low engagement and conversion. For information architecture web design existing products, IA design can be beneficial during product redesign because team members can address the areas in a product that cause major friction. Researching what users need and want is critical for creating an effective IA design.

This in itself makes Wikipedia’s information architecture one of the best online; they understand how visitors use the site and make it easier for them to do what they need to do. Considering the user-generated nature of Wikipedia, it’s a great feat that the site manages to have anything resembling good information architecture. But, for the most part, the site is organized in a manner that makes it easy to find content. What works best will vary based on things like how often content is updated, how much content there is, and how visitors use the site. Here are some case examples to show you how content is structured on different kinds of websites.

Visual Sitemap Examples for Website Designs

In terms of designing information architecture, it’s critical to follow the blueprint. Specific user behaviors, individual pages, and context for decision points are essential factors to consider. The way of presenting Information Architecture depends on you and your team’s preferences. This way we can effectively visualize the Information Architecture along with its flows. When your users can find what they’re looking for easily and intuitively, with minimum steps possible, the chance of conversion rises. Thanks to good navigation and Information Architecture users not only know which path to take to achieve their goal, but it’s also easy to acknowledge where they are right now.

It’s close cousins with user experience design as both fields work tightly together to create the blueprints for digital experiences. Testing activities can be conducted at different stages of the design process to guide designers and polish IA. They are often a part of the research phase, especially if you’re looking for ways to redesign an existing app or website.

Association for Information Science and Technology

She is the author of A Practical Guide to Information Architecture, and two other books for user experience practitioners. Donna has 9 years experience working in-house and as a consultant doing strategic and tactical design. She has designed large intranets & websites, e-commerce & search systems, business applications, design patterns and a CMS. Donna is also the co-organizer of UX Australia, which she now runs. To learn about the project’s audiences, IAs need access to the results of usability tests, card sorting exercises, stakeholder interviews, and user interviews, just to name a few. Often, an information architect will take an active role in facilitating interviews or card sorts, where they can see how a prospective user would categorize a variety of terms.

information architecture for web design

Top-down architecture starts with a broad overview and understanding of the website’s strategy and goals, and creates a basic structure first. Researching what your users need and want is one of the most important steps in creating an effective information architecture. Usually, IA architects create clickable wireframes that serve utility-only purposes, with a limited number of graphic elements. Later, visual designers use these clickable wireframes as a reference when they create the actual layouts. Depending on the stage of your development, whether you have existing content to work with, or you’re starting from scratch, your information architecture needs will change. Hopefully these examples provide some inspiration for how you can structure your own IA, and visualize your website contents.

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Nick has spent the last 10 years working in the software industry with a specialized focus on research and development. He counts advertising, psychology, and cinema among his myriad interests. In this article, we will review IA best practices and share the best information architecture templates that will help you design great IA.

  • He always tries to deliver innovative solutions and provide users with a more personalized experience with Amelia.
  • Depending on the multiple personalities you create you can segment your audience that fits into each of those categories.
  • Researching what users need and want is critical for creating an effective IA design.
  • Hybrid – unites elements of both types, or starts with an open type, moving to the closed type to follow user logic.
  • The benefits of well-built information architecture for businesses fully depend on the benefits that the end-users achieve from using the product.
  • Information architecture is, like a blueprint, a visual representation of the product’s infrastructure, features, and hierarchy.

In reverse card sorting, the cards are pre-sorted into groups, and users are then given the task of rearranging them as they see fit. Card sorting is a low-cost, simple way to figure out how best to group and organize your content based on user input. You could get feedback through interviews or experiment with A/B tests and other usability testing methods prior to launch to see if users are able to navigate your site efficiently. Some websites use a strict hierarchy of pages for their information design.

So it can be another reason that you can take into account while making your list on why you need to have an effective information architecture for your website. The complete information architecture of your website can look a lot like a spreadsheet. There are high chances that it can actually be a spreadsheet with rows of information and columns of details about your whole website. During the redesign process, you can add another column in the spreadsheet which can be called the migrator. That is the reason why near perfection has become crucial to service in the competitive marketplace. A well-planned information architecture ensures that things on your website are placed where they should be on the website.

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For instance, if you are an information architect who manages Linux databases and want to learn more about how to back up a PostgreSQL Database with pg_dump, you can find more information here. Well-planned information architecture can enhance the whole website user experience whereas ignoring to create a proper IA can never help you to accomplish the desired goal. Today with the increase in the number of competition good IA has become essential as it offers a competitive advantage over others.

information architecture for web design

If fin aid or scholarship is available for your learning program selection, you’ll find a link to apply on the description page. This option lets you see all course materials, submit required assessments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate experience. Tips when conducting your content inventory to capture quantitative and qualitative data from your content assets. IA practitioners need to ensure that the logic of content organization continues to work well for their target audience. Learn the concept of hamburger menu and great examples of websites created with it at Adobe XD Ideas.

The eight principles of Information Architecture

It’s important to note that you should prepare content alongside the product design or even prior to the design stage. As we mentioned above, content and context play a crucial role in information architecture. A product team should operate with at least the approximate volume of the content presented on a website or app. In our modern world, people expect to find a solution to their problems within minimum time and effort. What’s more, after an unpleasant experience with the product, users will unlikely return to it ever again.

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But still, they fail to achieve that not because the marketing strategy is not effective but the website you are creating and offering might be failing to engage with your site visitors. If users landing on your website are failing to find the right information, product or services then you have to spend more and more dollars in driving more traffic and conversion on your website. When you plan to create the information architecture you need to have a clear idea about your prospects and it’s always recommended to keep different types of users in mind.

Creating a well-designed Information Architecture

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? That’s why we need to organize content in a logical way and make it as easy as possible for users to find what they need. By now you should have a pretty clear idea what your projects will be about and who your target audience is. This week we will talk about how to take the user and client needs that you have established and create a set of content and functionality requirements from them.

Every user landing on your website will look to perform the tasks as quickly as possible, whether it’s finding information about products/services or about your business. With good information architecture, you can make things easy for your site visitors as they can quickly access the information on your website. IA informs the content strategy, user interface design, and interaction design. Creating a content-first experience–considering content early on in design projects and letting it inform product design decisions–is a significant goal for many products. To achieve this, it’s important to ensure that IA forms the skeleton of the design project.

There are high chances that your site visitor might look at your competitor’s website to find the solution. By using them, we define a visual hierarchy of information on the page as well as connections between subsequent views of the application. The next step is to define the navigation, the hierarchy of the individual pages, and to design how and when to display them.

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