Christina currently advises startups and writes at her blog, Eleganthack. Mental models are the assumptions people carry in their minds before interacting with a website or application. Information is easier to discover when it is in a place that matches the user’s mental model of where it should be.
- According to the IAI experts, information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable.
- Once we know our users’ needs we can we can prioritize which architectural components to build.
- Because it makes information easy to access, the users are more likely to make decisions that are beneficial for the website users.
- That’s why it’s always important to get user feedback in how product prototypes may feel and function.
- Knowing your target audience is key – BUT – and it’s a big but – there’s a fine line.
We’ve already mentioned some of the popular tools that are used for creating IA. Here, we’ll briefly list what can be of help at different stages. what is information architecture in web design Co-existing hierarchies pattern – unites several types of hierarchies in case the information from one subpage overlaps the content of another.
The role of information architecture in design
Users should be able to locate all desired information on your website quickly and easily. About the LinkGraph Team Meet our team of talented and friendly people who work hard to empower our clients. Taking the example of the supermarket section of the superstore, you can find bell pepper under the “vegetables” section, which is further categorized under the “organic foods” section. Now how and where the bell peppers are placed also defines its taxonomy. A suitable information architecture example for Ontology can be yellow bell pepper, and red bell pepper is tagged and labeled for a user to identify them separately in a superstore. As you would expect with technology and innovation in general, meanings of terms or definitions also evolve, but it’s important to understand the difference.
The cards contain topics that must be categorized, or pieces of content that must be described. These elements are listed in a content template https://globalcloudteam.com/ with their characteristics included. Practitioners sometimes merge the concepts of information architecture and navigation design.
This approach gives us the least information, but it’s quicker and simpler. We focus on determining how useful, accurate, and overall how effective the content is. When the information architecture makes it easy for users to find what they are searching for, the cost of live help will decrease significantly and so will the need of the written documentation.
You can also use competitor research to inform your categorization efforts. Once you learn their approach to site structure you can decide what ideas you want to borrow and which you want to improve on. Start with categories that apply to the largest groups of similar content.
Step 2: Confirm the tone and way of communicating with the end user
Use a storytelling approach so that stakeholders can easily visualize and understand what you are explaining. Together find best-case scenarios, and worst-case scenarios, and think of how to prevent the latter. In his quest to design a good site structure, information architect Dan Brown laid out 8 principles that he keeps coming back to. Interestingly enough, this ‘science of order’ does not have one unified definition that experts would agree on. But they all agree that, in one way or another, IA is the practice of organizing content in an effective way. As a result, near perfection has become a must to survive in the competitive tech environment.
This process will show you how easily users can find information on your site. Each information architecture project is unique, so the order of the steps might vary. But these steps can help you do the research, analysis, and organization it takes to create a great structure for your next digital project. You may choose to work with a professional information architect or tackle IA on your own.
Apply card sorting for content classification
They work superbly as information architecture diagrams that can be moved around and changed before your design is finalized. As your local librarians will tell you, providing easy access to information is priceless. Information is both empowering and vital for the best individual experience and a better society. However, when it comes to your UX, IA has a more specific importance. It increases your brand’s value to potential clients while bolstering your sales.
This principle comes from a design concept called progressive disclosure which refers to our ability to process new information. Since we have a limit of information that we can absorb at a time, use this strategically so users can anticipate what’s to come. The choreography outlines the rules for how all these components will interact with each other.
Donna Spencer is a freelance information architect, mentor, writer and trainer. 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.