Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Information architecture and wireframing, part of UX Foundations: Content Strategy.
- [Voiceover] An architect is defined as a person who designs buildings to accommodate people and in many cases, also supervises their construction. An information architect does much the same, only in a different context. They design structures that accommodate content, and in many cases, also supervise their construction. Information architecture is a science all its own, and many larger design companies employ their own information architects, solely focused on that speciality. That said, information architecture is also an integral part of the overall content strategy of any project.
The common definition of the term describes it quite well. Information architecture is the structural design of shared information environments, the art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities, and software to support usability and findability. When creating an information architecture for a project, I like to start by combining the user flows with the finalized content audit and content models. These documents provide guidance and a clear picture of what flows need to be prioritized, what content is available, and what types of content need to be accommodated.
The actual information architecture typically splits into two levels. At the macro level, the information architecture maps out the organization, labeling, and structure of different components on the project in a stylistic site map or flowchart. This usually takes the shape of a hierarchical flowchart showing the individual views of the project and how they relate and link to each other. At the micro level, the information architecture maps out wireframes for individual views across varying screen widths and presentation platforms.
The goal is to ensure the content priority and hierarchy is maintained, and the content is presented in a logical way that is easy to consume and navigate. During the information architecture process, each piece or chunk of content is considered and placed in order of relevance, relationship, and type. We can do this by asking questions like, "How do we structure these pieces of content "to make them easy to consume and understand? "What is the nature of each piece of content, "and how do we accommodate it? "After seeing this piece of content, "what is the next thing the audience "will look for or need?" The result of this process is a set of maps outlining the structure of your content and how it will be presented to the audience.
The art and science of information architecture is far too rich to cover in this course. For a more in-depth look, check out our course, Foundations of UX: Information Architecture.
Learn the four elements of constructing meaningful content, from identifying your audience and structuring and wireframing content to developing content guidelines and measuring the success of your efforts. Author Morten Rand-Hendriksen also shows you how to develop persona spectrums to better understand your users and evaluate the needs of important stakeholders and influencers.
- What is content?
- The components of content strategy
- Identifying stakeholders and audience
- Developing user persona spectrums
- Auditing your content
- Building guides, templates, and workflows
- Creating the content
- Measuring success