Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video What is information architecture?, part of Foundations of UX: Information Architecture.
- View Offline
People often use the words information architecture to mean the menus on a website, but that's not really correct. The menus are part of the information architecture, but they're only one part of it. The Information Architecture Institute says, we define information architecture as the art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities and software To support usability and findability. So, the term information architecture refers to how you show visitors to your site or users of your application, the content you have and the actions they can perform.
As you can imagine, that encompasses your menus, the items you put on the page Your site's structure and even the terminology that you use to describe things. It obviously makes sense to show your visitors or users this information in a way they normally think about it. Then the navigation structure feels natural and blends into the background. The content feels logically grouped. Searching, sorting, and filtering information becomes second nature. The end result is that people can focus on their tasks, not on finding their way around.
It's unlikely that your site or product is unique. There are probably several other alternatives that people could use. Having a clear information architecture that helps users easily complete their tasks, means they'll find your site or product more usable. And so they'll be more likely to use it than one of your competitors. On the other hand, if they can't find what they're looking for, or if you don't present information the way they expect to see it shown, people will abandon your site and move on to someone else's. For that reason, having a clear and well thought out information architecture, is a big competitive advantage.
- What is information architecture?
- Why do research?
- Creating and running a paper card sort
- Recruiting test participants
- Analyzing paper card sort results
- Running a computer-based card sort
- Creating abstract information architecture
- Validating your plan with a reverse card sort
- Translating information architecture to navigation and layout
- Watching the server after you go live