This step might include user interviews and creating buyer personas. Alphabetical, chronological, topical, or user-segment-based organization systems are all popular online. The information architect’s goal is always to understand the user. They want to understand their needs and goals and how they look for information.

What is Information Architecture

Each mental model is unique and changes constantly, as we collect more information. Well-planned information architecture makes it easy and fun to engage. Whether you’re playing a game on your mobile phone or scrolling a B2B website, it helps you find what you need to reach your goals.

You can find overviews on most of them in our previous article. They mean quick and granted access to your working projects from any device, be it a powerful PC on Windows or your personal iPhone. They are key in conveying global senses in a couple of words.

Define Your Website Goals

Information architecture results in the creation of site maps, hierarchies, categorizations, navigation, and metadata. When a content strategist begins separating content and dividing it into categories, she is practicing information architecture. When a designer sketches a top level menu to help users understand where they are on a site, he is also practicing information architecture. Information architecture is a task often shared by designers, developers, and content strategists. But regardless of who takes on the task, IA is a field of its own, with influences, tools, and resources that are worth investigation. In this article we’ll discuss what information architecture really is, and why it’s a valuable aspect of the user experience process.

What is Information Architecture

They define library science as the development of “knowledge-organization systems.” Library science is the study of how to categorize, catalogue, and locate resources. It is used everywhere from traditional libraries website designers start developing the information architecture for a website by to museums, science labs, and hospitals. They sometimes include animations, branding, or final content. But the most important thing a prototype does is to show how the digital product will function.

Information Architecture Template

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. Depending on your target audience, this word choice can have a big impact on the online experience for your shoppers. You might have a category for women’s apparel that only contains shirts and pants right now. But, over time you can add more sub-categories like dresses or shoes.

Do more user testing with your initial user group to test your final website labels and categories. You can also grab a new informal group for usability testing. Once your website architecture is complete you’ll build wireframes, prototypes, and data models to communicate the new structure to the team. Labeling is fun, and once you start you might just want to keep going.

What is Information Architecture

If you’re working on a solo project, it’s important to remember that you are not your user. Because the process of categorizing is somewhat intuitive, it can be easy to default to your personal preferences. Instead, use this step to focus on your unique users and what they want from your website.

Extraction Of Information Structure By Search Engines

Information is easier to discover when it is in a place that matches the user’s mental model of where it should be. Along the way we’ll share the history, contributors, and tools often used in creating an information architecture. Even if you’re familiar with the discipline already, you can probably pick up something you’ve missed. OmniGraffle is a premium tool that offers everything you need to create a visual sitemap. This kit created by web-based company UI8 contains 250 templates and over 500 elements to get you started creating your information architecture for an app.

What is Information Architecture

We asked the tech pros to give us insight into the hidden-in-plain-sight world of information architecture. Tips on how to design for good discoverability, the concept of discoverability and why it’s important. There are many aspects of IA, but two are important for the cataloguing and organization of information, Taxonomies & Metadata. Ensure that there are different ways a user can browse content on your site. Contents of a category should be described by showing examples of that content.

What Are The Benefits Of Information Architecture Design?

A methodical and comprehensive approach to structuring information is needed to make it findable and understandable irrespective of the context, channel, or medium employed by the user. Context relates to business goals, funding, culture, technology, politics, resources and constraints. Content consists of the document or data types, content objects, volume and existing structures. Users comprise the audience, tasks, needs, experiences and how they seek information.

The key difference is that there are visual characteristics that separate pages from actions. In this information architecture example, Bogomolova built on top of the basic site mapping and added in both child pages and actions. The addition of number values denotes the priority of pages in the information hierarchy rather than leaning on colors.

The groups that you create will form a foundation for the information architecture system. After conducting the research, UX practitioners can use the findings to create user personas that will showcase who the typical user is so that they can create accurate information architecture. These principles are general, but they are very helpful in guiding the design of information architecture. Product teams can evaluate individual decisions according to these principles, and this increases the chances of creating something that is useful and organized. Show enough information to help people understand what kinds of content they’ll find as they dig deeper, but do not overwhelm them.

You don’t need third-party software to edit this template — you can use the presentation software app Keynote. If you don’t have the time or resources for usability testing, you can launch your new IA and then make revisions based on your data. Keep in mind that this approach can impact SEO and user experience while you work out any issues. IA is a crucial step in the creation of any digital product.

  • For example, when designers create apps and websites, they lay out each individual screen so that the user can easily find the information they need.
  • Information Architecture takes a good deal of mental work, and so some IAs prefer to use nothing but paper and pen.
  • In the book, which is more of a history than a how-to, Morrogh talks about the purpose of creating information environments that are beautiful, valuable, and easy to use.
  • But the details of how people create the technology you use every day is still a puzzle.
  • You can read about how we audited the content on our blog here.

Information architecture helps your users find the content they’re most interested in quickly and efficiently. So, a solid information architecture is essential to creating an outstanding user experience. Furthermore, by establishing the structure of your site, it informs your development and sets your site up for long-term evolution and growth. We understand the mechanics of how information architecture is laced in with an excellent UI.


So, when you visit a website you might expect parts of that site to match other websites you visit. Designers use these assumptions to improve the user experience. The difficulty in establishing a common definition for “information architecture” arises partly from the term’s existence in multiple fields. A subset of data architecture where usable data (a.k.a. information) is constructed in and designed or arranged in a fashion most useful or empirically holistic to the users of this data. Extracting required parameters/data of Engineering Designs in the process of creating a knowledge-base linking different systems and standards. The work of an information architect often varies depending on the organization they work for—which can make this question a little tricky to answer.

But the details of how people create the technology you use every day is still a puzzle. Job titles like “information architect” only make you more confused. The Wix website builder offers a complete solution from enterprise-grade infrastructure and business features to advanced SEO and marketing tools–enabling anyone to create and grow online. You can sketch out your wireframes by hand if you’re building a smaller website.

They Keep Into Account The 8 Principles Of Ia Design When Planning

Utilizing good IA in your UX work helps minimize the friction users experience so they can browse or search for specific content with ease. In order to create a hierarchy, the IA needs to consider what the user expects to see as well as how the business wants to show the information . At this step, practitioners think about typical scenarios of user-to-product interaction and use this information to design information architecture diagrams. Usually these diagrams are in a sitemap format that illustrates the hierarchy of the content across a website.

The Best Information Architecture Tool

Start with categories that apply to the largest groups of similar content. For example, if your marketing website has 15 blogs on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, you could simplify that grouping to “Social Media.” You may choose to work with a professional information architect or tackle IA on your own. Design, development, and engineering teams often work together on the process.

The process of user research depends on the nature of your product. The aim of information architecture is to fulfill a business’s goals. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve with this product?

If you cannot articulate a business’s goals, chances are that you will end up creating poor information architecture. When it comes to building website information architecture for a product or service, there are many things to take into account. But before you start building anything, it’s vital to understand the foundational elements of information architecture. Similar to information architecture, navigation relies on good usability. However, when the product team creates a navigation system, the goal is to find a pattern that fits the structure of information the best. It’s nearly impossible to design good navigation without having a solid structure of information underneath.