Information Architecture, or IA for short, is the science of structuring content in a clear and understandable way. If you’ve ever been on a website and didn’t know where to click next, this is an example of poor IA. Chances are, you left that website and didn’t return.
When creating a website of your own, it’s important for you to understand what IA is and how to implement an effective strategy. In doing so, you can lead visitors toward important information and help them reach their goals.
What is Information Architecture? How is it Different from Site Navigation?
Although they sound similar and are closely related, there are clear differences between information architecture and site navigation. IA defines site content and functionality. To be successful, you must balance the content of your website within the context it’s presented to fulfill user needs and meet business goals.
Site navigation refers to helping visitors find information quickly and easily while encouraging them to take desirable actions. When you’re successful with both IA and site navigation, you can help users reach specific information on your site. This will make your site valuable and effective.
How Can You Use IA Effectively?
Information architecture is something we discuss with our clients here at Magna Technology. The first step in being successful is understanding your audience. By knowing how your audience consumes content, you can present information in a clear and concise manner.
Start by building a model of your typical site visitor. What are they planning to do? What mood are they in? What frustrations are they trying to solve? You can use this information to present content that triggers specific emotions, motivations and behaviors.
To support your research, get in touch with your audience on social media, in person or through online surveys. This way, you can ask specific questions and capture customer needs. Then, you may start designing your website in a way that makes sense for your audience.
Here are the five steps to creating an information architecture design:
- Conduct customer research
- Update and review content
- Classify and sort content
- Build a user-friendly hierarchy
- Create a UI prototype
Does your website have good IA? If not, contact Magna Technology and we’ll identify ways to improve your website. By understanding your audience and how they consume content, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful website and business.