As the famous UX designer, Jared Spool once said, “Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.” The same is the case with Information Architecture (IA). By definition, IA is the art of arranging and organizing content in an effective way so that it integrates with the overall web design. In this world of information, the work of information architects, UX designers, and content managers has become more important than ever. If you are someone striving to become a good UX designer, here are some important things that you need to know about information architecture.
Information Architecture Should be based on Mental Models of Your Users
A mental model of something is a person’s thought process of how something works out in the real world. For example, it is common knowledge that all underlined text on the internet follows an established metal model, i.e., blue color. So, wherever a person sees a blue colored text on a website, he automatically perceives that the text is linked to another website. So, information architecture makes sure that the content is labeled to match a user’s understanding of the web. All UX designers should optimize the website according to the established mental models so that users feel comfortable when browsing through a website.
8 Principles of Information Architecture
Dan Brown, a famous UX designer, and an information architect proposed 8 principles of information architecture. These include the principles of objects, choices, disclosure, exemplars, front doors, multiple classification, focused navigation, and growth. By following these principles, you get a head start when it comes to creating and assessing the structure of a website. If you want to read more about the components of Information architecture, you can browse over to the linked article. It’s important to understand IA because it has a huge impact on product design, enabling users to find things more efficiently. Experts at Adobe mention “IA has a tremendous impact on product design by making it easier for users to find important information”
3 Processes of Information
Information architecture is to a website what a foundation is to a building. Before you begin tailoring a website in accordance with IA, there are some processes that you must follow. You need to define business goals and ask yourself questions like what you want to achieve. Your goals can fall under different categories, for example, some companies want to make more money, and others want to help their customers make better decisions. Furthermore, you should look into the competitors of your clients and start defining content that is unique and provides users with value.
Information Architecture Provides Value to Content
There are lots of businesses out there that pay hundreds of dollars to generate valuable content for their product or services. However, this valuable content will remain undiscovered if businesses won’t optimize it for information architecture. The world has turned into an online mesh where information is just a few clicks away. As there is such a huge overload of information, if you don’t deliver the right information to your customers at the right time, they will flock away. So, information architecture plays a great part in putting valuable content in front of users.