Before I tell you about the steps to create an Information Architecture is, let’s talk a little about the three components that are essential while creating a website or product.
- Information Architecture – Helping users know where they are and find what they are looking for.
- Usability – It is how easily or intuitively the user is able to find content or perform an action.
- User Experience – The emotional state of the user while performing an action.
Many confuse between the terms usability and user experience. They are not the same. However, you should know that IA helps usability and usability helps build better user experience. Which means, however different in their purpose, they are somewhere related.
What is information architecture?
Information architecture is about helping people understand their surroundings and find what they’re looking for, in the real world as well as online. – Information Architecture Institute
This quote from the Information Architecture Institute covers the definition of IA. It’s helping users find where they are and what they are looking for. The purpose of an IA is also to help your content strategy with words, and your user-interface designer with design or interaction ideas. IA plays a major role in the wireframing and prototyping process.
What are the components of an information architecture?
Your users are the most important component of the IA. There are a few things that you need to identify for the user segment.
- Who is your target audience?
- Prioritize different TGs. Give a percentage of importance.
- What do they need?
- Where are they coming to your website from?
Answer these questions, and you’ll have enough information to proceed to the next step. Now, it is important that you prioritize your TG. Based on the percentage allocated for each TG, your amount of content will change.
Content is all about the business. Identify everything about the business. Ask these questions.
- What is the business goal or objective?
- How is the website going to help? What is the objective of the website?
- Prioritize your objectives. Add percentage.
Your website may have multiple objectives. And the importance of it may differ from time to time. So, your information architecture will also adjust itself based on your website’s objective.
Similar to the two above, you need to identify the objective of your content. Think what documents you need to add or how much content you want to add.
Activities to create an information architecture?
Write down everything that your website should have. Don’t think of categorization or where to place them, just write down everything. However, this should meet your Users, Context and Content objectives.
Organization Schemes and Structures
Once you have listed down all your content, you need to categorize and organize it into structures. Here you prepare how the user will find the content. Based on your priorities above, your schemes and structures will be defined. For example, if sales were your first priority, then you must have products somewhere easily visible.
Wireframes are the visual representation of your content structures. There are many free and paid tools available for creating wireframes. I personally like and use Moqups.com. You can also try Balsamiq and Pencil. They are both good.
That’s it. Follow these, and you will be able to create an information architecture that suits your users and your business needs.
If you have any queries or comments, feel free to email it to [email protected]