Supporting UX Through Information Architecture

What is information architecture?

Information architecture refers to a website’s labels, content organisation, navigation structure and search.

Why is it important?

When done correctly, your IA should help users find the information they want quickly and easily. When users can’t find what they want on a website they get annoyed and frustrated, so leave, with their confidence in your website and brand damaged.

A good information architecture also improves findability, which will increase conversion rates and lower your servicing costs.

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How do you create a good information architecture?

Research

Find out who your users are and what they want through user research, and understand business goals by talking with stakeholders.

Content Inventory

Start with a content inventory. Find and list all existing content, including different media types used.

Content Audit

Once you know what you have it’s time to decide what content is: Outdated, Unnecessary, Current, Has to be Written (‘OUCH’).

Content Gap Analysis

Using a comprehensive list of user tasks, map each task to the existing content. Check what’s missing or is insufficient for users to complete their tasks.

Content Modelling

Visualise the relationships between the paths, to and from, your content.

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Organisational Scheme

Select the organisational scheme for your content. Group content and features by shared characteristics such as topic, task, or audience.

Card Sorting

Run a card sorting exercise with your target users to understand how they group content.

Labels

Name your groups with specific, concise labels.

Structure Your Site

Structure your site based on the learnings from your research and card sorting exercises.

Tree Test

Tree testing is a quantitative research method that tests the structure of your site without the use of visual aids. It measures the findability of content and identifies issues with naming, grouping and structure.

Don’t Forget Search

Search is a key area of content interaction. Using descriptive metadata to drive the presentation of content it helps users locate content within your website. Optimise page content by revising page titles, headers, first paragraphs and by including keywords.

Good IA is a strategic investment

Investing in information architecture allows companies to expand their feature set and content as it grows. A good information architecture lets users complete tasks in the simplest way, contributing to a great user experience, boosting customer happiness and growing retention rates.

At Webfactory we excel in developing robust IA’s for medium to very large corporate businesses. If you are grappling with the organisation and findability of your information and content online, talk to us!

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Mary Butler

Lead UX Designer

The author

As Webfactory’s UX specialist Mary focuses on research, both qualitative and quantitative, user experience design and information architecture. She has worked across a range of sectors and industries to develop closer understanding of user needs and requirements.

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