What is Information Architecture?
Website information architecture is one of the most crucial aspects of any new web design project. IA (as it is sometimes referred as) serves as the foundation from which we design and build our WordPress websites and mobile applications. Essentially, content information architecture is the method we use to organise content and elements within our responsive website design to support optimal usability and conversion for your business.
Content information architects, or in many cases web designers, are tasked with creating efficient and structured groups of information from more complex groups of website content. This is completed most efficiently through the process of usability tests, personal research, user experience diagrams and lots of practice working with information structures.
So how does this differ from what we’ve come to know as user experience or UX design?
Information Architecture and its Role in User Experience Design
Website information architecture makes up only a small part of a user’s overall experience on your website or mobile application, dealing with how your site information will be connected, displayed, and used. User experience takes what we’ve established through our information architecture and uses it as a foundation to create stunning design and engaging user interfaces. User experience is basically the way a person feels about using a product, system or service. This includes an individual’s perception of practical website aspects such as utility, ease of use, and efficiency of the system.
In regards to our WordPress website design and development process, information architecture happens in the very early stages of a project and serves as a roadmap for everything to follow. User experience is part of the grand scheme and plays a role in each and every stage of the website design project.
So what is involved in information architecture you might ask?
Rapid Classification Design
At Parachute Design, we believe that website users inherently create a mental map of user interfaces and websites while navigating through the respective pages. Website users come to expect specific elements and options to appear in consistent locations within the website design. This area of information architecture often relates to navigational elements, promotional graphics or related content. Our goal with content information architecture is to make navigating your WordPress website as easy and comfortable for a user as possible. Ideally, the user should not have to make a conscious effort to find key information or determine what action to perform next.
There are a time and place to break the boundaries of the preverbal “box,” but those opportunities are far and few between. Yes, you should strive to stand out from your competitors, but there is a fine line we walk with this approach to website design. The core purpose of most websites or applications is to attract users and encourage the purchase of products or services, or to consume information, or to simply make an inquiry. In short, they are there to achieve a clearly defined goal.
Users do not very often have the time or patience to figure out how to navigate your website or mobile app. With this in mind, one of your key goals should be to make the navigation of your website as intuitive and obvious as possible to ensure their positive experience with your product and ultimately your brand.
The design of your website navigation is one of the most critical components of content information architecture. The focus of the web navigation should be set on creating the simplest, most efficient method for moving users from one point in your website to another. Good website navigation design focuses on reducing uncertainty and offers consistency through the use of design, form, and colour.
Keep these points in mind, for if your web or UI designer is not talking about these key points early on in your strategy session, they may be skipping the most important step – building a rock solid website foundation!
Find Out More About Information Architecture
If you have any questions and want to learn more about how we incorporate website information architecture into our custom WordPress website design, please have a look at our Carbon60 case study or contact Parachute Design online, fill out our online quote request form, or call us in Toronto at 416 901 8633.