That means determining why you want to create the information architecture and what you wish to achieve with it. For that, the architect needs access to the complete content inventory and needs an understanding of the site’s functionality. Once they have that, they can begin optimization using the following principles. The idea is that an information architect should focus solely on the structure.

Camren started in illustration and graphic design but quickly found a love for teaching UX design and has since tutored over 500 students and coached around 250 of them in finding a UX career. Camren travels full time with his family and has worked for CareerFoundry from over seven countries. Similar to affordances in UX design, mental models are assumptions a user has when they go to interact with a product. Some examples are “Contact” buttons linking users to a company’s email or phone number or social media icons linking to a product’s social pages.

Why Information Architecture is Important

If you notice how different pages follow a separate format depending on the target audience, you’re already seeing IA in action. It’s called information architecture because you arrange the information in a sequence that’s easy to understand. For example, site map creation is a part of information architecture as it needs to follow a user-centered design to make sure users can find the links they need easily.

what does information architecture mean

That means everything that is showable through data modeling like maps and flowcharts. IA development goes through a strict hierarchy pattern and research phase. There are usability tests, interviews, and more when other team members like UX designers pitch in. However, the start of IA is noticeable in library science, cognitive psychology, and architecture. To realize all of this, information architects have to focus on the target audience, project data, and the technology in place.

Products and services

Now that we’ve laid out what information architecture is and how it relates to UX, it’s time to discuss how designers utilize this invaluable process. Below are some key tips for applying information architecture principles in UX design. Information architecture takes into account What is an Embedded System the layout of content and design elements on each page/screen, as well as the flow between screens and the way users move through information from page to page. is a free software tool for creating user flows and information architecture and flowcharting.

  • Some people describe architecture as a language, a form of art, a collaborative process, a political statement, a reflection of culture, or even a science.
  • This demand is reflected in information architecture salaries, which are high.
  • They should be proficient in wireframing, site maps, and user flows, and have a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, GIMP, or similar programs.
  • In the big IA view, information architecture involves more than just the organization of a website; it also factors in user experience, thereby considering usability issues of information design.
  • Better understand the practice of information architecture in relation to UX design.

Cognitive psychology is the study of how the mind works, and what mental processes take place there, so it’s not surprising that it influences both the interactions we design and the way we architect information. This kit created by web-based company UI8 contains 250 templates and over 500 elements to get you started creating your information architecture for an app. Besides compatibility with Adobe Creative Suite and Sketch, all assets in this kit are vector-based and fully scalable. You can use this kit to show the basic features and flow of an app before you start wireframing. Because whether you choose to create global navigation menus, sidebars, or breadcrumbs, navigation is key to a great user experience.

Create user personas

Once you have your user flows outlined, you can then turn them into low-fidelity wireframes. If you’re looking to build a system on AWS, it’s important to keep in mind the five pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. These pillars include operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization. Neglecting any one of these pillars can make it difficult to build a system that meets your expectations and requirements. In the broadest sense, information architecture is the art and science of organizing, labeling, and presenting information in a way that makes it easier to find and use. The work of an information architect often varies depending on the organization they work for—which can make this question a little tricky to answer.

Cognitive load is the approximate amount of information a working memory can hold at once. That makes it essential to create instructions that don’t overload it. To better understand why information architecture is useful, it’s a good idea to start with how the human brain works. Study aid for both students and young architects, offering tutorials, tips, guides and resources. An architecture essay, serves as a bridge between the visual and the textual, allowing for a comprehensive exploration of architectural ideas and their implications. Bad architecture, on the other hand, ignores these issues and fails to consider the needs and experiences of those who will use it.

What is information architecture and why is it important

Equally, architecture is a human-centric discipline that relies on the creative and innovative ideas of people. Without humans to create and experience it, architecture would not exist. I hope that the article showed you how important information architecture is and helped you to understand where to begin.

Once you determine the goals, check whether there are any constraints that may affect the goals. For example, you can do a content audit to see how much content actually helps users and find valuable opportunities for improvements. The concept of information architecture came from Richard Saul Wurman who was a graphic designer and architect. According to him, creating IA is all about structuring information like a building’s structure – using a robust foundation. If we were to summarize the concept of information architecture, it would be about helping people understand their surroundings. The goal is to help them find what they’re looking for easily and efficiently.

What is the value of information architecture in UX design?

“The volumes of data have significantly increased over the past several years,” he says. In addition to working with other teams, information architects may also attend meetings, workshops, and presentations to share their insights and collaborate with other stakeholders. For example, they may present their research findings to executives or product managers to gain buy-in and ensure that the information architecture aligns with the overall vision of the project. With these three factors in mind, you can create content that appeals to users while considering how and why they engage with it. If you don’t know or have access to any of these factors, it will be harder to achieve IA.

what does information architecture mean

For example, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a mental model of time management. People create mental models to understand and interact with the world. Each mental model is unique and changes constantly, as we collect more information. Structure content according to the user’s needs, as well as their goals, behaviors, and expectations. To identify these, you must know who the user is (ie. who will be consuming the content), what value the content provides them, and how they actually use the content. No spam, just notifications about our new articles, products and updates.

The Principle of Focused Navigation

As indicated by Don Norman, User Experience is an umbrella term that covers several areas. When you work with user experience, it’s crucial to understand what those areas are so that you know how best to apply the tools available to you. Cognitive load is the amount of information a user can process at any given moment.

Data architecture vs. information architecture

It can also help users explore and find things they might want, but don’t yet know that they do. For example, a website customer searching for oranges could be recommended other fruits they might want to try, or be offered juicers. The payoff is that a contemporary information architecture will not only help a company extract maximum value from its data today, but also position it for future business needs and resiliency.

You’ll also practice each of the methods through tailor-made exercises that walk you through the different stages of the design process. In this course, you will gain an introduction to the breadth of UX design and understand why it matters. You’ll also learn the roles and responsibilities of a UX designer, how to confidently talk about UX and practical methods that you can apply to your work immediately. So limit user choice; if your user research shows there are areas of your content that aren’t valued by mobile users – eliminate that content. You can always offer it via a desktop experience on mobile for the occasional user that really wants that content. The simpler your IA – the less chance that the user becomes frustrated with it.