Why is Information Architecture the backbone of UX Design?
The plethora of information available on the internet is difficult to absorb by the human brain if it is unstructured.
The plethora of information available on the internet is difficult to absorb by the human brain if it is unstructured. Viewers can better perceive and use the content and commodities of digital platforms if they are structured and organized. The science that enables this feature is Information Architecture.What is Information Architecture?
The IA institute defines information architecture as the art and science of organizing and labeling websites, online communities, intranets, and software to support usability and findability. In simple words, it constitutes the ways through which you display your website to users that can help them navigate it with ease. It involves labeling and organizing the information to enable its effective consumption.
Usability.gov mentions IA as “information ecology” representing a Venn diagram of users.
This encompasses language used on the website, menu options, organization of web pages, and website structure. It involves putting out the information in a way that the user can easily find it.How important is Information Architecture in UX design?
While designers today are more leaning more towards user-centric design, deploying Information Architecture principles becomes imperative.
IA works as a perfect template for any UX design project. Various interactive, functional and navigation elements are organized based on IA principles.
Inappropriate IA can damage even the most powerful UI design as it may lead to user frustration.
Information architecture is inevitable in UI design for the following reasons:
- Balancing the user requirement with yours
- Facilitate intuitive methods of content access
- Competitive advantage
- Ideal for product testing
- Enriching user experience
The motive of information architecture is to create a UI design that bridges the gap between what the user wants to do and what he needs to do. The site navigation must aid the user along his way without pushing him away. IA methodologies are laid out after analysis of user personas, traffic statistics, and the most visited pages in your website. For instance, when a menu us updated, IA takes care of accommodating new pages and maintaining consistency throughout.
Information architecture facilitates intuitive methods of content access across various pages of a website. It offers the freedom and flexibility to the designers that can adapt to ever changing technology.
With well-structured information architecture, the product or service by a business gets a competitive advantage in UX. The users can perform all tasks with least efforts and gain a pleasant experience which they may not obtain with other websites or apps.
With proper information architecture in place, prototype testing of the product can be performed. This can be used to find out which sections need clarity and what parts have a clear flow.
Rewarding user experience begins with a well laid out design. The user can experience a product that is simple for him to navigate through. With this, he can focus on his primary task rather than worrying about usability issues.
The information is divided into various structures in IA so that users can find what they need quickly. The structures are:Hierarchical
Visual hierarchy is the technique through which information is presented to the user in a way that reaches him and influences.Sequential
This gives a definite path or structure to the content that enables easy navigation across web pages.Matrix
Here users are given the choice to navigate based on any feature like date, topic and so on.
Other ways of organization in IA are according to alphabet, date or topic.Systems for Labelling
The labelling system is an integral part of information architecture. Through labeling, lot of information is presented in a few words. The label helps the reader to associate the link with its destination.Systems for Navigation
Navigational systems involve the set of rules and techniques through which the user can walk through a website or an app. This helps them to reach their goal or find what they want.Systems for Searching
This system in IA helps effective searching of information by users without getting lost. Searching systems are especially needed when websites have loads of information to present.Final words
IA will always remain an integral part of UX design. It helps in retaining and engaging the users through improved usability and findability of content on product websites and apps.
UX Design Process