In the UX process, creating the information architecture (IA) is essential to provide the best user experience in the product or service. Understanding user behavior and user flow through the web or application are critical for IA in the UX design process.
What is information Architecture?
Information Architecture(IA) provides an overview of the entire information for the product to the design team, product team, and engineering team. It includes all information that needs to build the products, such as features, information hierarchy, functions, and infrastructure. Information Architecture structures all individual screens in websites and web or mobile applications and creates the path to help users find the information and navigate themselves without difficulty. UX architects pay attention to user behavior and user flow based on cognitive psychology, organizing and categorizing information for IA.
Things to Consider for Information Architecture
Information Architecture connects to three pillars, context, content, and users.
- Content: the information that contains the reason for website visits. It needs to be related to the users.
- Context: Context is the goal of the design. It needs to define where and why the user uses the content.
- User: The user is the audience of the content. Understanding user behavior and user flow are crucial to creating the correct path.
Users will not return to your product or service if finding information is too complicated or too slow on the website or application. It is hard to bring churn users back to the product or service, and it costs more, so this is why Information architecture design is essential in the UX design process.
Information Architecture in UX design
UX design is not the same as Information Architecture. UX design contains broad aspects and focuses on users’ feelings and usability. On the other hand, information architecture is a specific aspect of information. It focuses more on understanding the cognitive psychology of users and creating the path for helping the user find the information without effort.
User research is one of the common activities the information architect has in charge of. During user research, information architects understand how the target audience finds the information, what they think, and where they have difficulty finding information. Once information architects understand all user behaviors, they design a sitemap, user flow, navigation, and hierarchy.
Content grouping, inventory, audit
In this process, information architects understand the detailed content that products or service offer.
- Content grouping: group the content based on the relationship between the information.
- Content inventory: show overall content inventory (what content they have, where the content is located), usually using a spreadsheet.
- Content audit: Audit the content if it is valid, accurate, and effective.
Labeling System and Taxonomies
Labeling and Taxonomies are essential processes for organizing the content. Taxonomy refers to organizing the items with similar categories. Once the items are organized by similarity, the information should be labeled in detail and specific. This will help information architects structure the complex data and create the user flow to find the correct information.
Hierarchy and Navigation
Hierarchy is a structure of content. Information architects create a hierarchy based on user research and a labeling system. They also must consider business objectives and how to show information to users to achieve the business goal. The diagram is used for creating a hierarchy.
Navigation is an essential part of the IA. The navigation system needs to be straightforward so that users can find information without confusion. Metadata is detailed information about each content. Each content has different metadata, such as images, videos, pages, and articles. Based on the metadata, information architects aggregate and categorize content for navigation, giving the right path to reach the correct information for users.
Information Architecture focuses on creating the best path for the information on the web or application. Information Architecture requires a deep understanding of user behavior, cognitive psychology, and business goals. Information architects group and label the complex data and design the information hierarchy and navigation.
The primary purpose of information architecture is to reduce confusion and provide a better user experience to navigate the user the right way and make them enjoy the product or service.
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