Information architecture (IA) is the structural design of shared information environments. It’s the art and science of organizing and labeling, websites, intranets, online communities, and software support usability and findability. What it involves is a concept of information, which is used and applied to activities that require explicit details of complex information systems. They include library systems and database development.
To simplify that definition, we’ll give you a real-life example: Imagine you are in a foreign city. You know where you need to go, but have no idea how to get there. That’s when you look for navigation signs to help you identify where you are, where is the place you need to go and how can you reach it, as well as what are the other things that you could do.
That’s exactly what Information Architecture stands for. It organizes information to follow a clear purpose – helping the user navigate through it to make decisions. Just like signage. Designing means constant learning of new things. At least if you want to be good at it. An essential point of that learning is information architecture as well. IA is a foundation for excellent and efficient UI and UX design. Now let’s get to the point.
Information architecture or IA in design means structuring the content of websites and mobile apps. It organizes it in a way that users can adjust to the functionality of a product and find everything they need effortlessly.
This layout ensures that the user experiences the user experience of finding information is effective. It’s a guarantee of no problems when it comes to navigation, usability, and accessibility.
Any professional designer should have skills in this area. User experience goes hand in hand with IA. It provides a user-friendly product with clear layouts and easy navigation. User satisfaction is the main aspect of UX design and development of digital products.
Today we’re all about human-centered design. As we already mentioned IA is the foundation of quality design. That’s the reason why designers need to know it’s principles. In other words, information architecture is the skeleton of any design project.
Functionality, visual elements, customer interactions, and navigation all matter equally. Without proper IA any designer, even the best of them, could fail. The product needs to have transparent navigation so that users can easily reach their destination. Just like our example with the foreign city, the same goes for websites and mobile apps.
However, unlike the city example, bad first experience with a digital product usually leads to abundance. That’s why every aspect of it is crucial.
There are design companies that avoid IA because it’s more time-consuming and hard to work with than conventional design. On the other hand, a powerful IA can help for creating an outstanding product, which can actually save time and money in the long term.
The main components of information architecture are four:
Information is divided into organizational systems, which help users find it quickly. They have three primary structures: Hierarchical, Sequential, and Matrix.
A labeling system involves data representation. These systems are meant for uniting the data.
They consist of how users move through the content. Navigation systems are quite complex, but they allow users to have a more seamless experience.
As the name suggests they help users search for data. They’re usually needed when there’s a lot of data or products that might be hard to reach