Complete Beginner’s Guide to Information Architecture

By | November 24, 2021

The website example above, Punk Avenue shows another example of clear main navigation, with a brief summary of what you will find on each page. Below that is a series of tabs that keep you on the same page and visually indicate what information you are viewing. Contextual information links in the form of FAQs relating to the step the user is at. If it is clear to the user where they can find what they need, there is no need to request help. For example, if a customer has received a purchased item that is faulty, without obvious instruction on how to rectify the situation, they may call the customer support center. Information architecture is the process of categorizing and organizing information to create structure and meaning.

web information architecture

Although they’re very different, it’s another example of not being able to have one without the other. Information architecture and SEO; you can’t and shouldn’t have one without the other. We’ve discussed IA and its many facets, but let’s add in how SEO plays into that. Simplest of all 5, except for the pen and paper, Coggle’s collaborative mind maps web app is definitely a good choice if you need to get lots of people involved, and collaborate to create useful diagrams. To create a sitemap, you need to have content, which is grouped and labeled, and then presented in a diagram.

Interested in Learning More About Information Architecture?

Start by putting all this information into a spreadsheet so it’s easier to manage. The information you include in your spreadsheet will depend on the project you’re working on. From there, they’re taken to the main page, which contains options to view their bookmarks, messages, profile, or create a new post. Besides providing 10 results for your search query, it also includes a “People also ask” box.

web information architecture

In linked hypertext systems like the web, content is often organized in modular, consistently organized “chunks” (also called “rhetorical clusters” by some authors) of information on specific topics. When you click on a web link about a particular topic, you expect the link to take you to a specific piece of content and not to the home page of Wikipedia. For example, you’d expect a web link for “chicken saltimbocca” to take you to a recipe or a short article on the dish, not to the first page of a whole book on Italian cooking.

Is information architecture the same as UX?

They use these models to assess relations among topics and to guess where to find things they haven’t seen before. The success of the organization of your web site will be determined largely by how well your site’s information architecture matches your users’ expectations. A logical, consistently named site organization allows users to make successful predictions about where to find things. Consistent methods of organizing and displaying information permit users to extend their knowledge from familiar pages to unfamiliar ones. You don’t want your user’s mental model of your web site to look like Figure 4.9. Regardless of the exact methods that you use, card sorting can be an inexpensive but valuable means to test your ideas on representative members of your potential audience.

web information architecture

Bill has over 25 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry specializing in SEO, UX, information architecture, marketing automation and more. William’s background in scientific computing and education from Shippensburg and MIT provided the foundation for MarketingCloudFX and other key research and development projects at WebFX. Based on your sitemap, you can set the different pathways that the user can take to navigate to any piece of content.


Without this detailed and logical structure, it may become difficult for users to find what they need and simply become frustrated and leave. You can also learn with your fellow course-takers and use the discussion forums to get feedback and inspire other people who are learning alongside you. You and your fellow course-takers have a huge knowledge and experience base between you, so we think you should take advantage of it whenever possible. It is essential to understand that Information Architecture and User Experience are different.

In the final lesson, you’ll step outside the classroom and into the real world. You’ll understand the role of a UX designer within an organization and what it takes to overcome common challenges at the workplace. You’ll also learn how to leverage your existing skills to successfully transition to and thrive in a new career in UX. You will learn to identify the overlaps and differences between different fields and adapt your existing skills to UX design. Once you understand the lay of the land, you’ll be able to chart your journey into a career in UX design.

IA/UX Design

The research conducted by the IDC in 1999 proved the financial implication of low productivity caused by bad IA design. Users can find information much more rapidly if the website navigation is well-built from the start. Because it makes information easy to access, the users are more likely to make decisions that are beneficial for the website users. Sean is a Slickplan customer support specialist, social media manager, newly minted blogger and part-time trouble-maker at Slickplan.

  • Aside from assessing functionality, wireframing is a particularly useful method of identifying paths between web pages.
  • Instead, use this step to focus on your unique users and what they want from your website.
  • An Event Apart advertises itself as the design conference for more than just designers and developers.
  • Your website and analytics software are valuable information architecture tools that allow you to track everything from the number of visitors to user behavior.
  • However, a business owner may expect visitors to use their website one way only to find out they use it differently.

This deliverable is a bridge between the information architect and a UX/UI designer. Using a wireframe, you can conduct user testing to understand if an IA serves its purpose. These test results will allow you to apply the changes before developers and UI designers start working on a product. Explore UserZoom’s online card sorting tool and web information architecture see how it can help improve the structure of your website or app. This means more effort for your user and more effort for you in maintaining it. When readers scan web pages, they are clearly using a combination of classic Gutenberg Z page scanning and what they have learned from the emerging standards and practices of web designers.

Information Architecture: The Science of Organizing the Customer Journey

Information architecture is an essential part of the UX and web design process and plays a crucial role in creating a positive user experience for digital products. By following best practices and using techniques like card sorting and wireframing, designers can create intuitive and easy-to-use websites and apps. The IA process outlined in this article is just one part of a much larger process. Once the information architect has designed the websites structure and navigation system, it’s time for the ux designer to take things to the next stage — designing the user experience. This involves creating wireframes and visual designs for each page, as well as writing copy, setting up analytics tracking etc. To learn about the project’s audiences, IAs need access to the results of usability tests, card sorting exercises, stakeholder interviews, and user interviews, just to name a few.