In this article we mention 5 key points that raise the importance of an IA work before the start of development.
”The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability”. The Information Architecture Institute
1. IA is not a navigation tree!
Information Architecture does not consist in organizing the contents of a site in a navigation tree. It is a more complex and comprehensive task of contents analysis and types of information that will interact on the site. This analysis can make “the difference” in development.
2. Conceptual Design
IA creates structures that aim to facilitate access to information by the user. Addressing the design allows us to better conceptualize the content and improve the flow of information. It allows understanding the site from an integral perspective of communication and being more effective to create sections, menus, navigation bars and other information categories.
The right IA helps build the right paths to strengthen the site’s flow and information network. Thus, it facilitates the recovery and access to information by the user and administrators.
4. The options that we offer and the results we get.
Another advantage of performing IA work is having a clear picture of the information towards the user. In this way we will be able to focus the design based on the most relevant content and interactions and put in the background what we consider secondary or tertiary. At the same time, we will be able to define, if we are using a CMS (wordpress, drupal, joomla), the accessibility and editability of information from the backend.
“The details are not the details. They make the design.” Charles Eames
5. Design & Usability.
When working with the design considering indexes, classifications and taxonomies of information we can analyze usability more strategically. Usability and design work as background and figure. Therefore we say that a site’s usability needs to be present in the design’s macro and in its detail. Both are part of a whole that if we set apart we run the risk of obtaining sites:
A) Proper but boring.
Where we find structures that are very well done, compact and clear but they are empty. Where usability is optimized 100% and the design is not present. These types of sites are tedious and repetitive which end up boring the user.
B) Look but don’t touch.
Where aesthetics is very well made but coexists with navigation problems where the user has to dive to find the content of interest. And we know that users often don’t feel like diving.
In short, Information Architecture gives us tools to build bridges, roads and highways that allow us to control and design the traffic of information from our site to the user in a more accurate way.