What is…Information Architecture?

Welcome back! This is article two of my series that covers topics to help form a foundational UX knowledge base. If you missed it, you can find the first article on Interaction Design here!

Information Architecture is a process in which conceptual models and designs are used to organize, structure and label content in an effective and sustainable manner.

He gets it!

If you didn’t get it, or want some more in-depth information, keep on reading. I hope to provide a brief overview of some of the goals and components.

5 Goals of Information Architecture

The goal of information architecture could be summarized with my opening statement, but that doesn’t really feel like a satisfactory answer. Here’s 5 in-depth goals of what Information Architecture can accomplish (in a digital context):

  1. Help users find information and complete tasks
  2. Help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect.
  3. Organize website content into taxonomies (systems of classification) and hierarchies (tiers of importance) of information.
  4. Communicate overall site organization to the design team and clients.
  5. Set standards and specifications for semantic markups and text content.

By working to accomplishing these goals, Information Architecture can help inform content strategy, user interface design (UI), and interaction design, making it an integral part of a design process.

Main Components of Information Architecture

There are 4 main components of Information Architecture:

  1. Organization schemes/structures — How is information categorized and structured?
  2. Labeling systems — How is information represented?
Amazon has lots of labels for common categories on their homepage underneath their search bar (which is part of the search system)
  1. Navigation systems — How do users make their way through information?
  2. Search systems — How do users look for information?

Information Architecture is a really in-depth topic, so I hope that this basic overview will help with general understanding.

For further reading, check out this blog post or this page

Open minded + curious UX Designer. I like taking deeper dives to understand and summarize topics so that other people don’t have to do as much work (hopefully).