One of the most important aspects of the user experience design is being able to create a simple yet effective navigation system that not only guides the user efficiently but also lets them wander around on their own. This is what experts referred to as information architecture – the science of organising content and website functionality in a structured manner.
Bad information architecture on the other hand can lead, even the most well planned projects into disarray. Have you ever used a software and struggled to easily find a particular option that you were looking for in the drop-down menus? This is exactly the problem that information architecture design aims to solve. Its primary goal is to reduce the number of clicks a user has to make to go from the homepage to the content they were looking for. This could be done by putting the most relevant content right in front of the users when they visit your website, thereby reducing the requirement for additional clicks. This enhances not just their experience but also allows you to guide the user exactly how you want them through your website. For instance if you’re selling a product then you could pace the user through the sales funnel, leading them directly to the conversion page.
Good information architecture design also helps in search engine optimisation of a website. In the day and age, where search engines like Google are giving paramount importance to the quality of websites design and content, importance of information architecture has never been more important. Google wants to ensure that your website meets the standards and if it does not, then needless to say you’d be ranking a couple of notches below you could have, with the advantage of efficient information architects design on your site.
In reality information architecture design is really an ongoing process. For example a smart Webmaster will always study the analytical data from customer visits. These data points help you in determining what a user is looking for when they first visit your website. At times you’ll even be able to detect patterns of how users navigate from one page to another. This could help in redesigning a new navigation system to better assist user habits. Other people use techniques such as card sorting and reverse card sorting to define the menu structure for the website. This merely refers to the technique of sorting categories and subcategories of content in an organised manner with the help of cards. It’s an invaluable visual resource that gets the job done quickly.
Information architecture links the crucial goals of user experience, search engine rankings and conversion/sales together and helps you prevent page cannibalisation - where different pages on a website are eating each other up to rank for the same keyword. To ignore the principles of information architecture in today’s time would be fatal for any successful business.
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Apex Action is a digital strategy consultancy that can help improve the usability of the website and organise the information flow for your users.