The Importance of Information Architecture
Kevin Dean – Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Creating a website isn’t so hard. You purchase a domain, hire a designer, add your subject matter, and boom done. Right? Well … yes. However, if you’re in the business of building websites to market a product or company, you’re missing a huge component of the process that is integral for your site’s eventual success: information architecture.
Information architecture is an industry term that basically means website blueprint. Just as you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, you shouldn’t build a website without first organizing and planning your information architecture. Few ventures without a solid game plan are successful; a website is no different.
Here are five things to keep in mind when planning and organizing your information architecture to maximize the potential of your website’s success.
1. What is the goal of your website? Whether you are looking to sell products, secure a fan base for your new novel or create an online community for harmonica enthusiasts, you need to know where you’re trying to go with your site so you can make a plan to get there.
2. Who will be using your website? In order to create a clear, easy-to-navigate site for your users, you need to understand who they are and what they’re looking for.
3. What content will you be putting on your site? Identify what you need to include as well as what you don’t need to include so that you can organize and layout your site to be of optimal use for your visitors.
4. How should your information be organized? Look at what your site is offering and work with your designer to plan the most logical, direct path for getting the information or products to your client. For example, if you’re selling pink bunny slippers, you want it to be super easy for your client to find their size, place the order and check out in your shopping cart without having to guess where to enter their payment information or shipping address.
5. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Once you get to the build phase, take comfort in the knowledge that you have developed a well thought out, organized blueprint for creating the exact site you have in mind.