Before building a house, you must consider the potential structure of the house, and possible occupants. In the same way, information architects determine the same information in the case of a website. Information architecture (IA) is defined as the efficient organisation, structuring and labelling of content. In this article, we will look at effective IA examples.
Site mapping is the process of making a diagram which lists the pages in your website. Site mapping allows for a visual hierarchy of pages which will help users be informed with the hierarchy of pages. The priority of pages is usually indicated by colours, as seen below.
Content inventory and audit:
Content inventories and completing an audit are useful when you have a lot of cluttered, unorganised content. Organising this content can help you understand your user’s needs, as well as your business’ needs. The below is an example of an audit:
Information architecture diagram:
An information architecture diagram is a great way to visualise and understand everything involved in your UI. Similar to a site map, IA diagrams allow designers to map out what will be visible to the user, and what this translates to on the back side.
Simple tree structure for clients:
Bogomolova expanded on top of the basic site mapping in this information architecture example, adding both child pages and activities. Rather than relying on colours, the addition of number values denotes the priority of pages in the information hierarchy.
Representing actions visually:
Your information architecture and user journey maps will have some similarities if done correctly. They both provide information in various ways, with the intended user journey influencing how you structure and organise your website's content.
Things to consider
When building your information architecture diagrams, content inventory, or site mapping, keep the following in mind.
- Understand your audience: Developing your information architecture without consulting or knowing your target audience can result in a structure and organisation that is incomprehensible to them.
- Use it to align teams: If you're working across departments, keeping items like data needs, activities, and page templates in mind and include them in your architecture can help spark talks.