More and more businesses and organisations are recognising the importance of good information architecture as they become aware of the need of their visitors to navigate intuitively through their websites and find the exact information they are looking for. Great content and superior functionality both will not add up to anything if people can't find the information.
Information Architecture helps to identify and organize information in a purposeful and service-oriented way. Information architecture encompasses the work involved in creating intuitive navigation schemes for websites, web applications and mobile applications and deals with the organising and labelling of data.
Information Architecture as a part of User Experience Design seeks to improve the access, relevancy, and usefulness of information to a specific audience. It is also indirectly related to database design, document design, and knowledge management. Information architecture brings together principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape and generally involves a model of information that is used in areas such as library systems and database development. The main function of information architecture is to support usability and findability.
Some of the important concepts involved in information architecture are explained below:
Information in the context of information architecture includes documents, websites, intranets, software applications, images, videos and so on. It comes in all shapes and sizes and is also related to meta data.
Structuring is the process by which information is reduced to its most basic building blocks and then interlinking these blocks with one another.
Once these building blocks are interlinked, they are grouped together into distinctive units according to a predefined logic. This process is called Organising.
Labelling is the process of providing appropriate and meaningful titles or wordings to this information that is now organised so as to support easy navigation and findability.
The most crucial success factor for any information architecture exercise is findability. It helps users to find the required information through browsing the website, searching or through other mechanism like an FAQ and so on.