Information Architects, or as they are more commonly known – IAs, play a crucial role in the success of any website.
User experience has become an important consideration for online businesses, with many realising the benefits of having good IA resource in the team.
For those new to the area, I will now introduce you to the basics of Information Architecture and what the role of an IA involves. Before that, lets start by explaining what is meant by Information Architecture.
Definition of Information Architecture (IA)
The Information Architecture Institute define IA as:
“The structural design of shared information environments.”
“The art and science of organising and labelling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support findability and usability”
“An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.”
The above detailed definitions are great, but IA for me simply means this:
“IA is the organization of information in order for users to be able to easily find and do what they want.”
The Role of an Information Architect
An IA is responsible for a number of areas on a website including:
- Site structure – categorisation, classification and organisation of content
- Navigation – providing access to the site structure and content
- Interaction – how users access and use the site
- Wireframes – the blueprints/schematics of key website pages and templates
- Labelling – the words and phrases used to describe content
To be a successful IA requires a deep understanding of
- User needs
- Business requirements
- Context of the website
The majority of an Information Archictect’s time is spent discovering needs and communicating solutions. The output of this work is a clear design and feature strategy which is then passed on to other UX team members, web designers and developers and key business stakeholders.
Without this research and understanding, users are likely to struggle using your website and revenue suffers as a result.