If you were building a house, an architect would draw up plans for you at the start. In the digital world a well-planned information architecture (IA) does that job.
What is it all about?
Information architecture (IA) is the backbone of your site, software or app. As the basis of your navigation it helps users find their way around quickly and easily, enticing them to browse and interact more.
Carefully planning your IA with user input is essential for complex, multi-layered websites usually found in industries such as finance, publishing and e-commerce and the public sector. We’ve worked in all these areas and know the best ways to research the user needs, design an effective IA, and evaluate this thoroughly.
A well-planned information architecture delivers many benefits such as:
- Shorter search times
- Less effort to find the right information or services
- Increased customer satisfaction and retention
- Improved internal productivity for staff using intranets
Your users will also find it easier to understand the structure of your website or application, and the benefits of an optimised IA will apply across all technology platforms.
How do we help?
User Vision’s information architecture (IA) development is tailored to your needs, applying practical methods based on industry best practice. We use both qualitative and quantitative methods to elicit the the best results.
To make your website as customer-centric as possible, the information architecture and navigation should reflect what people actually want to do on your website, and how they understand the nomenclature and categorisation, rather than the opinions of internal stakeholders which will often be understandably skewed towards an internal perspective.
Through well-established techniques such as card sorting and tree testing, we involve end users to get their perspective on the best structure of your information.
New IA Methods
We have recently enhanced our IA offering with a powerful and proven methodology – Top Tasks. We can now determine with statistical certainty what your customers want to do on your site (or your staff want to do on your intranet). In addition, the results will reveal what content is important to customers, and what is not (and can therefore be removed), which will form a critical pillar of your content strategy.
We establish what your customers’ top tasks actually are, involving internal and external stakeholders to produce a list of everything customers might want to do on your website and then researching this with your end users to rank, rate and prioritise tasks.
We’ll develop a hypothesis for a customer-centric information architecture based around those tasks, and refine it using iterative tree-testing until test participants are approaching a first-click success rate approaching 90%.
Once this customer-centric IA is implemented and the site (or intranet) is live, we can perform quantitative user testing to ensure that other elements of your website – such as the content and design of key landing pages, how links are written and displayed, and how site search supports the top tasks – are optimized to ensure your customers get the right content at the right time with ease and efficiency.
With these insights and a clear understanding of user journeys and priorities, we create essential milestones of user-centred design such as site maps, wireframes, customer journey maps, and content guidelines that can be used to brief the graphic designers and technical teams as the development evolves.
To learn more about how Information architecture can help you, contact us to discuss your specific requirements and individual opportunities.