Does Well-Defined Information Architecture Give UX Design Meaning? [Answered]

well-defined information architecture ux design meaning user experience

It is the dream of every business to build a site that has a perfect UX (user experience). However, countless often ignore one of the main ingredients of perfect UX, and that is information architecture. 

Information architecture is not simply the art of arranging menu items. There is more to it than what meets the eye. We need to start the discussion from what information architecture really is to understand how it gives UX a proper meaning. 

Information Architecture: The Cornerstone Of Content Distribution? 

Before we begin, let’s get this one confusion out of the way- 

Information architecture for mobile applications and websites is not simply about arranging menu options on pages. 

Now, imagine visiting a website. It is a well-crafted website, with well-structured landing page information architecture, giving enough information about what kinds of services one can avail from the site itself. There is a well-organized menu; visitors are able to find all the information they want without having to look around with a set of binoculars. Basically, using the website is an overall smooth experience. 

And now, imagine visiting another website, but this time something seems different. There’s no defining content on the pages that talks about what kind of services the site offers. There is no organized menu option, and to find the required information, the visitors have to arrange for a 10 people search party to comb the website information architecture thoroughly. 

What’s the difference between these two experiences?

In brief, the answer is the proper use of IA in UX design. It is not simply arranging the proper menu options, rather the subtle and logical art of arranging information on the entire website in such a way that users find what they need easily. 

This means from the pages to the information provided on pages, they all need to follow a logical order so that users are not baffled by the scattered informational puzzle pieces they have to arrange properly to understand what it means. Users don’t have loads of time and will be reluctant to waste that limited time on a website that doesn’t care about the efficiency of the site. 

Defining IA: It’s A Matter Of Principles 

Before moving onto the discussion on how a well-defined web design strategy and information architecture gives UX meaning, let’s focus on the principles used to define it in the first place. 

1. Principle Of Object 

The first principle is about how the piece of content is perceived. 

The content can either be considered as a static content sans any characteristics of its own. Or it can be considered as a living element that has its own lifecycle. The principle of objects considers the content to be flexible, which can grow and mature as time passes. This point of view makes it easier for the designer to consider all the possible uses of that content and the relationships it can have with other content. 

This principle is specifically useful to determine the seasonal content that has its own organic growth period. The popularity of these items increases during specific times of the year. Identifying them is going to be substantial for the sake of better UI/UX information architecture. 

2. Principle Of Choices 

The principle of choices in web design strategy and information architecture deals with the number of choices that are going to be available to the users at all times. While users are convinced that they want as many options available to them as possible, they actually don’t. Having a plethora of options will confuse the users, as well as induce anxiety in some others. Hence the application of the principle of choice. 

The application of this makes it effortless to detect and engage with the options users are looking for. Rather than presenting the users with a vast amount of data, the principle of choices helps the developers to pick the choices and present those to the users depending on requirements. 

3. Principle Of Disclosures 

Users cannot absorb an awful lot of information in one go. To reduce the cognitive load, it is essential to slowly increase the amount of information presented to the users, rather than dumping it all on the users at one go. 

This principle is also important for the sake of integrating logic in website information architecture. Displaying the same information on multiple pages will not only devalue the information but also render the application of information illogical. So with progressive disclosure, information architects can protect the integrity of the information. Even when you are working on website redesign, make sure of using these principles. 

4. Principles Of Exemplars 

This specific principle is used to make categorization on the site easier for the users. Rather than presenting them with flat text content on the category list, it adds illustrations and images with the category text. It assists the users to categorize better and understand what product can be found under that category. 

5. Principle Of The Front Door 

Users are not always going to land on the homepage of a site. Sometimes they are going to enter the site from the blog page, or contact page. In such cases, this principle establishes information architecture for better understanding. 

According to this, every page should have a logical structure of information that assists the users to figure out how to navigate the site. In order to create a proper UI/UX information architecture for the site, the information architects need to integrate clear navigational queues with the right information. 

6. Principle Of Multiple Classifications 

Individual users try to find information in individual ways. While some would simply browse the categories to find what they are looking for, some would go straight to the search option and look up the specific keyword related to the query. This individual approach towards looking for information is what makes the principle of multiple classifications crucial. 

Following this principle, a UX information architect integrates multiple options to look for information on the site. However, these options need to be balanced; otherwise, users will start to feel puzzled with the array of options in front of them. 

7. Principles Of Focused Navigation 

Adding navigational lists everywhere on the site with all the options all together is going to render the application of the menu useless. To keep the significance of navigation menus intact, this principle separates them, based on categories. This way navigation on the website becomes focused, with different menus focusing on the different aspects of the website and its navigation. 

8. Principle Of Growth 

The principle of growth for IA in UX design focuses on making the content scalable. According to this principle, every content on the website is going to grow as the business and the platform scales. So designers focus on scaling the content with time to provide better levels of information to the users. 

UX & IA: How They Define One Another 

Information architecture and UX is often put into the same category, which is, needless to say, incorrect.

Compared to IA, UX is vast. It consists of more elements on the site, determining how the user would feel when they are using the entire site. From the background of pages to content-language, as well as the kind of images that are going to be used-all of it falls under the UX practices. Information architecture for mobile applications and websites on the other hand simply works as a blueprint for all the information and how to sort it in a logical way so that the users can find what they are looking for without any issues.

With that being said, how does information architecture give meaning to UX? Well, in layman’s terms, good information architecture, which is detailed and follows a logical flow of the pattern, only enhances the user’s experience on the site. When finding information on the site is almost institutional and does not require any additional efforts on the user’s part, it automatically improves the quality of experience. 

Most web design agencies based on major cities like New York treat well-outlined information architecture as a foundation for the UX design. And that’s why even though information architecture based UI might be a part of site experience, it is not the entirety of it. It’s merely an element of web design that influences the user experience. 

Wrapping Up 

Information architecture happens to be the foundation on which the UX is built. So it is necessary for the UX information architects to pay precise attention to how information on the website is organized to give meaning to the overall UX design efforts as well as make the user experience on the site memorable in a good way.

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