What is Information Architecture? How to Create Userflows and Sitemaps for UX Design



Collect all content that your product has and then conduct a content audit — decide what you want to keep and remove (based on user and business needs). After identifying user goals, you need to understand how information architecture should help the company achieve business goals. It is better to conduct a brainstorming session with stakeholders to set clear business objectives. Through research, https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ information architects can learn how the target audience thinks when they interact with a product, and this will help them organize the information in a way that meets the user’s needs. An Event Apart advertises itself as the design conference for more than just designers and developers. “IAs, UX pros, project managers, writer/editors, marketers, and, yes, clients attend as well.” And it’s true.

What is Information Architecture

I’ve shown you several ways that work well for organizing web sites. The one way that does not usually work well is having the web site mirror your internal organization. If your site visitors have to think about which link to choose – or if they might start down a wrong path – this way of dividing information may be more frustrating than helpful. On some web sites, it makes sense to keep information for different people totally separate and have your site visitors self-identify right on the home page. The Tricare site in Chapter 4 (Case Study 4-1) now clearly divides information for new people from information for people already on one of the Tricare plans. I also see marketing sites where the tips or advice (“features,” “articles”) don’t directly relate to any product.

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Learn about information architecture—how designers and product managers build an IA using design principles, as well as IA tools and best practices. We mentioned earlier the importance of making decisions as to where information lives. Once an IA makes that decision, they also need to decide what the section might be called. While this may fall into a content strategist’s purview, it’s a decision that every IA should weigh in on, whether the IA is also the content strategist, or a designer. Labeling, or what we call pages and links on a site, ensures that our navigation and hierarchy is appropriately titled, which plays a large role in whether users will be able to find that information. This is particularly likely to happen when the designer is the one responsible for doing the information architecture work.

What is Information Architecture

They should have numbers and some should have blank spaces, so the participants can create their own names for categories. As a result, you’ll see the approximate structure of a product and proceed with the first prototypes. But first, the categories must be labeled and defined in a navigation system. Card sorting is a very useful activity for understanding how actual end users expect a menu system to be organized (shown in Figure 6.1) and the labels that should be used for each category of the IA.

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Much like you would expect, having a search system can come in handy when you have lots of data in your product. Just like your labeling system, your search also has several different aspects to be considered, which you might not think of straight away. In their book, Morville and Rosenfeld set out three different frames you can use on your information architecture. As most good aspects of design, IA has several components that can help you apply this structuring to your product. These components were established by IA pioneers Rosenfeld and Morville in their ground-breaking book “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web” – which we definitely recommend if you want to get deep into IA. Information architecture is what makes using your product possible – and this couldn’t be any more evident than in video games, in which there is a whole new world with its own set of rules and history.

Information architecture (IA) is the process of guiding users through the site by organising and arranging all the relevant content in a clear, intuitive way. It also ensures consistency throughout a product’s design by standardising labelling conventions such as menu names, link titles, and button labels across all pages. IA is about creating a logical navigation information architecture web design structure that helps users find what they’re looking for without getting confused or frustrated. Earlier in the article, I mentioned that the processes for creating a sitemap and a userflow are similar. We’ll be exploring how to create a sitemap using Miro, a diagramming tool. You can use the same methods and tools to create userflows and sitemaps.

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You can also change their colours to differentiate from the homepage and show hierarchy. Next, you need to draw shapes for the next screens which the homepage branches into. This could be major items on the navigation bar, where you have to click on CTAs (Call To Actions) to open them.

While the definition of information architecture is relatively well-established in the field of systems design, it is much more debatable within the context of online information(i.e., websites). In the big IA view, information architecture involves more than just the organization of a website; it also factors in user experience, thereby considering usability issues of information design. IA is the science of organizing and labeling data and website links, and it forms the hierarchy of how information is organized and the paths available for the user to follow.

Understanding the basics

Next, let’s look at the different ways these principles work on IA examples of real websites. Besides providing 10 results for your search query, it also includes a “People also ask” box. To see the answer, you have to click the arrow to expand the box.

What is Information Architecture

Obviously, they can’t find the answers as the content is not ready yet, but they can still indicate their course of action while interacting with your future product. While a sitemap is a scheme of content hierarchy, a wireframe embodies the final look. A wireframe is a schematic representation of a website or an app that displays the navigation and interface of a website. An IA wireframe shows all the pages and screens of a product, with headlines, tags, labels, and gray boxes where the content will be placed.

Typical sitemap for travel website

At the same time, it’s a good idea to create a powerful homepage that links to the main sections of your site. Metadata is a method of labeling that makes it easy to find the different taxonomies you’ve created to organize your groups. Because you can find just about anything on the internet, users rely on images to contextualize simple text. Once you have your high-level categories, it’s time to give those categories labels.

  • The BI architecture WBS defines the key deliverables and components for the overall BI program, and is the companion to the BI Program WBS that defines the key business BI deliverables for the program.
  • You can implement a search engine and a system of filters to help users quickly find what they need.
  • During usability testing, participants are required to interact with your product in a typical way, like they would’ve done in real life.
  • Even if you’re going to delegate this work to your team or freelancers, we encourage you to become familiar with the basics of the process.
  • In much the same format as sitemaps, designers can create visualizations of the IA and map out what is going to be visible to the user, and what actions will need to be available on the back end.
  • In contrast, information architecture is much more focused on the user’s goals and cognitive effort usage.

It’s a common misconception that IA must be built “from the top down.” That’s almost always more difficult to do unless it’s an existing product, such as in the video above. However, developing one isn’t as simple as putting a list of features together and mapping out how they work—let’s investigate the process. UX Booth is trusted by over 100,000 user experience professionals. Along the way we’ll share the history, contributors, and tools often used in creating an information architecture. Even if you’re familiar with the discipline already, you can probably pick up something you’ve missed.


The information you include in your spreadsheet will depend on the project you’re working on. It encompasses everything related to how a user perceives, interacts with, and feels about a product or service. On the left are the categories and subcategories that they put in the navigation header. On the right are the categories and subcategories placed in the website footer. From there, they’re taken to the main page, which contains options to view their bookmarks, messages, profile, or create a new post.

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