Once you understand what information architecture (IA) is, you may wonder why exactly it is that you need it, in order to have a successful site. Maybe your site has some usability problems or suffers from common taxonomy mistakes, but isn’t that something that anyone can just go in and adjust with a few tweaks of the design?

Technically, yes.

But you’re most likely only resolving a surface level issue with a band-aid fix, as opposed to addressing the real website problems that you’re suffering from.

Information architecture has the ability to completely change your users’ digital experience and interactions with your organization. A website should be meeting two needs at once:

  • A website should address everything that your customers want and provide them with seamless access to information and resources.
  • A website also serves your business needs.

However, many organizations suffer from website design problems as a result of trying to address both of these needs without the proper underlying framework, and structure.

How Is It Helpful?

Information architecture allows you to create a customized navigation and taxonomy for your business. No two businesses are exactly alike and although you can look at competitors, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to use the same hierarchies or navigation as your competitors. A lot of common website taxonomy problems exist simply because the organization didn’t customize their navigation to their company, or think about their specific users.

Information architecture resolves common website problems associated with not having a clear call to action for each page. Good IA keeps the goals of the business – or business needs – in mind at all times when designing the strategy for the structure. This not only ensures that users are going to end up executing your goal CTA for the site, but that it’s also an easy and straightforward funnel that they go through and feels natural to them.

Because information architecture resolves common website usability problems associated with poor taxonomy and a lack of CTA’s, IA allows your company to effectively capture people who landed on your site but may not know exactly what they’re looking for. With effective IA, your site has effective user flows and ‘next-steps’ on every page that will take them through the sales funnel or supply them with appropriate information they didn’t know that they needed. What could have been a very quick bounce from your page can be translated to a customer or client.

Information architecture may seem overwhelming. It may seem not significant enough to reassess. But a lot of common usability problems are associated with having poor IA. Improving this essential aspect of your website design is helpful for both your users and your business and for ensuring that your web platforms successfully execute your key goals.

Further Reading

Getting The Website Information Architecture Right: How to Structure Your Site for Optimal User Experiences: https://conversionxl.com/website-information-architecture-optimal-user-experience/

The Difference Between Information Architecture and UX Design: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/the-difference-between-ia-and-ux-design/

Information Architecture 101: Techniques and Best Practices: http://sixrevisions.com/usabilityaccessibility/information-architecture-101-techniques-and-best-practices/