5 Examples of Effective Information Architecture Adobe XD Ideas

The structures listed below are featured in the Goldberger textbook and can be used as specific examples to discuss the main ideas surrounding function and architecture, as well as the Vitruvian Triad. The links below each structure are for further exploration and images. Omnigraffle is the Omnigroup’s diagramming and wireframing suite. OmniGroup’s product can do diagrams, process charts, quick page-layouts, website mockups, and more. Once past the initial learning curve, budding information architects should find a lot of value in what Omnigraffle has to offer. Nick is a 12-year veteran of the web and considered a web craftsman by trade.

The information architect is the key person responsible for determining how information across a website or application is displayed and accessed. As we’ve discussed, this is the key piece of information architecture. In order to create this hierarchy, the IA needs to consider what the user expects to see, as well as what content the organization wants to connect. Information architecture is a more difficult field to define than many others. Unlike content strategy, which is accomplished by content strategists, or interaction design, which is accomplished by designers, information architect is very infrequently a job title. It is, however, a valuable and necessary field which crosses multiple roles.

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. To help users achieve the tasks they come to you to solve, start with understanding user intent. If done correctly, your information architecture and user journey maps will share commonalities.

defining information architecture

This will help them organize the information in a way that meets the user’s needs. Information architects spend their time structuring content so it’s easy for users to find what they are looking for. The more content a product has, the more significant the role of IA in the UX design process. Cognitive load is the amount of brainpower that a user has to invest in interacting with a product.

User Research and Analysis

You can learn more about Lin’s design and the controversy she faced by visiting the Smarthistory website to view a video on her work. The term venustas references the Roman goddess Venus, a symbol of beauty. When we consider a structure’s beauty, we are evaluating its formal elements and their aesthetic qualities.

defining information architecture

When approaching the memorial, the wall starts out very low, only about 8 inches high. As you move towards the center, the wall climbs to a height of over 10 feet. At the apex where the two sides meet, the viewer is swallowed by the wall. The black granite https://globalcloudteam.com/ is highly polished and reflective; in the image above, you can see how it reflects back to the viewers images of themselves. Viewers are accompanied by these ghostly reflections as they read the names of the dead incised on the wall’s surface.

His skills traverse web design, web development, user research, web analysis, information architecture, and web publishing. He is the author of numerous web design-related articles for various publications. Mapping out your information architecture is an important part of visualizing and understanding all that is involved.

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We all know how important it is to produce content that users will find valuable, but what’s equally important is to make sure that the content is easy to find. The focus is on bringing the target user to life as we delve into the IA of the design. Ultimately, user flows, influenced by user stories, create a smooth path for users to achieve their goals. Card Sorting is a tool that allows you to prioritize and organize information in a way that accurately represents the user’s mental model. Information Architecture is simply “what goes where,” both in the navigation and on the pages. Information Architecture is not focused on aesthetic design, or in the creation of all final content that will be included on a page; rather, it’s the architecture of pages, content, and links.

  • Her roles have included general manager of Zynga.com at Zynga, general manager of Social at Myspace, principal product manager at Linkedin, and senior director of design at Yahoo!.
  • He is the author of numerous web design-related articles for various publications.
  • The information architect’s job is to create an experience that allows the user to focus on their tasks, not on finding their way around.
  • Library science has many definitions, but one that seems particularly clear is from the University of Washington’s description.
  • When finding information becomes too complicated or too slow, there’s a risk that people will simply abandon it.

Two particularly valuable areas of library science for information architects are the art of cataloguing, and archival science. Cataloguing is the process of creating metadata and assigning it to content in order to find it again in the future. Archival science is the process of building and curating archives filled with content, which may need to be edited or removed in the future in order to maintain the integrity of the archives. 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). Andrew Dillon refers to the latter as the "big IA–little IA debate". In the little IA view, information architecture is essentially the application of information science to web design which considers, for example, issues of classification and information retrieval.

Personal tools

A future article will discuss specific definitions, and applications, of IA for database professionals. Since the field of IA is complex and when dealing with large information systems the task becomes more massive, sometimes experts choose a specialized niche within the discipline. Some examples of IA sub-specialties include focusing on search schemas, metadata, taxonomy, etc.

What Is Information Architecture In UX? - Built In

What Is Information Architecture In UX?.

Posted: Tue, 02 Feb 2021 20:04:00 GMT [source]

If you’re planning to do more advanced analysis and tracking, loading your content into a more dynamic tool like Airtable can help you to create links between content, source and author. Here we’ll explore some effective information architecture examples, and what types of deliverables can help shape the IA behind a website or product. But, as hypertext pioneer Ted Nelson once said, “everything is deeply intertwingled.”1 The “back” and “front” ends of any computing environment are connected in more ways than mere input and output. A coherent, easily comprehensible front end screen design, even for in-house use, can result in more accurate input and more understanding of data results, and why they’re important for the business’ goals. In past articles, we have discussed the differences between Information Architecture and Data Architecture .

Examples of Effective Information Architecture

And when people abandon an app or a website, it’s more difficult to bring them back. This is where information architecture design plays a key role. Formerly a Strategy & Operations Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, Jeff brings years of experience in the creative design and digital technology space, building teams and overseeing hundreds of digital projects. Through organizing the objects on your canvas, creating wireframes, and filling the canvas with meaningful content, you can connect your brand, user needs, and business needs in a meaningful way.

defining information architecture

He counts advertising, psychology, and cinema among his myriad interests. Information architecture comprises only a small part of a user’s overall experience. UX writing is an integral part of IA design, because the specific labels help users discover the information. For example, you should label a page that contains information about a company “About” rather than “General Information”, which might be too vague for users to understand.

Online Conferences

Usually, IA architects create clickable wireframes that serve utility-only purposes, with a limited number of graphic elements. Later, visual designers use these clickable wireframes as a reference when they create the actual layouts. With an understanding that delight is subjective, let’s discuss the impact of Lin’s work on the viewer.

defining information architecture

App projects of your own, information architecture is a big concern. Pictured below are images of the exterior and interior of the Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas (b. 1944), which opened in 2004. Consider your reaction to Libeskind’s work and think about the effect of his defining information architecture buildings on the viewer. By whitelisting SlideShare on your ad-blocker, you are supporting our community of content creators. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way.

Deconstructivist architecture uses diagonal lines to inspire movement and incorporates distorted shapes to suggest fragmentation. It is an often imposing style that confronts the viewer with large cantilevered forms and sharp angles. The two videos below complement the material presented in the Huxtable reading and Chapter 1 of the Goldberger text.

What’s the difference between IA and UX?

It borrows from other disciplines, such as computer-human interactions, designs that are user focused and library science. The difficulty in establishing a common definition for "information architecture" arises partly from the term's existence in multiple fields. In the field of systems design, for example, information architecture is a component of enterprise architecture that deals with the information component when describing the structure of an enterprise. The tables allow precise documentation of the design of every interaction possible. Often errors are ignored by design, and when engineering codes the product, they have to make up error messages. This can result in messages like "error in dll 5034. click okay to continue" Not a happy user experience.


Talks are collected and curated, covering data and content areas of information architecture. In the past few years, IA Summit has also made a point of tackling the new challenges coming to the field as a result of greater digital ecosystems and the Internet of Things. For information architects looking to test their hierarchy and find out how well users can find information, Treejack is a great tool. Billed as an “information architecture validation software,” Treejack lets IAs input a site hierarchy, set up tasks, and recruit users. Then they can see the results of the unmoderated test, and share or download the results.

In this example from the Nielsen Norman Group, their website content is mapped out in a hierarchical fashion to demonstrate the parent / child relationship of content. A subset of data architecture where usable data (a.k.a. information) is constructed in and designed or arranged in a fashion most useful or empirically holistic to the users of this data. A sitemap, a type of information architecture diagram, helps visually denote how different pages and content relate to one another. Hierarchy and navigation are two essential components that play into IA.

Christina Wodtke, another co-founder of the Information Architecture Institute, is also an impressive name in information architecture. Her roles have included general manager of Zynga.com at Zynga, general manager of Social at Myspace, principal product manager at Linkedin, and senior director of design at Yahoo!. She is also the cofounder of the collaborative blogging tool PublicSquare, and the design publication Boxes and Arrows. Christina currently advises startups and writes at her blog, Eleganthack. Mental models are the assumptions people carry in their minds before interacting with a website or application. Information is easier to discover when it is in a place that matches the user’s mental model of where it should be.


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