What is informational architecture?

Informational architects are those people who build/ structure information (content) in the way people understand where they are and how they can find what they are looking for. It can be information, service, or simple navigation within an application or website. If you would google the basic term definition of information architecture, the first thing you will find will be structure

The second word that describes an information architect’s work will be organized. When I write organization, I mean information organization in digital products. The digital world has become complex, and many companies face difficulties organizing and structuring their content. How much content should they produce, and how to organize it so it will not be lost.

The internet is overwhelmed with information and products. Daily, people make 5.6 billion searches per day. If your website has a proper structure and easy and fast navigation, the website will become a favorite digital space to spend time there. Additionally, you gain high conversion and can increase your profit. Who does not want to improve their profit? 

informational Architecture

 
Similarities between architecture and information architecture? 

When we browse online, we want to find the exact information we need quickly. Therefore, an Information architect summarises the services the digital service provides, categorizes the content, creates the proper labeling, and structures the system. The same does the architect, by defining the space’s primary purpose and creating a layout that supports the goal needed.

Suppose a restaurant, an architect design a kitchen and seats – when the information architect places the button menu & reservation on the website. In case it is a retail shop, the architect builds a dressing room and a cashier – the information architect place the shipping terms, and make sure the product categorization works properly by labeling all the products). 

So, the similarity between architecture and information architecture is not only in the shared word but also in the central concept. 

    Every piece of architecture will create an internal response and experience in people.

Placemaking in informational architecture is as important as putting the oven in the kitchen and the bathtub in the bathroom. The feeling people have browsed your website has to make them want to stay longer and come back. This is why people like to spend time in IKEA, sit and touch things and imagine that these ideal rooms are their own.

It is all about how we feel. 
When do you need an informational architecture? 

Information architects did not build all websites. When your company is only building its online presence, perhaps the best way will be to consult a content strategist who can analyze the project and help you understand at which stage you will need to hire a specialist. At the same time, you must realize that the developers are not information architects.

Developers are the people who have the tools to create what you ask for. If your request is not well defined, or you do not provide a wireframe – please be ready for disappointment.

In case you decide to hire an informational architect, these are what you can expect them to do for you: 

  • – Define business goals 
  • – Find what user needs are 
  • – Where product/ service meets the user needs and business goals 
  • – Gather all the content
  • – Labelling the content (metadata)
  • – Placemaking for a content 
  • – Organising and structuring the content (e.g., Card Sorting)
Tools they may use: 
  • Sitemaps
  • Wireframes
  • Paper prototypes
  • Domain models, content models & types
  • Content inventories

 

To finalize the post, I would like to remind you that you are the one who is the architect and designer of your business, and a stable ground will hold your company for years and will support your business need. The right path begins with the strategy and tools.



Inspired by the course done by  Lief Erickso

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