Introduction to Information Architecture
“Change is the only constant.” the term phrased by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is applied now in all means. Everything under the sun is changing. The platform of business and the way businesses approaching customers are drastically transforming to new level. In yester yesteryears the makers of product [may vary from a simple website, web application or any devices] were not think about the users in developing a product.
Thanks to APPLE who completely changed the picture by delighting the customers with beautiful user experience in their products. Suddenly every business begins to understand the value of User Experience, its ROI. So they include UX in all of their business aspects. UX is not a process or methodology but is an overall RESULT of a product, in which Information Architecture is one of the disciplines.
So what is information Architecture?
Information Architecture, the phrase coined by Richard Saul Wurman is mainly focused on navigation, labels, content, grouping of related information and the flows of information across the system. Viewing Information Architecture as a real world entity, take a supermarket and consider the scenarios
(A) What will you feel when enter into this supermarket like this:
End results of this scenario A is:
- You feel bit lost in search of the products and that leads to the mental agony
- No clear signs to find the appropriate items or advertisements leading to better shopping experience.
- With insufficient information or improper product display – you maybe wandering for long time to find a single item
(B) How you feel when you enter a supermarket like this
End results of this scenario B is:
- Find-ability of items is probably higher to you
- Sufficient information provided to you, leads to smoother shopping experience
- Easy to find the desired items for you, encourages you to explore more.
Skills need to become an Information Architect (IA)
Information Architecture is not an isolated discipline. As IA’s primary job is to communicate their artefacts with clients, stakeholders, development teams as well design teams they need to have excellent communication skills. And emphasize the following:
- Empathy towards Users
- Organized Thinking
- User Research
Information Architecture Process Deliverables:
- User Flows / Scenarios
- Task Analysis
- Site Map
Information architecture is all about the User Needs; what are the tasks to complete for the users – Information Organization, how easily they navigate between elements and provide the right information to the users in appropriate places where the users want.