Information architecture, or IA for short, makes up the bones of a website. It is the practice of deciding how to arrange your website so that it’s understandable and compelling to the users who come across it. An IA setup lays out exactly what information will be on each page of your website. This means that making alterations to your website is simple, your customers can navigate the site easily, and you can provide all of the information that you want to present to consumers. For example:
The home page– Your home page will likely feature a hero image and some brief text that serves to introduce your company. This text will typically feature a call-to-action (or CTA) that are intended to lead people to your service pages
Your services pages– These will often begin with an introduction to the various services or products that your company offers. There will likely be a section here intended to sell your services — maybe even a list of the top four benefits or features of the services that your company provides. When possible, having another section featuring case studies or reviews is also a huge driver of interest and business.
Having a strategy behind the Information architecture you’ve chosen for your company’s website is crucial. Putting in research to understand how to maximize the layout of your content is key to running a successful and profitable site– and that research can come from anywhere! Using studies and guides to brush up on your general marketing and content knowledge is great, but you can also research your own site users.
Getting a grip on user flow and the user journey through your site can give you a starting point when you’re trying to work out an effective layout. If you know that nobody is visiting the reviews section of your site, for example, and you know that you have quality reviews that can drive business, move those reviews! Feature them directly on your service page or throw one or two of them on the homepage of your site.
Knowing what information is most important to your customers allows you to prioritize the display of that info. If you know that pictures will help sell your product and drive profits, don’t be afraid to have more than one on your homepage or to sprinkle them through the rest of your site.
Knowing where you want to drive traffic on your site is an essential part of understanding how to construct your Information architecture. If you’re more worried about getting people to your contact form than to the story of your business, make it happen! Feature prominent links to a contact page and emphasize in your text that customers should feel comfortable getting in touch with you.
If you dive into setting up your IA without careful consideration and research, you set yourself up for failure. Knowledge isn’t just power– it’s everything. Getting to know your customers and even your own website will make the difference between successful and lackluster marketing. Know the consumers you’re targeting. Know your industry. Know what people are looking for. These factors will decide the effectiveness of your organization’s website.
A thoughtful and tailored Information architecture setup is integral to UX best practices. As you complete your research, request reports, and consider your next steps, keep in mind that you need to be taking time to consider what to do to give users the best experience possible. Keeping your customers at the forefront of your thought process as you construct an IA will make the difference between a cohesive, immersive website and a wall of uninspiring text.