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Day 24: IA2017-11-08T06:33:05+00:00

Project Description

Project Description

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

“How you get users from one place in the application to another. How do they accomplish their goals?”

What it is.

IA is how you organize all the content of your website or application. It includes navigation, hierarchies and taxonomies.

How it’s used.

The information architecture of a website affects all areas of the business from the database engineers to the marketing and sales people to the frontend builders and designers. Customers too are largely encouraged or discouraged from using an application based on how all the content is organized and what they must do in order to accomplish their goals there.

“The organization, search, and navigation systems that help people to complete tasks, find what they need, and understand what they’ve found.”

Discussion.

The goal for the product designer is to organize the content of the website or the user flow in an application so that it makes sense to the user.

We organize (some of us better than others) everything in our lives, from the items in the kitchen, to where we store our clothes, the kinds of furniture in each room of our house–even where we park the car. In the digital world we’re cataloging and categorizing too; on Pinterest we name Boards and group items according to styles, types, colors, etc. On Facebook we can make groupings of our friends and organize our posts.

When we look for a book on Amazon we don’t look in the same place as when we’re buying tea or a new pair of shoes.

But why go to all this trouble to organize and group? Why do we make taxonomies in our lives and in our websites?

Imagine trying to find a single document in a giant filing cabinet filled with documents that are not organized alphabetically or in any other understandable hierarchical system.

Or imagine looking for a particular dish in a kitchen where cupboards and drawers had no organizing principle.

That’s what it feels like for users who arrive at websites that look like this:

Just being visually tidy in the UI design is not enough. Here is Amazon’s home page, which is neatly designed but still a chaos of disorganization.

Without some kind of hierarchical organization, confronted with a website like these make our eyes glaze over and our fingers twitch to click is right out of there as fast as we can. If your goal is to keep users on your website (which it always is) then that’s the last impression you want to make on users.

Objectives

  • Learn the basics of information architecture.
  • Understand why IA is important to users, designers and developers.
  • Practice noticing the IA of websites.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you find yourself using the browser back button, there’s a good sign the IA is not clear.
  • Users want to get a snapshot of the whole site’s content just by looking at the home page.
  • Simplifying the IA sometimes means rethinking how you’ve groups items into main categories.

Resources

Your Assignment

Find an example of really bad information architecture either in a website or an application.

Deliverables

A screenshot of a website with terrible information architecture shared in the comments and/or on Dribbble and Twitter #100daysdesign.

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