In this post I will provide an explanation of what is information architecture to provide an understanding of one of the most fundamental steps and processes for a successful search engine optimization campaign.
Information Architecture is one of the most important aspects when creating any software solution. Regardless of how great the content is or the design your application will fail without a proper information architecture.
Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.
Robin Morgan – Activist
In the modern world Information is everywhere, some of it good, some of it bad, some of it relevant and some of it irrelevant. We’re bombarded with information everyday, so much so we take information for granted.
Information consumes large portions of our working lives. We use information to make decisions, we use it to formulate ideas and ultimately we use it to justify our actions.
Information is used to build industries and create job descriptions i.e. Information Technology and Information Worker. We consider the exchanging of information such a vital part of our society and a basic human right, in that we are all entitled to the freedom of information. Information Management is an important function in most organisations.
The pursuit of more information is the primary driver of all our internet activity , but despite all this, many of us are completely unaware of what are the components of good information. We’re also completely unaware of how do we ensure that the information we feel should be relevant to other people, will be relevant to them?
What is information Architecture?
The Information Architecture Institute offers three definitions of information architecture
- The structural design of shared information environments.
- The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and find-ability.
- An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape
In essence Information Architecture is about making the information contained in your software solution accessible, relevant and understood by its target audience. It stands to reason that the information needs to easily searchable and more importantly find-able at the time is required.
Crucial to success
A crucial factor to the success of a website, mobile application, software solution is a good information architecture. Ensuring your information is presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner is one aspect, but more importantly your information needs to be easily discoverable, crawl-able and index-able by search engines. Ultimately, the information needs to be presented to the user in an easily understood manner.
Information Architecture is probably the most overlooked and completely underestimated deliverable in any new web or mobile project. The key reason for this is, that in order to devise a robust information architecture requires the conscious organising of content and flow of a software solution, based on principles that can be articulated and derived through evidence gathering. Essentially this requires learning and understanding what the user wants and needs, realizing how your product fulfils those desires and then ensuring you present the information reassuring the user that your product fulfils those needs!
Building functionality or writing content for web or mobile applications is of no use unless customers are able to find it!
Developing an effective information architecture is of paramount importance during the development of all software solutions.
Effective information architectures enables your users to quickly, easily and intuitively find content they need when they need it. Avoiding frustration and increasing the chance that the user will return to your site the next time they require similar information, make a purchase, refer your product or continue using your application.
A key point to remember is that People only appreciate what they can find, understand and use!