Provide Great User Experience through a Well-planned Information Architecture
The world today is shifting rapidly from analogue to digital. With Information and communication technologies (ICT) affecting everyday lives of people significantly, more and more people are using it as a medium to connect, communicate and find information.
Majority of users scroll across the web looking for some or the other type of information. However, with tons of websites available for every single purpose on the web today, users tend to stick to the ones that offer a rich and meaningful digital experience. This indeed is the key to effective engagement in today’s cohesive digital world.
To derive increased business value from the information assets, it is absolutely essential for organizations to best architect and manage information for competitive advantage. In fact, without a proper plan and architecture in place, information cannot be used as a weapon to achieve competitive advantage. A well-planned information architecture not just guides across people through the vast amount of information on offer, but also brings structure to the information chaos. In other words, it draws a perfect balance between users’ desire and business’s needs.
Since, intuitive navigation is not co-incidental, guiding people through the vast amount of available information is something that requires thought and research. Today, Information architecture, which involves structuring the content and flow of a website, has become the fundamental cornerstone of a successful website. While designing a site, a designer should be aware of certain IA concepts including the purpose of a site and its anticipated audience; site organization with respect to the site’s content, labeling of pages, and its navigation representations.
By employing the principles of Information architecture, Information Architects (IA’s) provide site users with functional ability, ease of navigation, and easily discoverable content. By crafting strategies that ease the way people navigate and use information, businesses will recognize greater value and viability in the relevancy of information as an asset. Planning and executing the structural design of site information is necessary, and must be viewed from the perspective of obtaining maximum ease of use and intuitive access to content.
A well-planned information structure helps an organization to fully connect with their customers, co-workers and business partners in the most powerful and productive way. It is is the magic potion that can provide your business with:
- Higher search engine rankings
- Augmented visitor experience and
- Improved conversions and higher retention
So, what is it that you need to do in order to get the website information architecture of your website right? To provide customers with a well-architected digital experience across all points of digital interaction, it is important to understand their objectives, problems, and aspirations.
- Understanding User Requirement: Before you begin working on the information architecture of a site,it is essential to understand the user’s goals and requirements. This could be accomplished by conducting interviews (telephonic or in-person) and online surveys.
- Creating Customer Personas: A website should be designed while keeping in mind the target audience. By creating customer personas from the most important group of users and connecting them with use cases (purpose of project), you can work with great clarity and confidence.
- Figuring Out the Metadata: Once you develop an understanding of the users, you need to figure out ways to present your content in a way that will be useful to the users. Amongst all the available methods, the most significant one includes figuring out the metadata. If you get it right, you can well assume that you crossed the first hurdle of effective site design.
- Creating User Flows: A key factor affecting your conversions is the user flow. It’s the path a customer charts through your website interface to accomplish a task. To maximize your conversions, it is essential to get the user flow right.
- Create Sitemaps, Wireframes and Gather Feedback: To move ahead with your findings and proposals, it is essential to communicate them with other members of your team. You can use sketches, diagrams, site maps or wireframes to communicate your ideas. Make sure you gather their feedback, and re-iterate before you move on to plan your site structure.
Good navigation is critical to the success of a website. With a right information architecture in place, users can enjoy a rich digital experience leading to improved conversions and higher retention rate.