Information Architecture: Get Your Blue Prints in Order


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Information architecture is the most critical component of your site, yet it’s often overlooked. When done correctly, it enables users to navigate logically through a site, confidently find the information they seek, and accomplish their goals. Without defining a website's structure, hierarchy, and navigation, you cannot ensure a consistent user-experience, and run the risk of frustrating visitors, and ultimately, losing them for good.

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Information Architecture: Get Your Blue Prints in Order

  1. 1. INFORMATION ARCHITECTUREGetting Your Blueprints In Order
  2. 2. Agenda Defining User Experience Defining Information Architecture (IA) Breaking Down the Concepts of Information Architecture How Does IA Fit into the Project Lifecycle Strategy and Tactics Wireframe to Design Examples Why IA Matters
  3. 3. What is User Experience?The term used to describe theoverall experience andsatisfaction a user has whenusing a product or system.It most commonly refers to acombination of software andbusiness topics, such as sellingover the web, but it applies toany result of interaction design.* *Wikipedia –
  4. 4. Elements of User Experience *Jesse James Garrett
  5. 5. What is Information Architecture?Information Architecture Culture, Business Goals, Technology,(IA) is the art of Resourcesexpressing a model or Contextconcept of informationused in activities that IA Content Usersrequire explicit details ofcomplex systems. Information being read, Tasks, Behaviors, data, documents, Audience, Looking to knowledge accomplish goals *Wikipedia –
  6. 6. User ExperienceUsability Engineer Graphic Designer Information Architect Interaction Designer
  7. 7. Richard Saul Wurman coined the term in“information architecture”in 1997
  8. 8. Let’s take a Deeper Dive
  9. 9. Breaking Down the Concepts of Information Architecture 1 Information 2 Structuring, Organizing, and Labeling 3 Finding and Managing 4 Art and Science
  10. 10. Informationis DataandKnowledge
  11. 11. How would you Structure, Organize and Label all of theseproducts from scratch?
  12. 12. Your Users Are…. browse. search. ask questions. Can they find your data?
  13. 13. Managingthesesolutionsentailsfinding abalancebetween theuser and thebusinessneeds
  14. 14. Little Bit of Art Little Bit of Science  Experience  User Needs  Intuition  Patterns of Behavior  Creativity  Scientific Analysis
  15. 15. Succinctly…
  16. 16. Information Architects could almost be called“Digital Librarians”
  17. 17. Where Does IA Fit intothe Project Lifecycle?
  18. 18. Typical Project ProcessDiscovery Design Build Test Launch
  19. 19. Optimized Project Lifecycle
  20. 20. Optimized Project Lifecycle
  21. 21. Strategy and Tactics
  22. 22.  Audience ResearchStrategy  Audience Personas Users  Content Audit / Analysis  Classification Schemes  Labeling  Card sorting  Affinity Diagrams Business  Data Flow Diagrams  Beta Sitemap  Content Maps  Low-Fi Wireframes  Hi-Fi Wireframes  Navigation Optimization Technical  Wireframe Testing RequirementsTactics
  23. 23. Audience Research and Personas Conduct interviews with your users Online user testing Audience surveys Record each session with audio and or video. Watch, list, and interact Formulate personas based off of your research
  24. 24. Content Audit and Analysis Is there an existing website? Is there a current sitemap that illustrates the number of pages per domain? Need to understand the existing content and data types in order to optimize the hierarchy Target the content types instead of generalities
  25. 25. Content Audit and Analysis Create spreadsheet detailing the breakout of existing pages Document Page Name, URL, Document Type, Topic of Discussion and any additional Notes
  26. 26. Classification SchemesHow Will the Content BeOrganized? Alphabetical Audience Color Date Geographic Popularity Tag-Based Task Topic
  27. 27. Labeling Need clear and concise words that differentiate grouping from groupingWhere to look for input onjustified labeling conventions Ask individuals during user research Information gathered from card sorting exercises Review internal search words Review referring keywords
  28. 28. Card sorting Task users with grouping information in a fashion that makes the most sense to them 2 different types of card sorts: Open and Closed Results are analyzed and used as a guide when creating the website’s hierarchy
  29. 29. Affinity Diagrams Describes the system from the users point of view Captures the behavioral requirements by detailing the scenario driven requests by each persona Useful for illustrating the interaction between the audience and the system and/or website
  30. 30. Data Flow DiagramsGraphical representation ofthe “flow of data” through aninformation system.Data Flow diagrams can alsobe used for the visualizationof data processing.* *Wikipedia
  31. 31. Beta Sitemap
  32. 32. Content Map
  33. 33. Low-Fi Wireframes
  34. 34. High-Fi Wireframes
  35. 35. Navigation Optimization Are your targeted keywords present within the architecture? Are there any words that can be changed which will not change the context of the label? Must strike the balance between optimizing for search engines and changing the meaning for the userExample: Instead of just “Articles”what type of articles are they? Couldthey be labeled “Cooking Articles.”
  36. 36. Wireframe Testing Moderated and Unmoderated testing Users are assigned tasks to complete “Blocks of content” are clickable to other wireframes Testing is recorded to capture the subtleties All qualitative data
  37. 37. Wireframe to Design Examples
  38. 38. Why Does InformationArchitecture Matter?
  39. 39. Why Does InformationArchitecture Matter? consider this…
  40. 40. Do you know how many potential customers leave your site due to frustration?
  41. 41. How much extratime and money isspent on customersupport becauseyour customerscan’t find theinformation theyseek?
  42. 42. If customers can’t find what they’relooking for, what does that say aboutyour brand?
  43. 43. Jakob Nielson states:“ The cost of poor navigation and lack of design standards is….at least ten million dollars per year in lost employee productivity for a company with 10,000 employees. ”
  44. 44. Continuing IA Education Websites / Blogs
  45. 45. Thank you.Questions.Wrap Up.