“Our site needs to be easier to use.”
“I just want to be able to get to the things that are most important to me.”
“It’s so hard to find anything on our site, and I’ve worked here for 15 years. I can’t imagine how someone who is just looking at it for the first time would find anything.”
These statements highlight just some of the common problems related to a website’s information architecture (IA). The way you organize, label, sequence, and group elements on your site — from the smallest files and paragraphs to pages and entire microsites — all of it is managed through information architecture. The better your site IA, the easier it is for visitors to find information and engage with your institution.
What You’ll Learn:
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of information architecture best practices in higher education. We will answer questions that cover a range of topics, including user behavior, labeling, user experience, training, governance, top-down IA, bottom-up IA, and staff and professional development.
What is information architecture? What isn’t information architecture?
Why can’t visitors find anything on my site?
What are some common mistakes and solutions?
What paths do people commonly take to find information?
What should I call this link?
Where does IA fit into user experience (UX) and how can it improve overall UX?
How can I educate people on my campus about what IA is?
What does a professional IA practice look like? Which staff positions should be responsible for IA?
What do I do beyond the first level of navigation?
How do I turn this wall of text into something usable?
What skills are required for working on information architecture?
What are some good resources for IA? Where do I start?
Fran Zablocki has worked with information architecture in some capacity for his entire career. He revamped the IA for Nazareth College’s entire website in 2008, and reimagined the IA for SUNY Geneseo’s alumni website and online community in 2011. He currently works on IA with schools nationwide as part of his role at mStoner, including Miami University in Ohio, Whittier College, Webster University, the American University of Paris, Salem State University, and the State University of New York. Fran holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a specialization in technical writing and information design, and an MBA in marketing and information systems.