The Infomation Architecture (IA) is the foundation that you are building your website on top of. It will end up being one of the biggest reasons why you get more business from the web or why you don’t.
The Information Architecture Institute says “Information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable”.
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IA is about more than just arranging information for your site, though that’s a huge part of it. Getting your IA right means that the user experience (UX) will be good. And, a good user experience will benefit you a couple of ways:
- Google has told us over and over that UX is an SEO ranking signal. So, if you don’t get the IA of your site done correctly, your site will be harder to rank for SEO.
- UX will have an impact on your conversions. Think about it this way. Visitors coming to your site are in search of something. The faster and easier they are able to get answers to the questions that they are in search of, the more likely that they will do business with you. I might even be able to make the argument that UX is more important than design.
- UX can increase your sales. According to an article on eConsultancy,74% of businesses believe that the user experience is important for improving sales and conversions.
- UX can improve your brand’s impression on your visitors. Consider what people will think about your brand if your site is chaotic. Is that really the impression that you want to give?
Sometimes It’s Complicated
A great deal of the information contained on a website is pretty straightforward. The history of your company goes under the About Us section. The information about the new red widget that you’ve started to sell goes under the Products section of your website.
But, let’s say that you’re running a non-profit organization. Where would you put a page about sponsorship opportunities? Would you put that under the events area, or would you put it under the donate area? And, more importantly, where will the people coming to your site go to find sponsorship opportunities?
Information architecture (IA) is a huge component of a successful website. A website that allows the users to easily find what they are looking for, and ultimately gives your company or organization online success.
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We talk a lot about the many different segments of customers that you have to deal with. How every segment views things uniquely and how it’s important for you to create your content with these segments in mind.
The same holds true for the way that your website is structured. Depending on the uniqueness of your audience segment, they may differ greatly on where they would go to find what they are looking for.
To accommodate these differences, often times you’ll want to put the same information in multiple places. As an example, if you’re setting up a website for a non-profit like we talked about earlier, maybe put the sponsorship information is both places; under events and under donate areas.
Or in the case of that new red widget that you’re selling you certainly could put it under both widgets and put it under red products.
Yes, this will take a little extra work. But, ultimately, you’ll allow your visitors to find what they are looking for and that’s a win-win for everyone.