Architecture of information > information
In today’s world information is everywhere and is presented through a myriad of platforms ranging from physical entities depicting information to digital products and services offering a bundle of data within minimal time .
Information architecture is about helping people understand their surroundings and find what they’re looking for, in the real world as well as online.
In other words, information architecture is the creation of a structure for a website, application, or other project, that allows us to understand where we are as users, and where the information we want is in relation to our position.
A product is basically anything that helps a user complete a certain task. When a users interacts with a product,physical or digital,she is immediately presented with information about that product.The presentation of this information is vital for the user to process it and make decisions based on such information to complete a task.
Take a simple lift as an example. A lift is a product that helps users get from point A to point B with minimum physical load. Cognitive load, however, can vary with respect to the information presented inside the lift to reach point B.
Above is an example of a lift for a 10 storey building. The numbers of the floors are arranged in a bottom up manner,mirroring the building layout.This makes it communicative whereby helping the user orient herself within the lift.The screen at the top helps the user know her current location and the arrow depicts her future flow. The highlighted button helps the user feel in control of the task since it translated to an action after completing a task. The signage buttons denote the output of an action involving them.
Even though the above example may seem trivial,just imagine if the information was presented in a haphazard way. What if the floor numbers were positioned in a top down manner? What if there was no screen on top to denote the current location? Yes,the user would be bemused at the layout and the amount of cognitive load would be far greater to complete the same task.
Content is everywhere in the digital world.If it’s not presented in a way that helps the user in driving her decisions or catalog the information in such a way that can be presented back to the user,levels of frustration will rise resulting in the users giving up on the digital product,be it a website or an app.
A variety of activities are performed in order to present the information in a website or any digital service ranging from user research to strategising content and hierarchies based on the target audience . Each stage consists of a set of deliverables that help drive future actions in the process.