According to The Information Architecture Institute, Information Architecture is “the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable.” Information Architecture is aiming at organizing, structuring, and labeling content in a way that helps users to find useful information and solve their problems. It’s quite an unfamiliar term for me before I took UXA but then I learned that IA is ubiquitous and indispensable in our daily life. It can be applied to virtual things like websites and apps we used every day, also real things in our life like subway map and books.
Information Architecture has a very close relationship with UX design. A good IA creates a fundamental structure which leads to a good UX design. UX designers need to consider IA during their design process in order to build a solid foundation, but information architects don’t have to think about the user experience.
The role of an information architect is to produce the structure of a product which allows users to easily understand where they are, how to find the information they need, and what to expect during their interaction with an app or a website.
There are several tools that a UX designer or an information architect constantly use in their workflow. Wireframe is a tool that connects information architecture to user interface design by focusing on the priorities of features and content of a website or an app. A wireframe is an interface illustration that indicates the layout of a product. It emphasizes the arrangement of content on a screen without considering typeface, color, or images.
Research is also important for information architects. An information architect needs to understand users by taking part in usability testings or card sorts, which typically facilitated by UX designers, to see how people organize information and to learn about how users would like to use the information provided.
I think the field of Information Architecture is still growing and expanding. There are some things we already know about IA, but there are also things that need to discover and understand.