Information Architecture in Web Design

Aaron Henry
Feb 6, 2013 · 3 min read

Today’s applications and web users demand that their browsing experience be easy. An easy or frictionless browsing experience includes two main factors: how fast they find the information they need and the cost of finding that information. Costs aren’t limited to those involved with buying paid content (like premiere access to live streaming events) but also how much effort they have to exert to find relevant information, or opportunity costs. As application and website developers, we always strive to reduce those costs in an effort to increase traffic and/or conversions. To properly build an application or website for oil & gas, yellow-iron equipment, and fleet/vehicle industries, website design firms and advertising agencies must use great information architecture to design for the intended audience. That is to say, design information (data) in an organized manner that supports usability and creates a user-friendly experience.

Planning

Special attention should be paid to all of the project’s needs and wants. The needs, after being expressed to the developer, must be prioritized and organized for ease of reference during the development process. Here are some easy steps to follow that help achieve that.

  • Step 1: Compile all needed elements. All needed elements include copyright, logo, navigation, checkout buttons, product descriptions, images, etc.
  • Step 2: Identify Intuitive Actions. Instead of just adding a social media icon to your social space, add an icon that will automatically tweet about your organization, aiding your search engine optimization and social media campaigns. A current trend in web development is to have the logo serve as a “home button” in addition to a branding element.

Structure Design

Many UX designers use a derivation of a flow chart for navigation and information orientation. A common tactic is to mix and match the relationships within the information graphically, either on a chalkboard or a piece of paper. The relative importance of information to the user, combined with the client’s goals, is what determines the rank or order of information.

As a generic example, if one were to look at the navigation of a website that provided free estimates for “widget repair,” then the navigation item “Widget Repair Services” should appear as one of the first content items shown to the user. Depending on the industry and brand strength of a client, this is often more important that the typical “About Us” section which is shown higher up in the navigation order.

Dynamic & Expanding Content

If information architecture is leveraged properly, then developers can set up areas of your application or website to be dynamic while still helpful to the overall marketing efforts. Dynamic areas on the site are usually product sections, blogs, account, and media galleries where important linking structure can be used in a search engine optimization campaign. Allowing an application or website to grow with the user base is crucial. With technology, the only way to stay relevant is to grow with your user base by providing a consistent user experience and continual, new content.

Take the proper amount of time to prepare for all aspects of your information architecture whenever development for an application or website starts. The more planning and preparation done before the development starts, the easier of an experience your users will have, increasing your traffic and conversions.

Foundry512 is an Austin advertising agency, specializing in application development, website development, search engine optimization, and social media engagement for oil and gas, fleet and vehicle, real estate, and technology industries.

Aaron Henry

Written by

The Founder of Foundry512, a full-service agency in Austin, Texas. I lead a team of talented creatives that span all aspects of modern advertising.

The Shakeout

For creatives and professionals who focus on the relationships brands have with people.

Aaron Henry

Written by

The Founder of Foundry512, a full-service agency in Austin, Texas. I lead a team of talented creatives that span all aspects of modern advertising.

The Shakeout

For creatives and professionals who focus on the relationships brands have with people.

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