What is information architecture? As per Wikipedia it is “the art and science of organizing and labelling data including: websites, intranets, online communities, software, books and other mediums of information, to support usability”. Information Architecture is so important, it’s usually done by many roles on one team. You can count on designers, developers, and content strategists to all have a say on what optimal information architecture looks like, and how to achieve it. Simply put, information architecture is the hierarchy of content and visual media that helps users navigate your website with ease.
Here are 5 tips and tricks for optimal information architecture in your website.
Structure Content Effectively
When laying out your information architecture, there are two ways to do it: flat or deep. A flat layout has more categories up front, which means it can be more confusing to users at first glance, but it gives them more access to information immediately. A deep layout means things look more sleek initially, but it can be harder to access information. Choose wisely. The layout of your information can dictate the entire user experience of your website.
Arrange Navigation to Enhance Sitelinks
Sitelinks are the subcategories a search engine pulls up from your website. Having clear site navigation with the most relevant categories makes searching for your website easier and can drive more targeted traffic.
Give Users Meaningful Choices
When dictating information architecture, it’s important to consider the paradox of choice. If you use too many categories, you make your site harder to navigate and less enjoyable. If you give users too few categories, it makes information harder to find. Strike a balance and provide meaningful choices of categories with logically laid out (and clearly marked) subcategories.
“Great content strategists will provide a menu of main categories, and each main category will contain related sub-categories and posts.”-Forbes
Help Users Access Information in Different Ways
By integrating menus, a search function, and a way to browse, you provide users different ways to access the content on your website. By giving multiple options, you are providing a wider variety of users the tools they need to utilize your website in their own way on their own terms.
Review Your Analytics
How do you know if you have optimized your information architecture? Review your analytics. Analytics can tell you if your content structure and hierarchy are effective, encouraging continued viewing, and creating conversions. If it’s not doing all of those things, analytics can demonstrate where your website needs to be adjusted