What is Information Architecture (IA)?

You’ve probably seen the book and you’ve probably heard the term, but do you know what it is? In the early days of the Web, there were a few people working diligently to bring the concepts of usability and good design to the Web. Among them are Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville who literally wrote the book on IA and the Web (There is a “little IA” and “Big IA” debate still unresolved, we’ll ignore that for now).

Put most simply, by Rosenfeld and Morville:

“The purpose of your IA is to help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect.  As a result, your IA informs the content strategy through identifying word choice as well as informing user interface design and interaction design through playing a role in the wireframing and prototyping processes.”

IA is a process of:

  • Organization, through Schemes and Structures
  • Labeling
  • Navigation
  • Search

By understanding

  • Context
  • Content
  • Users

Okay, so how do we do that? Well, our standard UX process will reveal a lot about our users. We can do research like card sorting and mind mapping to determine how our users think about the information. Then, we make sure that we label things in a way that is understandable by the majority of users, we put it in the right taxonomy for those users and we give them the ability to find what they are looking for.

So, in your opinion, what’s missing in the TruView Live or Link Live Information Architecture?