Although the phrase “Information Architecture” may sound a bit intimidating, the concept can be boiled down quite nicely so everyone is able to understand it. So, let’s try and do just that, so you would able to fathom just how important, but also easy, this fancy term can be for your next WordPress website.
“Information Architecture” pops up rather often and in different contexts, fields and technical communities, but in the field of web design, it mainly refers to ways of organizing and strategizing your web content so that it is easier for your audience to find exactly what they are looking for. Even though it may sound rather simple and easily doable, you’d be surprised how many websites, even the ones from huge brands, fail to arrange their content neatly and methodically. This is why web designers need to be versatile people who know exactly which buttons to push and in what order (no pun intended).
When you are organizing your WordPress page, or any other page for that matter, you need to have just the right amount of knowledge and experience with all the factors that make a website neatly organized. At the same time, you need to be a creative web designer, a skillful copywriter, an SEO expert, while you will also want to be familiar with the concepts of usability, user-friendliness, navigation, page hierarchy, and Internet marketing strategy. Since you need suitable and intuitive information architecture on your page, you better prepare to be both a project manager and a web designer, rolled into one person. Sounds complicated, we know, but it really isn’t.
Main Components of IA
In order to be a successful information architect, you need to have a firm grasp of industry standards for creating, storing, accessing and presenting information. “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web” is a useful book on this subject. Its authors, Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, suggest that the main components of IA include:
- Organization Schemes and Structures: How you categorize and structure information
- Labeling Systems: How you represent information
- Navigation Systems: How users browse or move through information
- Search Systems: How users look for information
Now, these systems of information are somewhat useless if you are not familiar with the essential difference between the notion of content and context, while deeper understanding of the interdependent nature of you users is also rather welcome. The authors of the before mentioned book refer to this concept as the “information ecology” and they note that proper information architecture should be within the cross section of these 3 notions:
- Context: business goals, funding, politics, culture, technology, resources, constraints
- Content: content objectives, document and data types, volume, existing structure, governance and ownership
- Users: audience, tasks, needs, information-seeking behavior, experience
Now that you are familiar with the basics on how to organize your information architecture properly, maybe you’d want to check out some awesome plug-ins for improving your page’s speed and SEO, or perhaps learn how to choose just the right URL structure. Of course, the choice of a right domain name is critical here, so make sure you register your .ME to help you develop a smarter, more intuitive and more efficient IA.