Between the birth of the world and 2003 a total of five exabytes of content were created. But by 2013 five exabytes of content were being created each day, mostly online where there’s no set organizational scheme such as the Dewey Decimal System. Also in 2013, content searches cost companies over $14,000 and nearly 500 hour per worker. (See source.)
Information Architecture (IA) creates an infrastructure to manage that proliferation of information so that people can find what they’re looking for on your website or intranet. Easily. And so your navigation scales with your site. Seamlessly. And so your search returns useful results. Every time.
Good IA is invisible. If your site and content are working well users won’t notice, they’ll simply enjoy the experience of navigating through your website or finding content. Just as good wayfinding helps people navigate the physical world, good information wayfinding helps users navigate the online world. It’s only when they gets lost – in the real world or online – that a user realizes something’s amiss.
At Key Pointe our experience and process allows us to translate between internal departments: marketing and business teams learn how to communicate with IT, and IT understands what marketing and business need. In addition, we don’t design by committee, instead we focus on evidence-based decision-making and user-centered solutions.
While every project has different goals and there’s no cookie cutter process, when we work on an IA project with clients the process typically includes:
- A discovery phase when we talk with stakeholders, the project team, and users. This phase also includes a content audit, analytics review, taxonomy review, and baseline usability testing. This phase sets the stage for making evidence-based decisions and recommendations.
- A review stage when we summarize and share our findings with the project team and document the strategy and next steps to make a great IA a reality
- A design stage where we re-architect the website based on user and business needs. This phase includes a site map, content types, taxonomy development, wireframes and usability testing such as card sorting or task testing.
- An optional migration stage where we take your current taxonomy and help map it to a new site map or a new taxonomy
Our series of blog posts on the importance of IA gives you insight into the how and why of IA. The following case studies add perspective into how the IA process is tailored for individual clients.