Before setting out to build a house, an architect will draw up a blueprint to figure out the design and structure of the project. This blueprint not only allows the architect to prototype ideas, but communicate the design and instructions to the team of people who will go on to build the house.
Information architecture is like a blueprint for a user interface. It defines the organization, structure, and navigation of the interface.
Just like the architect needs to understand the space available and the general needs of the client for that space, the designer will outline how many pages an interface will need and what the purpose of each page will be.
Then, there’s the question of how to prioritize the space according to the user’s needs. An architect might consider who will live in the house. A single person might want a large open common space - living, dining, and office spaces all easily accessible. A family might feel very differently. Similarly, it’s important to prioritize pages and content based on who the target audience is, how they expect to use the product, and how they will move through the interface. By defining the structure of the content, as well as how it’s prioritized, organized, and navigated, designers can increase the usability of the interface.
In this lesson we will cover how to develop information architecture, as well as the role it plays in interaction design. We will complete the process of developing the information architecture beginning with content inventory, audit, and organization, followed by building a site map, and finally outlining the navigation.
Let’s get started!
What other analogy could be used to describe the relationship of information architecture to an interface?
Information architecture could also be compared to a skeleton in a body. It is the internal structure of the site!