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What is Information Architecture and what is its application in user experience design?

In our day-to-day life, we are exposed to a great deal of information when surfing the internet or using applications. We are so accustomed to this volume of information that we do not even notice that it is there and we do not even think that there are professionals responsible for structuring this information.

Designers, User Experience specialists, content producers and programmers are often involved in what we call Information Architecture. Information Architecture is a core concept in user design and has significant implications for both website and software developers as well as end users. In practical terms, Information Architecture is the practice of deciding the organization of elements, such as information, content, among others.

Consider the following examples: When we enter a supermarket and want to buy chocolate, we first look for the indication of the sweets hall, knowing that we probably find this article there. For the same reason, if we want to look at the calories of some cookies, we look at the label.

The same concept applies to Information Architecture: it helps users find what they are looking for. Thus, when we think of hierarchies, categories and other elements that facilitate the search for something in a technological product, we are referring to Information Architecture.

In general terms, there are four issues that the user should be able to respond quickly when entering a website:

  • What is this?

  • What does this site have?

  • What can I do here?

  • Why should I be here and not on another site?

The design and information architecture of the site should allow the visitor to respond to these questions effortlessly. Information architecture allows businesses to save time and money by solving problems that arise from users' difficulties understanding how to complete tasks or find information on a site.

Valuing the information architecture also prevents unpleasant situations such as the migration of unsatisfied users to the competition or complaints that the application or website does not function as it should.

Information Architecture is often confused with User Experience. Although they are linked, they are not the same thing: it can be said that Information Architecture functions as a basis for the work of user experience designers.

If your company still does not invest in Information Architecture, you should consider doing so. It will surely bring you many benefits and the investment will save you not only money but many headaches caused by cart abandonment and lost customers.

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