What is Information Architecture?
Information architecture is the structure of the web service: categorization, grouping, labelling and inter-linking of content and functionality. From the user’s point of view, information architecture presents itself as navigation and elements lifting content between pages. As such, it is closely coupled with interaction design, and the two are most often worked on as a single entity.
Align with the user’s mental model
Finding what you are looking for is the cornerstone of web service usability. The structure of the service needs to correspond to the mental model of its users. Without putting work into information architecture, that structure often reflects the internal organization of the service provider, does not separate between primary and secondary content, or organically grows out of control over time.
Information architecture is often the subject of early usability evaluation. Methods such as card sorting enable co-designing the information architecture with users.
Information architecture is delivered as one or multiple diagrams, and its translation into navigation is presented in wireframes (produced by interaction design). These are often combined into one deliverable, where the structure diagram itself can be navigated into individual wireframes.
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