When someone visits a website, they’re usually there looking for specific information. Information architecture (IA) makes it possible for them to find what they are looking for.
When your website architecture is thoughtful and well-composed, it makes it easy for people to navigate through your site and find what they need. IA is the process of thinking through your website’s content and building a website architecture that makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for.
There are eight primary information architecture principles: objects, choices, disclosures, exemplars, front doors, multiple classification, focused navigation, and growth. By thinking through each of these principles, you’re able to determine the best strategy for your website architecture.
Information architecture principles can sound complex, but the simple act of creating subpages is an act of IA. Subpages make finding specific information easier for visitors to your website. Labels can group things into finer categories. Search is also an aspect of digital information architecture, but it shouldn’t be the first way users engage with your site – they should have a good sense of where to find things just by taking a look at your menus.
With great website architecture, your site becomes an easy-to-use ambassador of your brand. While the best IA should be almost unnoticeable, poor digital information architecture can reflect poorly on your company and even make people less likely to trust you without knowing why. Taking the time to build a quality website architecture will pay dividends in the long run.