Information architecture

Information architecture is the art and science of organizing, labeling, and navigation systems within websites and intranets. It is a sub-discipline of user experience design.

At its core, information architecture is about helping people find things. It is the way we structure and label websites, apps, and other digital products to support usability and findability. And, it’s not just about the technology—information architecture also includes principles of organization, labeling, and navigation that can be applied to any type of product or system.

Good information architecture makes it easy for people to find what they need and complete their tasks successfully. Poor information architecture can lead to frustration, confusion, and even abandonment.

There are many different approaches to information architecture, but most IA frameworks share some common elements:

  • labels and taxonomies to help people find content
  • navigation systems to help people move through content
  • search features to help people find specific content
  • content organization rules to determine how content is grouped and displayed
  • metadata to describe and classify content

Information architecture is a critical component of user experience design, but it’s often misunderstood. Some people think IA is only about website navigation, while others see it as a branch of library science. In reality, information architecture is neither of these things—it’s its own distinct field with its own set of best practices.

If you’re working on a digital product, chances are good that you need an IA. Whether you’re starting from scratch or redesigning an existing product, an IA can help you organize your content in a way that supports your users’ needs.