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Comment aider vos clients à se repérer dans votre site Web

How to help clients find their way around your website

October 6, 2017By Marilyne Messier
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Information architecture (IA) is something that everyone knows about without realizing it. We are constantly faced with classification systems: the way food is arranged on grocery shelves, the filing system at the office or even the organization of bathroom products in our cabinets are all examples of daily information architecture. The same principles apply to information found on a website.

Information architecture, what is it exactly?

Information architecture aims to organize your website or application content in relation to the needs of users while respecting the company’s objectives and constraints. All in the goal of allowing clients to easily find the information they are looking for.

IA focuses on a set of characteristics:

  • Information organization on the website and individual pages
  • Navigation among the pages: where are we and where could we go?
  • Wording choices
  • Research systems

Tree mapping is the main principle to visualize website structure. It is important to have a balanced tree map. A structure that is too deep will make the user pass too many steps whereas a structure that’s too wide will offer too many choices in the main menu. To decide how to organize the website, 3 aspects must be taken into consideration: the context, the content and the users. One of the top mistakes in web management is having a website structure that reflects the organizational structure of the company. It is important to organize information in a way that makes sense to your website users.

And the user experience in all that?

Information architecture is a part of user experience design (UXD). It is a discipline closely related to ergonomics and usability. All these disciplines have a common goal: to ensure users are comfortable navigating your website. For a perspective focused on ergonomics and usability, check out this article about user-centered design.

Good information architecture, a return on investment

We cannot measure IA efficiency in concrete terms. Nevertheless, information architecture affects website ease of use and thus brings an improved user experience. Information architecture influences the ability to find or not find the right information and we also avoid having to recreate the website if it is too difficult to use.

Remember

Always ask yourself:

  1. What are users looking for on your website?
  2. What is the most logical and simple way for them to attain the main reason for their visit?

Your website needs a strategy before it is launched, much in the same way a house needs a plan before construction can begin. There is no perfect way to structure a website, but if the structure is well thought out in advance, your site will last a long time and will contribute to user appreciation as well.

Do you have a web project in mind? Learn how to structure your information correctly (French only).