Reinforcing User Experiences with Information Architecture
If you’re starting to think that Information Architecture sounds a lot like User Experience (UX), you’re not alone.
UX is designed and built upon the foundation provided by IA. In order to create a truly enjoyable experience for your users, you need to start with a great IA.
UX is only at least as good as the IA it is designed upon. In order to achieve the greatest possible experience for users, UX architects and designers need a solid IA foundation.
Metaphorically, anyone can write a song (#JustinBieber). But not just anyone can write a great song (#JohnLennonImagine). The songwriter needs a great foundational concept and structure for the song in order for it to flow to a degree that will be enjoyable for the audience.
This is why human-centered web design matters to your design process.
Human Centered Design (HCD) allows you to view the design process – from start to finish – as completely devoted to humans (as opposed to viewing users as an afterthought), establishing how best to design great UX. It starts with a good understanding of people, their needs, and how they would want your website to look and feel for them.
In order to figure out what your site’s users want, you must observe their behavior (get their feedback after maneuvering through the site or a similar site) and think about the experience from the perspective of the user.
HCD makes a website smoother and easier to use. This may mean a more concise menu bar, interactive videos, easy-to-find contact form, or “1-Click Apply” buttons for job candidates.
Keep in mind the following equations in regard to the relationship between IA, UX and HCD:
Great IA ≠ Great UX
Great IA + Great HCD + Great UX = Customer acquisition/loyalty
(Not making sense? Let’s work on these math problems together!)
Both Information Architecture and User Experience need to be human centric. If you think in terms of humans as being the reason your website exists, you can design user experiences on top of your foundational IA that help you connect with clients and build your digital strategy.