On What Factors Does the Information Architecture Depend?
Information Architecture comes from understanding business objectives and constraints, the content and the requirements of people that will use the site.
Three things you need to research for effective information architecture in your site:
- Identify the existing content and website structure - If you have an existing site, it’s a good idea to analyse and record how information and content are distributed across your website. Also the analytical tools act as a great help to identify which pages are most visited and which pages need more visibility.
- Identifying the user requirements – It’s a good idea to identify who are your targeted users and what are their information-seeking behaviors and needs.
- Identifying the business requirements - Identifying the business’ needs is prime to successful information architecture. It also important to identify that if your site is targeted at your customers, what information should they first encounter on landing? How will they explore information about your products and services?
How to know where to put information in Information Architecture?
After considering the important factors for your information architecture, the next question that needs to be considered is where to put them in the website to catch a visitor’s attention? It all depends on how the users scan the information.
In an eyetracking survey that was conducted with 232 users, it was found that the reading patterns were fairly consistent across different sites and tasks and it took the shape of a F (fast). You might wonder how the F pattern is being formed:
- “Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.
- Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element form the F’s lower bar.
- Finally user’s scan the content’s left side in a vertical environment. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.”
The above figure highlights the user eyetracking studies of three websites. The findings are
- The first image identifies how the article in the about-us section is being scanned.
- The second image displays about how the product page is being scanned, how the users scanned the products, the red colour indicates which portion of the pages are being scanned more, the yellow areas indicate the fewer views, followed by the last-viewed blue areas. The Gray areas didn’t receive any fixation.
- The third image is of search engine results page.
Though reading patterns mostly resemble an F, the distance between the lower and the upper bar gave different shape to the alphabet. Sometimes users will read across a third part of the content, making the content look more like an E rather than F. Other times they’ll only read across once, making the pattern look like an inverted L (with the crossbar at the top).
The research gives us a clear identification about how to structure information for best effective results.
How can you measure the effectiveness of the Information Architecture?
Effective information architecture depends upon 3 factors:
- The Click Factor – Click Factor determines within how many clicks the user can find the information they are looking for from your site. The less the clicks the better it is.
- The Learning Factor – This factor determines how effective the Information Architecture is and how easily people can learn to navigate not only for the first time but also after couple of visits.
- The Find Factor – The third factor for effective information architecture in your site is how easily one can find the information they are looking for from your site without using the search engine.
How do you map IA and SEO to your online business?
Information Architecture helps you to identify how information in your site is organised, structured and labeled to help visitors find what they are looking for. SEO is the process of improving the visibility of the site to see how often your site shows up in the natural listings on relevant search engine results pages in order to increase the traffic flowing to that particular URL. To sum up, SEO experts try to boost traffic to your site and IA specialist are interested in making content easy to find and usable, so both of them have the same goal of converting your conversions.