What Is Information Architecture?

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Author: Artie
Published: 23 Dec 2021

Information Architecture

The term "information architecture" is in multiple fields and it's difficult to establish a common definition. Information architecture is a component of enterprise architecture that deals with the information component when describing the structure of an enterprise.

IA: A Specialization

When dealing with large information systems, experts choose a specialized niche in the field since it is more complex. IA sub-specialties include focusing on search, Metadata, Taxonomy, and other things.

Visual Sitemaps for Web Design

The user will engage with the content in the context of the environment. To figure out the context, consider where, when, why, and how the user will be engaging with the content. The IA is just one part of the design process.

To do any of the later steps, you have to first identify the specific needs of your users and create a structure to meet those needs. The features you need to create a visual sitemap are available in the premium tool, Omni Graffle. The more standard options include line, shape, text, and pen tools, as well as the more advanced options like text objects, position snapping, and automatic layout.

Microsoft Visio is a premium tool that has many premade templates, starter diagrams, and stencils to help you diagramming your IA. The latest version of Visio comes with more features to help you create professional sitemaps, including one-step connections to excel data and new shapes. Team members can see, comment, and share diagrams with one another.

Page Layout for Large-Scale Websites

Page layout defines page level navigation, content types and functional elements. The annotations are used to give guidance to the designers and developers who will use the page layout to build the site. Page templates may be required when defining large-scale websites.

Page templates define the layout of common elements. Page templates are used when developing content management systems. The system is represented by prototypes.

Prototypes can be simple or complex. Paper-based prototypes are just as effective as fully interactive systems for identifying issues. Prototypes are used to bring the information architecture to life.

Users and other team members can comment on the architecture before the system is built. Storyboards are a technique for bringing information architecture to life. A storyboard is a sketch of how a user would interact with a system.

Information Architecture: How Data is Structured, Defines and Grown

Application front ends are becoming more complex, covering multiple platforms, and drawing data from an ever-growing collection of information sources. Information architecture is the art of putting all the pieces together into a coherent whole. The payoff is that a modern information architecture will help a company extract maximum value from its data today, but also position it for future business needs and resilience.

Increased technology debt renders organizations incapable of using emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, if the information architecture framework is not modernized. Information architects can start out as data engineers, business analysts or designers, but then learn the other aspects of the job, because they are sitting at the intersection of three disciplines. Good information architecture design can help users find additional context and information they need to make a decision, such as user reviews or nutrition information.

Data architecture is more concerned with the technical side of managing data, dealing with the raw data and sources that provide the data, as well as data lifecycle management and the infrastructure required, says Vasudeven. Information architecture focuses more on meaning and ease of use. Information architects come from the business analyst side or user experience design side, as a key component of information architecture is understanding how to visually present data using sitemaps, tree structures, or graphic design.

Career paths for information architects can vary greatly because they sit at the intersection of several disciplines. There is no specific degree for information architects, and computer science is the most common major for the job, but English, business, and graphic design are close behind. As they go along, they learn.

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