In the digital world, information can be structured (and stored) in many different ways, like spreadsheets, sitemaps, content schedules, and databases. In the context of user experience (UX) design, the deliverables designers use to communicate information is dependent on the context of use. Designers often use IA to illuminate what content or information is mission-critical, where it lives in the system, and how it’s connected.
When considering how to begin structuring the information architecture, it is helpful to ask questions such as:
- How do users navigate content on our site?
- If our primary user has X as a goal, how do they go about completing this task?
- How is important information being presented to our user?
- What language or terminology do people use when referring to this process/service/product/thing?
- What terms do people use to search for X?
Designers often talk about “delight” when it comes to user experience: the little details that add something extra to a user’s experience. Ultimately, though, delight alone is not enough to make an interface or experience effective. While investing in funky animations and slick visuals can and does attract users, what most people need is a clear path to achieve their goal or complete a task.