If you’ve ever come across the subject UX design, you’re probably conversant with the term information architecture, or as it’s often written for short ‘IA’. As individuals, we’re accustomed to finding exactly what we need, where we expect it to be. And when we find it easily, it’s generally no coincidence. It’s usually the result of extensive user research and testing.
so today I’ll be giving a brief yet detailed explanation to the terms stated above starting with;
WHAT IS INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE ?
The famous UX designer, Jared Spool, once said: “Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.
which in application to design means information architecture simply helps designer is making little to no mistakes in designs .
When all is in order, design becomes invisible. Interestingly enough, this ‘science of order’ does not have one unified definition that experts would agree on. But they all agree that, in one way or another, IA is the practice of organizing content in an effective way.
in conclusion information architecture improves user journey when interacting with a particular design or software.
PRINCIPLES ON INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
These principles are based on the understanding that the architect’s focus should be purely the structure – something that can be shown with maps and flowcharts.
To do this, the architect should get a good understanding of the functionality of the site, and they should also have a complete inventory of the content. Once these requirements are met, the information architect can begin optimizing the IA using these principles:
The principle of objects: Content should be treated as a living, breathing thing. It has lifecycles, behaviors, and attributes.
•The principle of choices: Less is more. Keep the number of choices to a minimal value
•The principle of disclosure: Show a preview of information that will help users understand what kind of information is hidden if they dig deeper.
•The principle of exemplars: Show examples of content when describing the content of the categories.
•The principle of front doors: Assume that at least 50% of users will use a different entry point than the home page.
•The principle of multiple classifications: Offer users several different classification schemes to browse the site’s content.
•The principle of focused navigation: Keep navigation simple and never mix different things.
•The principle of growth: Assume that the content on the website will grow. Make sure the website is scalable.
As you can see, there are many things to take into consideration.
Depending on the size of a website, (IA)can be a complex task requiring ongoing maintenance. But, it is one which is very much needed. Otherwise, it can mean failure for project
information architecture is very valuable to two groups of individuals which are ;
•the users and
WHAT TOOLS DO INFORMATION ARCHITECTS USE?
1. Pen and paper
Pen and paper is all too often underused, although it’s very cheap, simple to use, and effective.
Cheap and easy to use, Realtime Board is my daily go-to tool. You can use it to create charts, agile boards, customer journeys, personas, empathy blueprints, mind maps, organizational charts and more.
Lucid chart is a flowchart maker and online diagram software. They offer different sorts of charts and diagrams, and support creation of mind maps, and wireframes. Their price for a single user is pretty low and the enterprise prices are not bad at all. It’s definitely a good competitor to the Realtime Board.
now let’s go to the next topic which is "USER FLOW"
User flows help designers understand and anticipate the cognitive patterns of our users in order to create products that enable this state of flow they are sometimes reffered to as something between a mind map and a flow chart .
User flows, UX flows, or flowcharts, as they are sometimes called, are diagrams that display the complete path a user takes when using a product. The user flow lays out the user’s movement through the product, mapping out each and every step the user takes—from entry point right through to the final interaction.
WHAT ARE USER FLOWS?
A user flow is a visual representation, either written out or made digitally, of the many avenues that can be taken when using an app or website. The flowchart begins with the consumer’s entry point on the product, like an onboarding screen or homepage, and ends with the final action or outcome, like purchasing a product or signing up for an account. Depicting this process allows designers to evaluate and optimize the user experience and therefore increase client conversion rates.
User flows focus on the way your target audience will interact with the product. They emphasize that all users might not perform tasks the same and may travel in different paths. They are typically attached to a specific persona and entry point.
TYPES OF USER FLOWS
UX flows can be used for all kinds of interface and web design, but certain types of flowcharts are more valuable than others depending on what you are creating. Here we describe a few of the user flow variations and when to use them.
Task flows focus on how users travel through the platform while performing a specific task. They generally show only one path and don’t include multiple branches or pathways like a traditional user flow might. These are best used when the task being analyzed is accomplished similarly by all users. When using task flows, it is assumed that all users will share a common starting point and have no variability in the way the task is carried out.
Wireflows are a combination of wireframes and flowcharts. They utilize the layout of individual screens as elements within the diagram. Wireframes on their own help convey the layout and design on each individual page, but lack the ability to communicate the page-to-page flow of heavily dynamic interfaces.
Wireflows add page context to UX flows, since what users see on each screen greatly impacts their experience through the app or website. Wireflows are especially great when creating mobile screens. The relatively small size of the mobile screens are easily used to replace the more abstract shapes of flow charts
there are a softwares that can be used to create user flow diagrams they include
whimsical ,figjam, Draw dot io
in the image below it shows a basic and simple overview of the user flow of the app Instagram for someone who either logged out of their account and wants to get back in or someone who wants to create one
in the image you can see how the user can interact with the app from the login stage to interacting with the five basic displays of the app which are the (home, search, reels, activity, profile)and their basic functions and displays.
this is a link to the image to get a clearer view- (https://www.figma.com/file/9Xndx9QahroIJ3VgmAdnBF/Untitled)