Information architecture (IA) is a key aspect of UX design that focuses on organizing information, structuring Web sites and mobile apps, and helping users navigate them to find and process the information they need. A well-designed, user-friendly information architecture ensures that users spend less time and effort searching for information and are successful in finding what they need. Key information-architecture tasks include identifying common features in content, forming groups of similar information objects, and linking documents to other documents on the same topic. Optimizing search for a Web site or mobile app also helps visitors to find information quickly.
The knowledge that forms basis of a well-designed information architecture for a Web site or mobile app comprises the following:
the information needs of visitors
a site or app’s content
business goals and budget constraints
In this article, I’ll describe some principles of information architecture, then look at the role of information architecture within the context of UX design. Read More
Throughout my career as a user experience designer, I have continually asked myself three questions:
What should my deliverables be?
Will my deliverables provide clarity to me and their audience?
Where do my deliverables and other efforts fit within the spectrum of UX design?
I have found that, if I do not answer these questions prior to creating a deliverable, my churn rate increases and deadlines slip.
When attempting to answer the third question, I use a framework I discovered early in my career: The Five Competencies of User Experience Design.PDF This framework comprises the competencies a UX professional or team requires. The following sections describe these five competencies, outline some questions each competency must answer, and show the groundwork and deliverables for which each competency is responsible. Read More
In the old days, card sorting was simple. We used index cards, Post-it notes, spreadsheets, and buggy software—USort and EZCalc—to analyze the results, and we liked it! But this isn’t another article about how to do card sorting. Nowadays, there are multiple techniques and tools, both online and offline, for generative and evaluative user research for information architecture (IA), which provide greater insights on organizing and labeling information.
In this column, I’ll summarize and compare the latest generative and evaluative methods for IA user research. The methods I’ll examine include open card sorting, Modified-Delphi card sorting, closed card sorting, reverse card sorting, card-based classification evaluation, tree testing, and testing information architecture with low-fidelity prototypes. I’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between these methods, when it makes sense to use each method, and describe an ideal combination of these methods. Read More