7 Information Architecture Lessons From Inspiring Quotes
Quotes are inspiring. They are a summarized thought from inspiring people.
A quote can tell you a lot, it can shift your thinking, help you learn something and make you understand what is difficult in a few number of words.
Here are 7 expert quotes with 7 lessons that can we learn from them about information architecture:
1- Empower users
“But good information architecture can do more than just help people find objects and information. It can empower people by making it easier for them to learn and make better decisions.” — Donna Spencer
In the age of information overload and with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day (In 2013), the challenge for information architects doesn’t just make the information findable but also help users take a decision based on this information.
You can achieve that by providing useful information in needed time, present information in a way it can help your users make better decisions and help them overcome information overload with decreasing their mental effort when using your product.
2- Listen to users
“80% of the mistakes you will make in information architecture can be caught if you bring in a great usability expert from the beginning.” — Roger Black
It’s impossible to design a good information architecture without the input of your users. You will end up designing an information architecture that no one understands except you.
Listen to your users, understand their language, learn about how they organize their things and how they search for something. All of these will help you avoid the 80% mistakes.
3- Care about content (Content is king)
“If we continue to treat content as an extra to information architecture, to content management or to anything else, we miss a bright opportunity to influence users. Content is not a nice-to-have extra. Content is a star of the user experience show. Let’s make content shine.” — Colleen Jones
Content is king. Without content their is no product at all. Images, links, text, videos, etc.. are content.
When you think about your information architecture, you must take into consideration what is the content strategy: What will be included now, for the future, what are the content format, who are the target audience and what is the frequency of updating and publishing content?
4- Label it right
“The words we choose matter. They represent the ideas we want to bring into the world.” — Abby Covert
Labeling is one of the most important parts of a successful information architecture. A label can make the user take the right or the wrong decision.
Think about labels before assigning them to items, categories, subcategories and navigational system. Use card sorting technique to learn about how users label items and how they categorize them together.
5- Focus on findability
“Findability precedes usability. You can’t use what you can’t find.” — Peter Morville
A short but strong quote. Can you use what you can find? And I add you can’t also understand what you can find. Findability isn’t more important than usability and understandability. But without findability, users will quit your product.
Good findability will be achieved through a good organization for your content and an excellent labeling for items.
6- Make information architecture your competitive edge
“High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.” — Kristina Halvorson
I see a lot of products to days focus on the external surface (Visual design) and ignore the core and the structure (Information architecture). While the visuals are attractive but if the core isn’t good, soon, your users will go away from using your product.
Users visit your website or user your application for a goal, and for anyone to achieve a goal, he needs information and content. So focusing on useful, usable and enjoyable content is the greatest competitive advantage for you.
7- Work beyond sitemap & navigation
“Information architecture involves the design of organization, labeling, navigation, and searching systems to help people find and manage information more successfully.” — Lou Rosenfeld
Today, many designers think of information architecture as a sitemap or navigation. Information architecture is NOT a sitemap or navigation.
Information architecture is how content is organized, how it is labeled, how the primary and secondary navigation will work together and how people will search for what they need?
Extra lesson: Guide your users
Information architecture for a user is like a map for a traveler. They are both essential for the journey, and without them, the user & the traveler will get lost. — Sherif Amin
Finally, I was trying to think of a quote to illustrate my understanding and thoughts about information architecture. I used the analogy of a traveler with a map which is similar to information architecture in a website or application.
A map is organized by a place like information architecture is organized. A map has labels like information architecture has labels. You can search a map as information architecture is concerned with how users search.
I found them really similar to each other. And you can you summarize information architecture into a quote?