The value of information architecture
A lot of companies who wish to create or improve their web sites leave out the process of development of information architecture. Is this because of a lack of understanding of its principles and of the way it’s represented? Or is this because of the “middle of the road” aspect between the abstract ideas and concepts of a strategy and the more concrete wireframes which are closer to the final product?
What is important to know is that because information architecture bridges the gap between the abstract and the concrete, it is not only valuable, but crutial. Without it, it is impossible to build a product that represents the objectives of the company and at the same time satisfies the users’ needs. It would be virtually impossible for a product or service to thrive in competitive business without a well thought-out design structure.
Information architecture is applicable to whatever interactive product we design, be it a Web site, an interactive TV or a cell phone application. They are all dynamic products where content and features change with time. That’s the reason why a website’s basic structure must allow it to grow without significant changes that may cause a huge impact for final users and for those who keep the product alive. By the way, the biggest advantage of a well-designed information architecture is that it makes the product easier for those who use the final product and for those who are in charge of its management.
During a project, the time committed to define the information architecture must not be seen as wasted time but rather as time needed to create a high quality product in short and long terms.