The information architecture of a website is often overlooked and forms the basis. The user is visiting a website with a specific task or goal, which can be as simple as finding a company’s address or phone number.
If the information experience makes the user work really hard for what they are looking for, as often happens with poorly designed websites and information experiences, then the user simply goes back to Google and searches for a competitor. If there is a great information architecture, it is not.
Creating the information architecture of a website usually starts with research to best understand what users are looking for, what their intentions are, where they are from, etc. Then an information architecture in the form of a sitemap design is created to fully understand how the website can best serve the user to achieve his goal.
All too often, however, in our experience redesigning dozens of websites – ten of which received several international awards for mobile information experience, user experience and creativity in website redesigns in the past year alone – we have found that agencies and home improvement are below average Marketing Communication / design professionals err towards their lower selves by jumping into episodic design before laying a solid foundation. A sitemap is an underlying foundation or structure of your website. Here you will find the four most important sitemap structures that we recommend.
This is imperative because a website’s sitemap is a crucial factor for SEO as well as for user experience (UX), as it organizes content logically and makes it as easy as possible to access when a user is looking for something in particular. Along with a sitemap design that follows proper best practices, an inventory of all content should be taken to determine what to keep, repurpose, or rewrite, and what to discard entirely when it is no longer relevant.
All too often we have found that this process is being ignored, ignoring user-centric design principles like mobile-first. Ultimately, as Google says, focus on the user and everything else will follow.
The specifics of the information architecture
Therefore, an essential tactic when designing a website is to make sure that it has great information architecture. It’s pretty obvious when you visit a website that doesn’t have it. You keep clicking and searching and still can’t find what you’re looking for.
The last thing you want to do with your website is get your visitors to leave and look elsewhere. In fact, the user-friendly aspect of a website actually adds to your SEO ranking. So when you have a great information architecture in place, not only will you keep your visitors on your website, gain new leads and potential conversions, but you will also improve your search engine ranking, which will help you gain visibility and increase the number of visitors you find in the first place Line. It’s basically a win-win situation.
Information architecture is essentially a path or map that helps guide visitors through your website. Technically, it systematically builds up content in order to classify it logically and seamlessly so that users can easily find their way through the offerings on your website.
An easy way to envision information architecture is to think about a roadmap. On a road map, a driver would find his destination and then plan the most logical route to get there, including any stops he would like to make along the way. With a great information architecture, the user can go to a website with a specific label and easily see the best route to get there as well as all the stops (additional information they want to learn) they want to take with them along the way.
Build the best information architecture
When building the information architecture of a website, you want to do a lot and focus on specific areas to make it as user-friendly as possible.
- Learn more about your target customer
The first thing you need to do before you actually begin building your website’s information architecture is to research and get to know your target customer. In order to create a card specifically for them, you need to understand their wants and needs. You just can’t drag them a map to their destination if you don’t know where they’re going.
Study data from customer and stakeholder interviews. Survey your target market for specific information, such as: B. what his problem is, why he is on the website, what result he is looking for and more. Find the information you need and learn what your customer really wants. You need to understand your target market in order to meet their needs. So, use as many methods as you can to get the information you need.
- Create customer personalities
As you research, you can create customer personalities to help you understand your target market’s motivations. Each persona has a different motivation and story; For example, the persona “Goals” visits your website because they have a goal in mind. That person can visit your website to search for a specific service. Record the different scenarios for this persona.
By mapping the unique scenarios of each persona, you can really see the different paths visitors might take on your website. Knowing all the paths can help you create a flow on your website that will help deliver the experience these people are looking for.
- Determine your sides
Once you understand the different steps your visitors need to take, you can determine the different pages your website needs. When you create pages, you want to make sure that each page is helping your visitors do something they need to do and is a seamless stop on the way to their destination.
Remember, if there is a gas station just off the freeway, you don’t have to travel 10 miles to fill up with gas. Each page needs to make sense and play a role in your visitor’s experience.
- Use text as needed
If your website calls for a task that isn’t entirely obvious, make sure and include simple instructional text. You don’t want your text to be intrusive or spoil the experience, so just add a small amount of text if needed and try not to break the flow of the page.
- Create user flow
You create user flows to ensure that your pages function cohesively and provide a simple and clear experience for your visitors. Review the process for each of these common areas:
These visitors come to your website because they have an idea of what they are looking for but aren’t entirely sure. They hope that visiting your website and looking around will be helpful. Make sure your navigation page is clear and has a number of relevant links.
These visitors know exactly what they are doing. They come to your website to search for one thing and they do just that. You need to make sure that you have clear navigation and that your search is working well. For example, a user with a navigation intent may search for “Facebook” in Google.
3. Don’t know
These people go to your website to search for something, but they look around and often find something else. You should make sure that all of your pages have links to more information and that there is a seamless flow from one page to the next.
Returning visitors have been there before and are back, either for the same reason or because they believe that based on their previous experiences, you now have what they are looking for. You may want to add accounts that are easy to use so that returning customers can easily come back and find exactly what they’re looking for, as well as see any previous browsing history or favorites.
The foundation of creating a user-friendly website is to make sure your website is relevant and easily flows from one thing to the next with clear call-to-action, hierarchy, and solid informational experience. If you can give your visitors this experience, it won’t be difficult to keep them with you.
Do you need help creating a great user experience? Arrange a quick call here!