Information architecture is art of connecting people to the content they are looking for. Information architecture act as common factor between the context, content, users and how to arrange them structurally in order to simplify the path of information, user is looking for.
This report discusses about the concept of information architecture and the importance of the information architecture in the modern application. The report enlist two technology which is online news app and online book store which has changed the way of people accessing information and how they are using information architecture to improve their business.
The report gives an example of web and mobile application which include is New York Times app and Harvard online book store.the easy five benefits of information architecture and also a area of improvement which is required in this field.
Information Architecture can be defined as art and science of organizing the content, context, picture of the website and designing in such a way that it can simplify the path for the user to search for the information they are looking.
Importance of information architecture in modern application
Information architecture is very important in the business field especially for the start ups, where an efficient use of information architecture can be advantageous for everyone including employees and their clients. Various uses of information architecture are listed below:
(Russell-Rose & Tate,2012)Designing the information structure using information architecture can help the users to select best possible choices for their problems, especially in business field where a well constructed information structure can lead to efficient decision making ,as they are presented with best possible choices for any condition.
- In business world company undergoes continuous changes in order to adapt to the changing technologies, therefore they should use information architecture in a way which allows flexibility so that the information structure is flexible enough to match the companies needs
- In business world using a bad information architecture can lead its project in disorganized form leading to chaos thus more time and money will be wasted to find the solution. In other hand using good information architecture will enable a better search engine optimization which will provide best possible solution to their project difficulties which saves both time and money.
- Information architecture does not come under a technical architecture it is basically based on the psychological model of the users and adapts itself according to the individual query.The mental models of the user are an explanation of his thought process which implies how his query works in the real world. Many websites are not user-friendly and they do not follow any architecture to present the information. As the result the information is difficult to access through their website and user have to call in their office to get the information. The described case is an example of why all website owners should focus on certain mental models of their users and design their website according to it. These mental models will not only provide a particular design, but also various shortcuts such different colored underlined text for links, and important points for a particular topic which can be a map of the user's thinking process.
- Company CEOs often ignores the importance of Information architecture while designing their website. If users are not able to find the desired content they are looking for in their website they will leave the website and will likely prefer their company’s website for further use. A website can't work for a company when its client experience is negative. When the client experience is not satisfactory, the company will see a decrease in client
visiting their websites. In order to keep the client experience positive, a website should be designed as per user choice.
- The company working on a website design may have difficulties in finding the issue in their project, developing information architecture of the project will help to offer better insight in the project. It will help them to know the project content well. Developing Information architecture for the content will help in understanding how and why a website works.
Technologies that radically changed the way people access information
News paper and books are some of the ways people are accessing information but with changing technologies various technologies has been developed that has change the way people are accessing information. Some of them are:
Online news app:
Nowadays almost forty percent of the total world population has access to the internet. (Zhu et al.2013) In order to reach the maximum people newspapers like times of India ,New York times , telegraph, Indian express have developed their own app where they are providing news videos, articles. In the online news app each news is given in long description as compared to newspaper where minimum information is printed. The online app also contains live videos and news which can be seen by user anytime and anywhere. Taking the Information architecture of “New York times app”, the readability is designed in such a way that the breaking news and the main headlines are readable without zooming while it’s the subtopics are unreadable, user have to zoom in order to access the news. The news category such as sports, politics and entertainment are in navigation section where user can navigate to any category. The site has also been provided with search option so that user can navigate to any news by typing the headline.
Online book store
The online book store has been very beneficial for the students who don’t have access to library. Books ranging over thousands of dollars are easily available in online book store for minimum cost. Harvard online book store is one of the largest book store which contains over millions of books. It has a excellent information architecture where user can easily access the required information in less time. The website has search index where upon entering the book name it can lead to the desired book. Beside search index there are sections like recommended where the website suggest the best book for the particular topic, wish list where user can store the list of its book and my account where user can develop his account on website. The site contains discount, membership, gift for loyal customers. Thus it is based on good information architecture.
Example of a web or mobile application that utilizes good information architecture.
The websites and mobile application that utilizes good information architecture is New York Times app and Harvard online book store.
Benefits of Strong Information Architecture and one opportunity for improvement.
(Russell-Rose & Tate, 2012)Organizing the content of the website and easily guiding ways to the information user requires is the main objective of internet architecture .When a user can get the information they seek thus using the company’s product successfully. Some of the benefits are:
- Better Project Scope & Management: When Information architecture is designs properly for a project. Designers and developers will have a better understanding regarding the project scope, which will enable them to provide more accurate cost to the product developers, mangers. Using information technology for a project
- Correcting content gaps : (Ren & Glissmann, 2012) Information Architecture is mainly about organizing the content of a project in a logical, user friendly way. Using Information architecture can be used to track the content which can fit in the project and the content which might be lacking. Thus it is very beneficial for the developers to track the progress of the project and modify the changes where required. Constructing an Information architecture especially for an project with lots of content will separate the necessary content from the content which is required.
- Helps to know the project inside and out: developing the information architecture for the project will be like a blueprint of the project which contain all flaws and the upgrade required for the project thus it help in overview of the project
- Customers always prefer websites having good information architecture as their search result is well optimized which help them to find the solution of the problem in less time without much difficulty.
- Creating information architecture for an website is cheap thus it can be constructed easily.
Analyzing various benefits there are is still a improvement which can be done to make Information architecture:
Time consuming analysis of results – The set up and sorting can be achieved quickly, however the data analysis can be complicated and time-consuming, particularly if the results are inconsistent.
From the report it can be concluded that the information architecture is cheap easy to develop and beneficial for ay project and website. Designing Information architecture can help in overview of the project or website thus helps in detecting the flaw in the project and can be improved and upgraded when required. The report enlist the importance of information architecture in making a product or designing a website. Online news app and online book store are some of the technologies which has revolutionized the way people are accessing information. New York time app and Harvard online book store are some of the examples which illustrates the good use of information architecture. Analyzing the five benefits it can be said that information architecture is necessary for any project but need to work upon the improvement which is described in report.
Russell-Rose, T., & Tate, T. (2012). Designing the search experience: The information architecture of discovery. Newnes.
Russell-Rose, T., & Tate, T. (2012). A brief history of information architecture. Journal of information architecture, 3(2).
Ren, G. J., & Glissmann, S. (2012, September). Identifying information assets for open data: The role of business architecture and information quality. In Commerce and Enterprise Computing (CEC), 2012 IEEE 14th International Conference on (pp. 94-100). IEEE.
Zhu, J., Chan, D. S., Prabhu, M. S., Natarajan, P., Hu, H., & Bonomi, F. (2013, March). Improving web sites performance using edge servers in fog computing architecture. In Service Oriented System Engineering (SOSE), 2013 IEEE 7th International Symposium on (pp. 320-323). IEEE.