Posted on 08/16/2017 at 08:00 AM
In the world of web design & development, Information Architecture refers to the manner in which the content and pages of a website are organized. As you can imagine, this is a very important element of a user friendly website.
Too many times, however, decisions about where pages should be placed within a hierarchy are made based on hunches and opinions. This can be a huge mistake; if the right factors are not considered, you can leave your users frustrated and hinder your website’s ability to accomplish what you need it to, whether that’s selling your product, providing information or gathering leads.
So how do you avoid this? Make these considerations to ensure you end up employing an Information Architecture that truly meets the needs of your users and helps your website to accomplish its goals!
Who Are Your Users?
Without developing an understanding of who your users are and what they are coming to your website to find, you won’t stand much a chance when it comes to organizing your information in a way that makes sense to them. Identify what your audience needs from your website, and make that sure you place pages in a location that indicates their priority and relevance.
How do users currently navigate your website?
If you have Google Analytics on your website, you can easily get an idea of how users are currently moving through it by utilizing the behavior flow report. Are your users bouncing around from page to page a lot and at a very brisk pace? Or do they seem to be heading straight to the area of your website that you intended them to? If your users are completely missing the mark on some of your most important content, then it’s likely they are leaving before taking the desired actions. This can indicate that something is amiss with your content or structure.
Avoid Choice Overload
Try to limit the number of options you present to your users. Too many choices can cause users to feel overwhelmed. There is no need to list every single webpage in your navigation, and in fact, that can do much more harm than good. Instead, put intuitive categorization to work, placing important content in either the main or sub navigation. Then, lead users to less-important pages through a logical internal link structure.
Limit the Amount of Content on Each Page
Avoid creating content that is long and cumbersome. Users that encounter lengthy content are likely to breeze by it without giving it any consideration. If you can limit the info presented to a user, not only is it more likely that they will actually read and engage with it, but it’s also more likely they will continue on their path through your website rather than bouncing away from it out of frustration.
Limit Homepage Content
The same is true when it comes to the amount of content you should display on the homepage. Though it is always good to reference your most high priority and relevant content right on the homepage, it’s important to be a bit exclusive in determining what that content will be, reserving valuable homepage real estate for only truly valuable content.
When it comes to naming the various categories to be featured in your website’s navigation, it is important to be clear and concise. Strike a balance between incorporating keywords that are important to search engines and keywords that are descriptive and concise enough for users.
Ready to Make Sense of Your Website?
There’s no doubt, organizing a lot of content into an intuitive sitemap can be extremely overwhelming. If information architecture or sitemap planning isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse, we can help. Get in touch with one of our sitemap experts today.