Information Architecture

In UX, Information architecture (IA) is a discipline that focuses on the structure of information in a digital product (like an app or website).

Updated on March 2nd, 2023


Like houses, digital products also require a solid foundation to be safe and pleasant to use. For digital products, we call this foundation information architecture.

The level of detail for your product's IA is up to the designer, but it could include hierarchy, navigation, features, and interactions. There is no set limit to the size, but all team members and stakeholders should be able to read and understand your product's information architecture in its UX artifact format.

The value of information architecture

For the users, quickly finding what they are looking for on your website is essential for delivering a solid user experience. The faster the users reach their goal, the greater their satisfaction.

Therefore, it is essential to think about different user groups and how they navigate, filter, and search for your content. With a broad understanding of your users' needs through a clear information architecture, you can easily create new features without causing friction.

This is also important to consider from a business perspective since preventing friction for your users is one of the best ways to achieve your business goals.

Information architecture and psychology

Cognitive psychology plays a big role when creating information architecture. It's the study of how our minds work, which mental activities occur in the brain, and how that influences our perception of the world.

Designers can use the following cognitive psychology principles when working on information architecture.

  • Mental models: users have assumptions when interacting with a digital product. As a UX designer, you must consider mental models because they allow you to create an easily understandable and usable IA. For example, you should place information where people expect to find it.

  • Cognitive load is the mental effort people must apply when interacting with a product. When talking about IA, cognitive load focuses on the amount of information people can process. It's important not to overwhelm people with too much information or options at once.

Type of information architecture

As a UX designer, you're likely to work on understanding and setting up the information architecture of your product by delivering the following UX artifacts.

  • Site mapping is the process of listing all pages of a website or application.

  • The content inventory is a list of your content and includes elements such as name, format, URL, creation date, author, and metadata.

  • An information architecture diagram is similar to a sitemap. It shows a visual representation of your information architecture alongside what actions and features will need to be available.

Useful resources

The Beginner's Guide to Information Architecture in UX - Adobe XD

An Excellent Beginner's Guide to Information Architecture - CareerFoundry

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers - UX Planet



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