Information Architecture put simply is the planning stage of a website and involves organising and designing the structure or "blueprint" of a site and should be carried out before any design or development takes place.
Here is a good example of the importance of Information Architecture.
Choosing Product Navigation Categories
You must consider the end user when deciding what categorisation to use for website product navigation.
We could categorise a company's products by brand, model number, manufacturer, or by function but which is best?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes the most sense to the customer?
- Will a customer who is new to our products/brand be able to find what they're looking for?
- Will a user who knows what product they need be able to find it quickly?
Categorise Your Products Carefully
Some websites make the mistake of only categorising products by brand/model or manufacturer and using this as the product navigation on their website. In this case customers who are not familiar with the company's products will struggle to find what they are looking for.
For example, the Peugeot UK website categorise their cars by model number, 107, 207, 308, 3008, 407, 4007, 807 etc. As a potential customer who is not familiar with Peugeot's model numbers I don't know what models to consider if I'm looking for an estate car. Do I click through every model category to try and find what I'm looking for or give up?