Somar pride ourselves on great user-driven design and creating engaging digital experiences. But often it’s the content of your website that determines whether the encounter is fulfilling to the user, or frustrating.
With each project we engage with, we delve into questions such as; What kind of content should we have on your site? How should we structure the menu? What should be the first-level menu items? What should the menu links be called, and what will be the best language or terminology for your audience?
Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labelling content in an effective and sustainable way. The end goal of your website is to help users find information and/or complete tasks. Or achieving that balance between the users’ desires and the business’s needs.
Users have four fundamental questions when they arrive at a website: Am I in the right place? Do they have what I am looking for? Do they have anything better (if this isn’t what I want)? What do I do now? One of your key tasks is to make sure you do a good job at answering these questions - across every page of your site.
While the content structure is vital, another part of the equation is providing information in context. For example, if a user is looking to buy online airline tickets to the United States, perhaps at the end of that process it would be beneficial to show the user a page on helpful travel information such as Visa requirements? Or if they’re looking at a page titled “South Island Trout Fishing” perhaps linking to a page regarding fishing licenses in New Zealand could anticipate the user’s needs?
Dan Ramsden, a UX design and IA specialist from the UK, has written about the comparison between a ladder versus a climbing wall when thinking about content structure. As mentioned, a user is typically on your website to achieve an end goal - whether that’s to obtain information, be entertained, or for a conversion such as a sale or a query.
There are a number of ways to help clarify and refine the content architecture of your website - such as persona creation, use case goal evaluation, card sorting, content auditing, wireframing, and of course - user testing. Somar Digital can offer our expertise in web development and creating a content strategy to help your users navigate their way around your website.