The Importance of Information Architecture When Designing Business Websites

ia-venn-diagram

Graphic design has come to encompass much more than pretty pictures.  Don’t get me wrong, and the end of the day its the aesthetics of a webpage that are going to be the ultimate design point for most people, but there is also an underlying logical architecture to a site that is as importance as the artistic nature of its appearance.

This is one of the ways the Brian Oxford design agency can outperform its competitors, with a combined focus on both stunning, gorgeous graphics, and a fundamentally sound usability and site architecture.  Here are a few of the important benefits of having a sound IA and usability background when designing sites for a business:

Focus on User Actions, Not Just Pretty Pictures

This diagram helps content the confluence of factors that IA and UA focus on.

This diagram helps content the confluence of factors that IA and UA focus on.

We all our brand to convey a beautiful picture, but if a user cannot take the necessary actions, design is useless.  If any of you remember the old days of Flash pages, where websites were based solely in Macromedia Flash, you might remember the usability horrors of it.  Pages could not be bookmarked, it was hard to retrace your steps, many users didn’t even have Flash installed.  It was a UA and IA nightmare.

Thankfully this is largely a thing of the past, but people still make some of the same mistakes.  By focusing purely on what “looks good”, and not was enabled the desired user actions, designers make a fundamental mistake.

Assists with SEO

We live in a Google world, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.  Because of this we need to make sure that our sites are optimized for search engines.  Flash sites were a great example of anti-SEO, because they simply could not be “crawled” by search engines.

With a underlying focus on architecture, this translates extremely well into a site that can be digested easily by a search engine crawler.  Because pages are naturally linked together in a logical fashion (whats good for the user is also good for the search engine), we end up with a product that is much better prepared for the search engine landscape.

Better for Expansion and Scalability

Taking on a small site design, with 5 pages and a basic call-to-action, it may be difficult to mess up and do it sub-optimally.  However without a fundamental focus on IA, it is very difficult to take that small site and expand (or scale) it out to a larger endeavor.  This puts your company is a box that it can’t grow out of, without undertaking a redesign initiative that takes time, money, and can be easily botched.

Making sure to prepare for a large endeavor, even when starting with a smaller one, is key to long-term thinking and growth potential.