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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley

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Chapter 15: Designing Usable Information Architectures

The information architecture of a product or service as the design behind the design. It is the craft that defines the experience, the thinking, and strategy that underpins the final graphic design. The information architecture determines how a digital product will fit together, how people will move within it, and essentially how it will fulfill its intended purpose.

A good information architecture will allow people to find what they want without really giving it much thought. Great information architecture is invisible to users. They don’t pay it much attention (or care about it) because they are too busy getting on with their tasks.

As the amount of information grows within a site, the importance of designing a logical and scalable architecture to house it becomes more and more important. Search typically brings users to your site and your IA defines what they do from there on in.

Information architecture as a discipline is often discussed generically as “UX” work so it is likely that you will be performing many IA tasks within your work. It is a critical component of the design process and provides the foundations for every successful and usable digital product.

What does information architecture encompass?

The information architecture of a digital product, as well as the UX designer who designs the IA, is typically responsible for the following areas.

Gathering requirements

The information architecture must be designed ...

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