Information Architecture (IA) for a website is what a blueprint is for a building. As a blueprint shows the scale of a project — all of the rooms, and the ways in and out of the structure — the IA establishes the structure of the website, including all of the sections and pages within the sections.
Defining a website’s IA begins early in every client engagement, immediately after our initial Discovery, in which we audit your competitors’ websites, gather your business and marketing goals and identify the particulars about your products or services. RainCastle’s IA process is highly collaborative and results in a concise site map from which the website design will be based.
The bridge between the IA’s intent and successful implementation — of an engaging experience that warrants repeat visits — is the site’s navigation, which we define as the best visual layout of the IA structure for providing:
- Easy-to-find content
- ubiquitous links that connect relevant content
- Strategic and aesthetic use of color
- Informative and non-gratuitous icons
- Directional symbols
- Scale of images to copy that do not conflict
- Attractive and meaningful imagery
Below is an example of a typical IA map and the resultant web pages that illustrate the above themes.