Improving the App’s User Experience through Information Architecture

It is important to organize information so that it is easily understandable for the user and intuitively usable. Then the user will stay engaged and nothing stands in the way of using the app frequently and efficiently. Especially an app for a conference programme needs a good structure, because it contains many layers of information. Here are the 8 principles of IA aplied to mobile applications: 

The principle of objects:

Content should be treated as a living, breathing thing. It has life-cycles, behaviors, and attributes. It needs to be clear where buttons lead  and the navigation bar should change depending on the page’s content.

The principle of choices: 

More is less. Keep the number of choices to a minimum. Only important Information for the user should be shown, which also depends on the buttons the user uses. 

The principle of disclosure:

Show a preview of information that will help users understand what kind of information is hidden if they dig deeper. Giving meaningful names to the buttons and other navigational elements.

The principle of examples: 

Show examples of content when describing the content of the categories. If you choose to add categories (for example to an online shop) you should add a short but meaningful description of the category.

The principle of front doors: 

Assume that at least 50% of users will use a different entry point than the home page. When developing a web application you need to test it with at least 5 users per target group. It’s important to not always start from the homepage, but from different pages like the login page. 

The principle of multiple classifications:

Offer users several different classification schemes to browse the site’s content. Make navigation from one page to the other easy and intuitive. There should be more than one way to get to the desired information.

The principle of focused navigation: 

Keep navigation simple and never mix different things. The navigational elements should be clear and understandable leaving no room for misunderstanding. 

The principle of growth: 

Assume that the content on the website will grow. Make sure the website is scalable. Don’t mix up things. Keep it organized and clean.

IA forms a skeleton of any design project. Visual elements, functionality, interaction, and navigation are built according to the information architecture principles. It’s a fact that even compelling content elements and powerful UI design can fail without appropriate IA. Technically, these terms relate to each other but they are by far not the same. IA is a blueprint of the design structure which can be generated into wireframes and sitemaps of the project. UX designers use them as basic materials so that they can plan the navigation system.

UX design means much more than content structuring. In the first place, UX designers aim at making pleasant interaction models, so that users feel comfortable using the product. Good information architecture is the foundation of efficient user experience, so IA skills are essential for designers. Effective IA makes the product easy to use but only combined with design thinking will the product bring about a powerful user experience.