You just bought a parcel of land and are planning to build a brand new home, your dream home. Would you start building this home without an architecture or floor plan? I would hope not. And the same goes for building a website.
Blueprints are to a house, like sitemaps and wireframes are to a website. Information architecture requires a significant amount of hours of research and discovery long before the designer touches the canvas with their interactive tools. Eliminating this step will create a website that is not targeted to any research or your audience, a site that’s not user-friendly and lacks strategy. At Moiré, we believe design without strategy is just art. This results in project scope-creep, missed deadlines and unhappy clients!
Below are a few points promoting the necessity of building in the information architecture into your website projects, or at least insisting that your agency conduct this step. Any intelligent marketing agency will understand the importance of this process.
- Makes information findable and usable
Think strategy. We all want our target audience to find the information they are looking for. This begins with research. Understanding what areas of the site gather the most interest and what gathers the least is vital in understanding the flow a visitor takes. Information prioritization is essential.
- User-experience is enhanced
Think about the websites you frequent for your information. Would you go back if it was difficult to navigate? Your visitors will be able to find the information they are looking for, allowing you to create unique conversations with them. A happy user-experience may lead to happy clients in the future.
- Designers must be strategists
Designers must understand the goal of the client and the target audience in order to create a proper user-experience. It’s important that the designer works with the research team from the beginning to ensure that the strategic direction of the website is flexible and expandable.
- Helps to create improvements in revenue
Your website should be your number one communication vehicle. Offering valuable content that is easy to find on a website that is easy to navigate will help to create new business and interested prospects in your firm.
- Cost effective: Helps to eliminate costly design revisions
To often we hear from firms saying that making revisions to their website is too costly. Part of this may be due to them using a proprietary Content Management System (CMS), but more often than not it is because the design revisions were not discussed or planned out in an information architecture phase. Putting the designs before the sitemaps and wireframes is like putting the cart before the horse.
- Content Management System
Within the information architecture phase, the agency can more accurately build an appropriate CMS. The CMS can allow for additional pages and design to fit the changing needs of a firm and their audience. If not, then adding to the CMS after the fact can be a very costly venture.
You are investing a significant amount of your marketing dollars in designing and developing a new website. Are you in a position to spend over and beyond to make revisions? I challenge you to give me a good reason to not initiate an information architecture prior to designing a website.
We are interested in hearing your success stories regarding implementing an information architecture prior to building your website.