Information architecture is a discipline and community of practice focused on the art and science of organizing information to help users find what they need and to support the efficient management of content. It brings together principles of design, architecture and user experience. It usually involves designing a model or conceptual view of information which describes the domain in terms of subject matter, collections, information types, relationships, and processes.
We define it as: “The principles, processes, models and semantics involved in designing a cohesive set of information collections and their classifications and relationships, in order to support effective management, discovery and use of information.” (Metataxis, 2012)
Metataxis has many years’ experience helping organisations to understand their content, and designing information architectures to fit their specific goals, whether it’s the delivery of a new web site, a full enterprise information architecture combining document and records management with standard data models, or the production of multi-format reference works. Information Architecture deliverables include:
- Information inventories: finding out what information your organisation holds is an important step in understanding and managing it.
- Information modelling: describing the appropriate levels of granularity for the information and the relationships between the different parts. A simple model can help your organisation understand the shape of the content.
- Metadata and taxonomy: defining the policies, processes, metadata and controlled vocabularies required to tag content to support findability via search or browse.
- Information flows: working out the relationships between the information items both internal and external within the organisation’s content model.
- Findability: identifying a strategy for successful information retrieval and defining the search and browse techniques and tools required to support user requirements.
- Usability: designing not only the conceptual models but also the visual manifestations of your content.
See also our article on why SharePoint needs an information architecture.