Top 5 Information Architecture Standards
We don’t create the user experience. We participate in and influence someone’s experience by presenting them with meaningful content and a usable user interface. As the UX design process reveals what users think, feel, see, and do, the information architecture must codify these inputs into navigation, organization, and relational information structures to inform a UX strategy, content, visual design, interaction design, or data model.
Twelve years of information architecture best practices have now become proven standards, these Top 5 IA standards still hold true in an A/B split test and rapid iteration world.
1. Test, Test, Test
There is no room for romance in building efficient site navigation and high converting landing pages. You must test your designs and prototypes with seed member online users, focus groups, one on ones and/or paper tests.
2. You are NOT the user
You are not building for yourself. You must know and represent the needs of your user – be that a target customer or an application user.
3. Golden Triangle
Eye heat tracking studies have shown time and time again the areas on website that users eyes first read. If you want a user take an action place the “button” in those areas. Branding and logo are import yes, but consider these highly active areas for conversion functions and trust references.
All site design will be slightly different, but the main eye tracking path remains true to the golden triangle regardless. To move user behavior outside this golden triangle you must change their behavior this is hard to do. Design ques such as arrows and horizontal lines to arrest eye tracking can help, but you are fighting the users natural inclination.
4. Vertical scroll
Users read the left margin vertically first. Make it easy for your readers.
5. Always design for the lowest common denominator.
Old browsers and slow internet connections are still prevalent. Flash and motion graphic sites struggle with these limits. AND with the internet being untethered and mobile – means working with limited browsers, slow connections and tiny screens brings back the design limits of the early years of the internet.