When diving into the realm of user experience (in all of its many facets), the ideation of information architecture and the structure of one’s content fall hand-in-hand. While user experience and information architecture are not directly the same thing, they both coincide for creators to work together to form the best version of the project or content that they are making for their intended clients or audience. It is important to recognize these many different steps and ultimately understand the difference and correlation between the importance of information architecture when reflecting user experience in order to create something that will resonate and work well with users.
According to Darren Northcott, a UX Director at Sajak & Farki, “User Experience Designers take a site’s information architecture one step further, considering not only its navigation, but also its ability to facilitate engagement.” This is such an important distinction made by Northcott that I feel accurately addresses information architecture from a user experience direction, and he goes on to discuss the two topics that so frequently can get “lumped in” with each other, when they are, in fact, two separate entities working together towards a similar goal.
Since Northcott’s statement focuses on the overarching role that user experience design has in terms of the entire user experience, though, how important is information architecture in the process? To me, this viewpoint should be seen in a way of one gathering qualitative and quantitative data. Think of information architecture as the quantitative data, or the section focusing more on structure, numbers, and data, whereas user experience design can be thought of as the qualitative data, focusing on user emotion and response. While both are important and can offer individual elements that ultimately have a direct impact on the content and product made for clients or users, they each fall into their own individual categories and focus on different elements of the final “product”.
Ultimately, information architecture is something that is helping to drive the entire user experience process, whether that be through the structural design of a website or even various software. This is a vital part of any content creation, in my opinion, and an essential part of the user experience design. As technology continues to develop and user experience grows, information architecture and the entire design process will proceed to develop and change in order to meet the needs and wants of users, and it will be very interesting to watch as creators use these processes to make advancements in the field.