What is Information Architecture?
Information architecture (IA) is the organizational and navigational structure of the new website including categorization, hierarchy, labeling, and way finding recommendations. It also begins the thought process that will evolve into the full functional requirements. Specifying the IA for the site, beginning with the high level, and then down to levels two and three, is the next step in the process before we move to design and building out the site. Having an IA in place, even if it’s only being managed in a spreadsheet, gives us the context for how to find a design solution and how to build out our content plan.
Two Complementary Navigations: Traditional and Progressive
Qualities of the Website’s IA
- It’s focused on serving prospective students
- It includes a more traditional, hierarchical, topical navigation to get to the rest of the Trinity website
- It includes a more radical, horizontal, progressive way to get to information, using a distinct home page navigation structure that breaks with existing conventions. This progressive navigation is evergreen, reachable from every page, and always visible.
- The radical navigation is meant to have more emphasis than the traditional navigation, but both will be prominent.
- As more content and areas of the website are re-written and organized post-launch, it provides a way to add more items from the traditional to the home page model.
Traditional Navigation: Hierarchical, Topical
- Admissions & Aide
- Student Life
Traditional Primary Calls to Action
Progressive Navigation Anchored to the Homepage
Primary Focus of the Progressive Navigation
- Important Now/Service and Help Content
Secondary Focus of the Progressive Navigation
The Final IA: Levels 1-3
The Website Redesign Advisory Group has spent time considering the IA and discussing how to organize the information, what language we’re using in the IA, and how website analytics data helps us make smart decisions about prioritizing what our audiences are looking for. Have a look at the final IA list down to level three (which is of course not set in stone, but final enough to allow us to move to the next step in the project).