The sitemap helps define Information Architecture — the art and science of organizing and labeling a product’s components — that will support navigation, localization, and usability. Information Architecture can classify items using categories, sections, or metadata tags. IA will choose the most appropriate taxonomies based on your target audience’s mental model. First, UX designers need to know their customers and the company’s business goals to find out the best way to store and make information accessible to the users of a product. Information architects gather the content and arrange it as a simple method for consumers to locate and utilize.

Dictate a Clear Purpose with Information Architecture By Lindsay Fernandez – Hospitality Net

Dictate a Clear Purpose with Information Architecture By Lindsay Fernandez.

Posted: Wed, 16 Jul 2014 07:00:00 GMT [source]

And as in any hierarchy, the elements should be organized according to their order of importance. Personas provide input on what content should be displayed and where it should be displayed. Moreover, including examples of content in your wireframes is good to ensure that the design can accommodate the necessary information. Organize your content so users can have enough time to absorb the information before more content is presented.

Don’t be afraid of unique pages

We also recommend creating an ‘other’ section, where those different or miscellaneous pages can reside. Don’t forget about the footer — these are easily overlooked! And don’t forget to consider including an ‘error 404’ or similar page for when a user goes to a web address that isn’t found on your site. Other important pages could include things like pricing, case studies, press releases, and so on. Once you’ve completed the interview, create a user journey map based on their answers.

information architecture vs sitemap

Visual or HTML sitemaps will be available for public inspection on the front end of the website. These sitemaps create regulated traffic yet are much simpler for the general defining information architecture public to understand. The user may feel IA instead of only being seen as an image. IA should go undetected as it is all about usability and the user experience.

How IA Can Impact Your Business

Creating a new website can be challenging, which gets further complicated if a large volume of information needs organization. A sitemap is ideal for managing and maintaining URLs when you have thousands of URLs to handle, in particular, like an online shopping store with several products. A site map acts as an effective planning tool that helps organize and clarify the data that should be on the site and removed in case of unnecessary information. Content is the major reason why people visit any website.

The content of your website will constantly be growing, so your Information Architecture must be prepared for this. The user will not always arrive at your website from the home page. Your pages should only offer options that are relevant to your users. Too many alternatives can confuse, cause anxiety or overwhelm the user — a paradox of choices.

It’s like asking a mechanic to build a car from the top down instead of in parts. Each piece has to be constructed in advance with its own research, time for design, and development. We’ll use the blueprint reference often because the purpose of both documents is nearly identical.

Only then it is possible to create a website or application meeting the users’ needs. Thanks to good navigation and Information Architecture users not only know which path to take to achieve their goal, but it’s also easy to acknowledge where they are right now. The right visual navigation path provides the right context. Amanda Menoti portfolio, Bootcamp MID student.Wireframes show a website design without worrying about aesthetics.

Next steps

In this post, I’ll assume you’ve moved past this first, critical step. Soon thereafter you’ll move on to the Information Architecture of the site. Information Architecture defines the site structure and content hierarchy.

information architecture vs sitemap

These are used in the UI design to keep focused on what the information architecture deliverables are trying to accomplish. Most information architecture projects follow a very similar pattern of research and discovery, strategy, and design. Information architecture can also heavily contribute to content migration efforts.

Even content has a life cycle, and it is constantly changing. Objects are like templates, so their characteristics and behavior provide a framework for thinking about all the circumstances of a particular object. Many UX professionals benefit from the processes below without realizing the theory behind each method. So if you work with UX, you have probably already used a technique from Ontology, Taxonomy, or Choreography without being aware of it. Each of those pages is like a focal point or central hub.

What are the Difference Between information architecture vs sitemap?

The Information Architecture Institute is a non-profit organization that promotes the concept of IA and the exchange of knowledge among professionals in the field. You can find tools and a glossary on IA terms on their website. Therefore, content gains prominence according to the hierarchy established by IA professionals – which must be aligned with the company’s or product’s objectives. During the design workflow, a numbering system is often employed to keep everyone on the same page when discussing product content. It’s also a way for developers to get information about the website’s structure and how the backend needs to be configured.

This final round of analysis helps you ensure that your new information architecture is sound. As you work through navigation, there are a few concepts that can help you create a system that works for your audience. In information architecture, it’s the way the IA groups, labels, and categorizes a specific piece of information in a specific place. Users shouldn’t need to read paragraphs of text to get the meaning of your label. Labels should give users an idea of what they will see after they click on that label. It can also help you decide whether an outlier deserves its own sub-category.


Every website or app needs a solid navigation system that helps users find what they need. As soon as you have the results of card sorting activities, you will understand how to embody and classify the content in reality. This step embraces navigation design, labeling, and site mapping. The cards can be digital or physical, i.e. written on pieces of paper.

These page URLs happen to reflect the Information Architecture, but they could just as easily not have done so if I had chosen different URLs. I’ve encountered an untold number of situations where, upon asking a project team to show me their planned Information Architecture , they show me a Site Map instead. Principle of focused navigation — don’t mix different categories in your navigation scheme.

Dynomapper just visualizes what it finds at the root sitemap.xml. When approaching a design or redesign project, it is important to take a look under the hood and start by defining or redefining the IA. The IA doesn’t need to be final before beginning to wireframe and prototype, but a first pass is necessary to get a handle on the volume and complexity of the content. Making navigation component choices based on looks alone can force you to change an ideal IA to something that doesn’t best serve the needs of users or accommodate your content. The Global Seed Networkis an initiative that supports diversity and protects the public food system by encouraging farmers and gardeners to share seeds of different plants.

What is a Sitemap?

Sitemaps are basic because they help you in creating a clear understanding of the functions and objectives of digital goods. Your audience’s journey will be correctly matched when the objective is defined. IA serves as the framework for any UX design project since it gives a structure to the data. UX sitemap and information architecture, along with mentioning its importance for UX design.

In our definition above, information architecture looks at organisation, labeling, navigation, and search to support usability, functionality, and findability. This organisation system supports both users and internal staff. The most obvious part of your IA is your navigation — the menus along the top and side of your site. The Information Architecture, or IA, is a very general term encompassing the ways that content can be organized, labeled, navigated, or searched.

Digital Toolbox – Bottom Navigation

A human mind can only remember a limited amount at any given time. That makes it essential to create instructions that don’t overload it. Well-planned information architecture makes it easy and fun to engage.

It handles the chaos, creating a clear structure for a website, an app, or a program. In this article, we’ll explain how you can create superb information architecture. We do this after designing IA as information architecture is the big picture, and navigation helps people move through IA to achieve goals.

Search engines crawl that file to get what a site has to offer and recommend if it matches the search query best. A copy of that sitemap in HTML may be linked at the end of many pages for a user to view. If a user fails to find the desired information, services, or products, marketing costs will increase to an insane level for achieving the same results. When you send paid traffic to a page, visitors should navigate with ease from that page to where they wish to go.