When designing a website, your end goal should be simple. To design a site that balances your users’ expectations with your website goals. To help you reach these goals you first have to determine how to structure and label your website. This is often referred to as Information Architecture.

A good place to start is to answer these three fundamental questions about the users’ experience upon arriving at your website:

  1. Where am I?
  2. Does this site have what I am looking for?
  3. Where do I go from here?

Your goal is to answer these three questions – on every page of your site.

Doing this means that you:

  • Assure visitors that they are in the right place by making clear on the site page where they are.
  • Ensure visitors find what they’re looking for by using clear navigation and searchability.
  • Let visitors know what they have to do.

Site-flow Diagram

To help you visualize the experience of your website you first create a site-flow diagram to convey how the site will work from a practical perspective. This will show how the content will be organized on the site to support the tasks that users want to perform. This organization should only be based on the data and information you have collected about your customers and about your website goals. There is no room for opinions here.

The method we will use is as follows:

Step #1: Gather data about your users.

Step #2: Create customer personas that will use the site.

Step #3: Map pages and set metadata.

Step #4: Determine user flows.

Step #5: Design menu structure.

Step #5: Create site-flow diagram from card sorting technique.

Step #6: Gather feedback.

Your site should be created based on types of users rather to than for "everybody".

Card Sorting Technique

The Card Sorting Technique starts with putting all of your desired site pages of your website onto recipe cards.  One page = one card. This helps with the “What should go where?” questions.  Card sorting will help you determine  where people would want to find something. It’s a reliable proven method for finding patterns in how users would expect to find content on your site. This is done working with your entire team and if possible tested with potential users.

People will only utilize your website if they find what they came there for.

You need to satisfy their need. Websites with poor navigation lose money when the navigation system has failed and the user can’t find the service they are interested in.

Information architecture works towards usability and conversions. Usability sets up the flow for the user experience, and moving them to the call-to-action. If the information architecture is poor, your web visitors won’t be able to find what they are looking for, and will leave your site before entering the sales funnel.

If your information architecture is good, but your usability is poor, your visitors may be able to find what they are looking for, but the user will struggle to complete the sale, resulting in poor conversion rates.

Getting the information architecture right for your site, with a focus on providing a great user experience, is the foundation to building your online goals and the first step to moving towards online success.

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