The internet is packed with a plethora of information at your fingertips. One of the many important roles of a UX designer is to ensure that this information is organized and accessible to users. With the accelerated evolution of technology, information architecture will be a critical tool for UX designers to employ when providing an optimal user journey.
First off, what is information architecture and why is it so important?
Information architecture (IA) is the science of structuring and organizing information or content within a digital product. Good IA allows users to easily navigate and find exactly what they are looking for. Although IA is commonly referred to as a digital tool, it has been employed long before the advance of modern technology. Think about the last time you visited a library, how did you find the book you were looking for among the hundreds on the shelves? The answer is a perfect example of IA utilization. Taking this same concept of organization, UX designers have to carefully consider the users, content, and context of information to create an effective IA experience.
How will information architecture be impacted with the advancement of technology?
The rise of voice interface and machine learning have presented a new form of content consumption for users and has created a new space for the concept of IA.
Traditionally, when thinking of IA it has been within the context of a visual product. Voice interface technology like Alexa, Siri, or Google Home have taken away the visual element of design and allows users to navigate via voice. This poses a challenge for Information Architects to make sure all available data is easily accessible for users. Making sure relevant content is suggested is a key factor in improving the experience of this technology. A common issue with voice interfaces is that they operate on the notion of speech recognition, which isn’t always the most reliable. Machine learning has been a valuable tool when improving this experience as everyday speech and colloquialisms are constantly expanding.
IA will be a critical tool for designers to employ when dealing with these new technologies as organizing the ever growing amount of data will be essential to providing users with a pleasant experience.