In case you are wondering, information architecture is as important as having a skeleton or shall I say, a backbone? Just the same way a building needs an architect before the actual construction, so does a website or a web application.
It is the art and science of organizing and labelling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability
Information Architecture determines:
What information should go where.
Which elements are most important and should be given priority.
To achieve a good User experience,the information architecture must be logical.
Determine the goals which may range from; reducing costs, making money to even helping customers make better decisions. Whatever the goal may be, get together with the key stakeholders and outline clear objectives.
Determine the users of the product. What are they going to do on the website and what do they hope to achieve? Conduct user interviews and create user personas. Here, you will need to think of any constraint the user might have.
Analyzing similar products on the market will give you an idea of what your customers expect.
Before defining your own Information Architecture, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Look at where they are displaying information. Consider their strengths and weaknesses; are their websites easy to navigate?
When working with information architecture, you will either be redesigning an existing website or creating one from scratch. If a website already has content, go through it and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
If you are short of time and resources, just focus on the important parts of the website.
In a nutshell, IA ensures that things are where they should be therefore creating a user experience that doesn't require the user to think too hard.
By investing time in IA design, you create a foundation for efficient user experience. After all, content is the heart of every app or website.