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Information Architecture (IA)

Information architecture is the underlying structure of product information, content, and rich media. It defines the structures of how information is stored, organized, and labeled, building the foundation for navigation and search. IA is typically the foundation that leads to wireframes, navigation, and site maps. Good information architecture is the foundation for a great digital user experience (UX) design.

Information architecture

Content Modeling

Content modeling is a representation of structured content. In Crystallize, we call this a shape, and it defines the structure of products and structured content documents. Content modeling is the core of product information management (PIM).

Content model for recipes and ingredients

Organizing Information

Information modeling is all about the discrete product information and their structure and relationships. Product information needs to be organized. There are different strategies for organizing information, including:

  • Hierarchical
  • Sequential
  • Topic based
  • Matrix
Organizing information in grids

Labeling Information

Ultimately, we are storing digital information as abstract zeros and ones. The labels and semantic meaning we use makes the information understandable. When applying labels, make sure you are user-oriented. Labeling is considered a key component of information architecture. 

Navigation Systems

Based on well organized structured information, you can build out navigation systems. New navigation systems and best practices are continuously designed. Navigation systems stretches from the traditional top-level hierarchical menu bar to personalized swiping in a dating app.

All navigation systems are enabled by well structured information, organized and labelled neatly. Making it easy to find and build different navigation structures enables your users and customers to find what they are looking for as efficiently and enjoyably as possible.

Search

For larger repositories of information, a proper search is key. The traditional free-form search is still, of course, highly relevant, allowing users to quickly search through all information regardless of structure. 

However, for a more sophisticated search, you need to connect your information architecture with the search. This is where that proper modeling, organizing and labeling rewards you. You can easily map price information, GEO location, or color information to search facets.

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