Why Your UX Plan Must Start With Information Architecture

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Tapha Ngum

Published: 2020-09-17

Information ArchitectureUX Planning

Planning x Design Process - produces - Product.

The strength of each one determines the effectiveness of the final product.

Of the two factors, planning is the factor that holds the majority of importance.

But why is this?

Planning, and the clarity and correctness of the plan, are what define what emerges from the product design process. And ultimately, what defines a product. 

The reason for this is because planning answers the questions of why, then moves on to what, which then brings forth how and when. All the fundamental questions get asked sequentially, like a domino sequence, but not before the why is asked, the why comes first.

UX Planning does this best when the process is started off in the right way. Just as a building holds firmly and is best built when it’s beginnings are underpinned by a firm foundation. 

But what is the foundation of a good plan?

It is Information Architecture.

The thread that runs through the entire design process.

What Is Information Architecture?

When we talk about information architecture, we are literally talking about the fundamentals of what underpins a design. Design is, in essence, the organization of information, so that it may best be used for whatever purpose its organized product has. This organization happens according to logical principles, but it is done in an intuitive way, based on experience.

Information architecture then, is the description of how we organize that information.

Creating Information Architecture is the art of organizing and structuring content in a logical and user-friendly way that allows the user to easily meet their goal.

In other words, Information Architecture is the general map of your project that your user will navigate through to ultimately succeed in accomplishing their goal.

Within the context of UI layout design, the Information Architecture forms the basis of the plan going forward. It tells you about everything that is going to be happening next, as well as, by its very nature, gives you hints of how to progress. In the same way that, as we’ve mentioned earlier, a book’s contents pages form your overall impression and map of the book. 

We judge Amazon books by their contents pages. Which is why that is mostly what is available to preview in their books via their ‘Look Inside’ feature.

Maybe they know something about Information Architecture and UX Planning that we don’t?

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