Information Architecture (IA) is the science of organizing information in an easy to understand and logic-driven way. It goes hand in hand with good UX design and it's essential part of all professional and efficient websites and apps.
The Information Architecture Institute explains the term like this:
Information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable.
Users want to have easy access to different sections of your website. They want to find what they need almost intuitively, without wasting time. That is why the logical structure of the website is crucial.
IA is the foundation of a great digital product. The easier it is for your clients to use your website, the more they will love using it.
Having in mind your business goals and your buyer personas, you have to structure and group the content of your website in an understandable way.
Let’s say you own an actual coffee shop and you are arranging the products. You surely don’t want to put the coffee in the back or to have messy shelves. That way the customers will be confused and will struggle to find what they came for. The logic is the same when you are creating your website.
Your clients’ time is precious. People visit your website or use your app with a specific intention, and you should make their journey as easy and quickly as possible.
If you start creating a new website from scratch, its information architecture would probably look like this in the beginning.
You decide to create a beautiful homepage, then depending on the type of product or service you are offering, you start thinking about what else do you need. Regardless of the specifics you most probably will need a ‘contact us’ page, an ‘about page’ and a page that shows what you do. After that, you will create some subpages for the different services you offer.
In reality, the IA is a bit more complex.
The main components of the IA are organization systems, navigations systems, labeling systems, and searching-systems. Other components depend on the type of website.
The IA is just one of the components of a great website or app that delivers exceptional results. Yet it is essential because it corresponds with the whole structure and arrangement of the website.