Website architecture is the way in which a website is structurally organized and designed in order to achieve business requirements. When a great information architecture plan is implemented, users can find what they are looking for through an intuitive navigation experience that is smooth and natural.
As one can imagine, the better a website’s architecture, then the more likely it is to be enjoyed and used by site visitors. We’ve all felt the frustration of going to a website with the intent of finding a specific piece of information, only to become frustrated with having to hunt high and low for it.
Such an experience does not encourage visitors to return, and can potentially make them walk away from the experience with a poor taste, which is not ideal for any business or organization who’s success depends on sales or brand engagement.
How to Achieve Great Architecture
Depending on the project or brand goals, information architecture may include several disciplines within it including user interface (UI) design, user experience (UX) design, information design, and content strategy.
Combining these practices in a way the produces results requires one to consider the core visitor types: browser, searches, and sorters.
They all interact with websites and applications in different ways, and expect different things.
Searchers are people with little time and patience for spending large amounts of time looking for what they need. They head straight for the search bar and spend little time exploring a websites navigation before beginning to perform text searches.
Search continues to become more advanced and precise. It used to be that browsing through search results and even onto other pages was an accepted part of the search process. No longer. Search engines have gotten to the point at which they are capable of serving extremely precise and intelligent results with little need to hunt and peck further. The same expectation is now true for individual websites, not just search engines.
A visitor that is going to exhibit “sorter” like behavior is someone who will use logic and process of elimination to find what they are looking for. This person will typically spend a few moments exploring a websites main navigation and drill down into categories and sub categories until they find what they are looking for.
Web users that can be labeled as “browsers” are the people who typically hunt and peck for information. A browsers is the kind of person who interacts with various content to find what they are looking for. They are like a hybrid of searches and sorters, they may use a variety of methods to find what they need. Younger audiences that are more more technically driven often lean toward being browsers.