Information Architecture

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What Is Information Architecture?

Information Architecture (IA) is all about organizing information in a meaningful way – the goal is that the user can easily find the information (when needed) through proper organization, navigation, labelling, and searching systems. In addition, good information architecture ensures that there is no information breakdown or explosion with the scaling of information overtime. [1]

Notice the difference between information architecture and data architecture. Data architecture defines the collection, storage and movement of data across an organization [2]. You can find more information on data architecture in the Insight on Enterprise Architecture.

Types of Information Architecture

Joe Natoli has listed examples of types of information architecture on websites and mobile applications [3], these are listed below.

Hierarchical Structure

The hierarchical structure refers to an index page and a series of sub-pages:

Hub-and-Spoke

In the hub-and-spoke model users navigate out from a central index (hub). I.e. users cannot navigate between spokes but they have to return to the hub:

Nested List

The nested list leads users to more detailed content through linear paths:

Bento Box (Dashboard)

The bento box (dashboard) displays portions of related tools or content on a main screen:

Filtered View

The filtered view can also be used as a sub-pattern within another navigation pattern. Filtering is a feature designed to make sorting out items easy and simple:


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