Information architecture (IA) is about how information is categorized, organized and presented so that the user can understand where they are, what they’ve found, and what to do next.
It needs to answer the following questions well:
- What is the flow of users through the site or application when they are trying to accomplish a task?
- How does the site or application catalogue information?
- How is that information presented back to the user?
IA produces sitemaps, navigation structures, content hierarchy, taxonomies, metadata, amongst other artifacts.
Once the IA is somewhat clear, one can start sketching wireframes for the various screens that will help the user accomplish his/her task. The goal of wire-framing is to create discussion about the design and content of an interface without getting hung up on visuals such as colour, font, photos, etc. It is meant to establish the organization, hierarchy, and importance of elements on a screen.
The assignment of the day was to create wireframes for one user flow of New News’ website (New News being the fictional national news agency we were assigned to consult for). The flow we chose to wireframe was a visitor who was going to engage in a conversation using the commenting feature in an article.