Information architecture (IA) is found in websites, apps and software we download. It is the structural design of information in a shared environment as well as the organization and labeling of a website. The IA supports usability and a connection of design principles for the digital space. It takes information that is being used and applies it to activities which require complex detail.
Information architecture creates a structure for a website, app, or other project, that allows you to understand the user’s actions and where the information we want to be used lives. Information architecture involves the creation of site maps, categories, navigations, and metadata. For example when a designer puts together a top navigation to help users understand where they are on a site, they are exercising IA architecture. IA helps people to understand what they are looking at and where to find it in the real world as well as online. Practicing information architecture helps others understand the importance of site structure and content.
For some information architects, wireframes are the best way to start the process to make connections and identify how the site will work from a user’s perspective. After researching, an IA will be designed around certain screens in order to show how a user will interact with the information before them. Designers tend to think visually and will often use this visual technique to show the structure of information. Wireframes are also a valuable deliverable to share with clients, developers and visual designers as they build mockups, prototypes, and final products.