| Lesson 10 || Managing risks |
| Objective || Identify risks that affect creation of information architecture. |
Managing Risks affect Information Architecture
By following the (HCI) Human computer interface guidelines from the previous lesson as you design, your site will be more comprehensible and easily navigable by your users.
After you have developed an outline of the site's information architecture, have a colleague look it over. Ask him or her to confirm that it has incorporated factors for success and avoided certain risks that may impede successful usage.
The primary criterion for success is the user's experience with the site.
- Does the site architecture make sense to the user?
- Is it easy for the user to find the information that he or she desires?
Look over the success factors and risks listed below, and consider their importancein your site's usability.
Successful information architecture is likely to incorporate each of the following components:
- Multiple paths to crucial information and pages
- Easy access to contact information (including a phone number, email address, and so on)
- User's needs and expectations guide the design of navigational features
- Consistent presentation and layout of information throughout the site
- Successful integration and presentation of the signs and metaphors used in the site with the site architecture
- Consistent navigation, interpretation, and comprehension of the site's architecture
With poorly designed information architecture, you risk negative outcomes from both creative and functional problems.
Creative or aesthetic-based problems:
- Designers' artistic expression on the site conflicts with the development of effective information architecture and site navigation.
- Users are confused because they interpret the site's navigational elements differently than the designers intended.
Functional or technically-based problems:
- Users get lost or can't find the information they desire.
- Users are confused by overly complex site structure.
- Features on the site don't work well and don't serve their intended function (for example, a search feature that does not return meaningful or useful results).
- Links listed on the site are no longer active.
- Only one path leads to important information.
Question: What success factor(s) should be addressed if your beta testing returns the following comment from a test user:
"I tried to order the garden gloves that were listed at a special sale price on the main page, but I couldn't find them it in the catalog section of clothing."
Answer: Multiple paths to content: anything on front page should have a hyperlink to its more detailed location elsewhere on the site.
Content at multiple locations: list gloves under both clothing and garden accessories. Use a search engine. Make sure that navigation and presentation are consistent so they do not get confused and give up when they might actually be on the right path.
In the next lesson, you will learn about the two major documents used in planning information architecture.
Information Architecture Strategies - Quiz