In simple words, Information Architecture in UX design is when you organize and structure all the information on your website. Here you design the layout, navigation, and categorization of content to help users find what they’re looking for in the simplest and easiest way possible. 

Let’s know more about information architecture to help you create intuitive and user-friendly user experiences. 

What is Information Architecture in UX Design?

Information architecture is the process of creating a structure of information (let’s say for a website) in a way where the user can easily find what they are looking for. You can call it a blueprint that showcases the infrastructure, hierarchy, features, navigation, and interactions of the site.

Information Architecture in UX Design

There are three pillars of Information Architecture:

  1. Content
  2. Context
  3. User

A website creates content for users in different contexts where they will need it. IA considers all three to provide the best experience for both website creators and users.

Why Information Architecture is Important

Information architecture (IA) gives everyone involved in the project (e.g. designers, programmers, developers, and alike) an overview of the big picture. 

It is a simple yet informative piece of document that visually tells you all you need to know. This lets you make important decisions easily without having to do intensive research every time.

IA also ensures that users can easily find whatever they need, whenever they need it. Today everyone is experiencing information overload where they are constantly bombarded with content pieces fighting for their attention whenever they go online. 

There is a limit to how much a person can perceive things. Pushing things constantly will only annoy users. IA takes that into consideration so people are not overwhelmed with everything and still find the content they need.

All of these aspects greatly improve UX, which helps retain visitors for longer times. Users who will be coming to your websites will find themselves checking out all of your pages if you properly implement IA.

Ultimately, this will result in increased conversions, which is usually the final goal of most websites. A smooth experience will guide a user through all the conversion activities like signing up their emails or making a purchase to completion without any frustrations.

Steps to Designing Information Architecture

User research

One of the first things you should be doing is conducting user research. This will give you valuable insights on the best way to design your IA so that it feels natural and intuitive to your audience. 

Use research tools like surveys, interviews, heat mapping, and all kinds of other methods that fit your project type. 

Set objectives

Once you know about your audience, it is best to set objectives that are attainable within your demography while also being aligned with the goals of the business. By having a set goal to work towards, you will be able to set up KPIs and keep track of your progress.

Research the competition

Another common step for almost any business strategy is to research your competition. This allows you to understand what standards you need to maintain, and what kinds of industry-standard practices you must adhere to. 

Remember, users will find you sifting through your competition so they will be accustomed to whatever standard they are following. It is best to stick to that structure so that audiences can navigate your site in a way they are used to. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong in trying to innovate but sticking to standards is generally a safer choice. 

Competition research also helps you find gaps and opportunities in your industry to help establish yourself.

Manage content library

Whether you are starting fresh with your website, or looking to manage an already existing site, it is best to keep track and manage all of your content. 

If you are starting afresh, you should have discussions about the type of content you want to create for your purpose. Once decided, everything should be neatly arranged and labeled so you can keep track of what you need. 

If you already have a site with published content, make sure to have a list of them too. Make sure the lists are detailed and have important information such as title, content type, target audience, and other important things.

Once you create your lists, you should categorize them into meaningful sections. For example, if you have a food-related website, you can segment your content based on main ingredients or various styles; such as you separate them based on Italian or Japanese cuisine. 

Just be sure to categorize everything correctly or at least in a manner that makes sense to your audience.

Manage content library

Create your sitemap

A sitemap tries to explain the relationship between all the pages of a website. The structure can be of various types. The most common type of site map can be hierarchical, but many other structures are used by different types of companies. 

After creating the sitemap, it should be visually able to show the sections and the content in each of them. 

Create your sitemap

Design navigation and user flow

Once you have sorted out your categories and sitemaps, it is time to design the navigation of your product and optimize user flow. You will have plenty of options to design how you want your audience to move through your pages. 

Some common menu types are header menus or pop-up menus with hamburger icons. 

Create and test prototypes

Prototyping tests the effectiveness of a product by trying to create a version of a product close to the final specifications to measure its effectiveness. With wireframing and prototyping you will understand how the final product will turn out. 

By running some user tests, you will be able to figure out if users find your structure intuitive and make necessary adjustments.

Launch and maintenance

After testing out your prototypes and finding the performance of your product at a satisfactory level, the natural course of action would be to launch the product for use by the target audience. However, this does not mean your work here is done. 

Maintenance of software is very important which can ensure longevity of your product. You will need to gather feedback from your users as to how they are responding to your IA. Constantly monitor changes and their effects so that you can optimize the UX of your product.

The Principles of Information Architecture

The 8 principles of IA, as outlined by the renowned UX designer Dan Brown, are a reference point for designers across the world on how to arrange digital information. These 8 principles are

The principle of objects

The content should be treated as an object that is broken up into different objects, or rather ingredients. These ingredients should be consistent with each other and recognizable to users. These ingredients should also have their uniqueness in order to stand out from the crowd.

The principle of choices

Pages should offer meaningful choices to a user. Giving customers choices on how they want to use a website is a great thing. However, one should be mindful to leave the user with a manageable number of choices. You do not want to confuse them by presenting too many buttons up front.

The best way to go about this is to gradually introduce users to more options as they get used to the surface-level features of your program.

The principle of disclosure

Show users what they can see, and give them a heads-up on what’s to come. If you show everything your site offers all at once, users will get overwhelmed with content and feel confused about what to engage with. 

A way to practice this principle is to show off your different pages with images (thumbnails) with a small description on the home page so users can decide early on if they want to go through your content.

The principle of exemplars

Along with descriptions, always use examples to demonstrate your point to the visitors. This is especially helpful when describing categories. 

For instance, Steam is a digital distribution service that works as a digital store for games and other software. Here, they observe what type of games you play and recommend new games based on that. 

What’s great about their system is that they use a game that you already played as a reference point, which can give you more information than any description or trailer.

The principle of front doors

This principle tells you to focus on the fact that a lot of visitors will be coming to your pages from places other than your home. It could be from being clicked on from a search engine result, a promotional post on a social media platform, through a backlink, or any other way.

It is the responsibility of the webpage a user lands on to let them know where they are. Obviously, the content for which a user will come should be there, but the page should be able to tell the user about the website itself, and possibly redirect them to the homepage or anything that might interest the user.

The principle of multiple classification

Different people use different ways to look for the same thing. It is up to the designer to allow different classifications to accommodate the different ways people search for stuff. 

For example, people search for movies in many ways. While the most common way is by the movie title itself, some people can search by the genre or the cast of the film.

Depending on the type of content you will be providing, make sure to label them in multiple ways by which users search them to increase their visibility.

The principle of focused navigation

The main focus of this principle is not to mix up different types of navigation systems together. Use a similar style for all your pages so users can find menus and options in the same way on every page. If you implement different navigation types, the traffic may not know where to click as they go from page to page.

The principle of growth

You need to take into account that you will continue to add more content to your site, and potentially branch out into topics you did not plan on initially. Make sure to build your site to be flexible so that you can easily add new content according to whatever category they deem fit.

Top Information Architecture Tools

There are various tools available based on the activities they do. We have categorized our tools based on what particular action they perform.

Card sorting tools

Card sorting tools help you evaluate how the IA of your website based on user feedback. In a card-sorting session, users will categorize topics in ways that make sense to them, which can help you create the best structure for you. Some great card-sorting tools are UserZoom, UXmetrics, and KardSort.

User flow tools

User flow tools help with mapping out how a user will progress through a site or an application. It will help you in designing your IA such that going from one piece of content to another makes sense. Some tools that can help you are Flowmapp, MockFlow, and Timblee.

Sitemap tools

Mind mapping tools can help designers visualize how the app or website will be structured, which will help in organizing the content in a way they see fit. Some tools for this purpose are XMind, Miro, and Clickup.

Wireframing and prototyping tools

Wireframes give you an idea of how pages will look and feel when using them. On the other hand, prototypes show how the final product will look like and allow you to test it for flaws among users. 

Figma and Sketch are some of the most commonly used design tools to create wireframes and even prototypes. If you need a dedicated prototyping tool, you can opt for and

Final Words

What is Information Architecture in UX Design? Now you know that IA is an essential part of UX that ensures your content reaches the right audience whenever they want. This article will help you understand what it is and how to apply it to your projects. 

If you are still unsure about how to approach this aspect of UX, feel free to contact us. Our design experts will help you create an IA that optimizes the findability and searchability of your content. 


No, they are not the same. UX design is a broader subject that takes into account the user’s psychology, preferences, demographics, and many other things to deliver the best experience. IA is more like a part of UX design that aims to improve the infrastructure of a website.

As mentioned, IA is only a part of UX design. If you only focus on IA, you will lose out on a lot of other opportunities to improve the UX of your site or app. Focus on improving all aspects of UX design.