Product Design
May 12, 2023

What is Information Architecture in Product Design.

Information architecture is a crucial part of the UX process of Product Design.


Information architecture (IA), in product design, refers to the process of organising, structuring, and labelling content in a way that makes it easy to find, access, and understand. This includes identifying user needs and goals, categorising information, and developing a navigation system that enables users to move through the product with ease.

IA plays a critical role in the design process as it helps to ensure that the product is intuitive and meets the needs of its intended audience. It provides a framework for organising content and functionality, which helps to optimise the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI).

The IA design process involves several steps, including research and analysis, content inventory, categorization, and testing. It requires a deep understanding of the user's needs, behaviours, and preferences, and an ability to translate this into a clear and concise structure.

In short: Information Architecture is the organisation of information in the most logical way to ensure the best human-to-product interaction.

Designing Information Architecture

It must start with determining the main user goals. Information architecture is an element of UX design, and it starts with understanding people and their reasons to use a product or service we are building. Once the designer understands how a user behaves and seeks information, we can design a successful sitemap, website navigation, user flows, and more.

There are two major requirements for actually constructing IA: organising it through a visual hierarchy (that is, a hierarchy of features, functions, and behaviour) and creating a legend for displaying different types of features, interactions, and flows. - James Pikover

User Needs - According to Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld (Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd edition), the IA of a website needs to address different user needs. Those are:

  • Known-item seeking: The user will come to the product searching for something known, popular, and desirable. 
  • Exploratory seeking: The user will come to the product looking for something desirable but not yet confident about what exactly. 
  • Exhaustive research: The user is in a process of researching what they need and wants to do extensive research by looking at different products. 

The simple information architecture of a website that takes into account mainly the website's navigation.

The second example is an more extensive information architecture(IA Blueprint) prepared by Duke in 2013. Its new IA would have six main categories:

  • Search & Find
  • Using the Library
  • Research Support
  • Course Support
  • Libraries
  • About Us

The eight principles of Information Architecture

  • The principle of object content is a living thing with a life, a beginning and end(lifecycle), attributes, and behaviours. 
  • The principle of choices pages should offer relevant choices to end-users.
  • The principle of disclosure. show just enough information for people to understand what they’ll find as they dig deeper. The users mustn’t be overloaded with information. 
  • The principle of exemplars the best way to describe the content categories is to show examples of the contents.
  • The principle of front doors assumes at least half of the website’s visitors will come through some page other than the home page.
  • The principle of multiple classifications offers end-users many different classification schemes to browse your site content.
  • The principle of focused navigation is don’t mix different categories in your navigation scheme.
  • The principle of growth assumes the content of today is a small portion of the content you’ll offer tomorrow.

Organization systems

Organization systems, also called classification systems, categorize information. A system can be:

  • Hierarchical: visually organized by importance
  • Sequential: Organized with a logical path, like a step-by-step checkout process
  • Matrical: Organized by the individual user, like a choose-your-own-adventure of internal links

Further read: Organization system concept by Berkley.

Useful tools

To create XML file sitemaps online, you can use tools as:

But these generate sitemaps based on crawling and indexing your website. 

To design sitemaps, navigation, and user flows online, you can use such platforms as:

How to Reverse Engineer an Information Architecture by James Pikover


Information architecture is a crucial part of the UX process of Product Design. It helps to ensure that the product is well-organised, easy to use and meets the needs of its users. By following the IA design process, designers can create products that are intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable to use for their Users. A deep UX understanding will lead to better assimilation of information on the website by potential clients thus it will lead to better sales, ROI, and better achievement of business goals.


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