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Common mistakes that hurt usability

Saturday, June 14th, 2014 by Servage

Information Architecture in Web Designing

Information Architecture (IA) originated from the complex information systems developed by companies or enterprises for their intricate use on digital landscapes. Later, it became popular in web development where UX and Usability have prime importance.

Today, we live in the highly complex Internet Era, where our content is dispersed across many devices and multiple platforms. Therefore, simple CMS is not enough to deal with a complex information structure. Modern web programmers have to cope with some or all of the following:

  • large and sometimes multiple databases
  • large numbers of pages where labeling and layout designing is challenging
  • crafting a superior navigation system with good usability
  • offering advanced site search

Thus, taking help of information architects and/or experts is essential for a successful web portal, and its allied mobile applications. No doubt, crafting IA is an art in itself. Yet, anyone can achieve success at a desirable level if IA is implemented carefully, and by avoiding some common mistakes.

Misunderstanding the Independent Nature of Users

If we don’t know who our visitors are and their persona, we can hardly craft a successful IA. For example, if our website has a higher percentage of older people as its core audience, we can’t generally offer intricate experiences of web accessibility, because this population segment is less tech-savvy. At the same time, we have to be careful that our remaining tech-savvy audience doesn’t feel bored. So, we let them use an advanced search tool for quick access of content or product, while we employ an easy-to-use navigation for the less tech savvy visitors.

Moreover, responsive web designing imposes some unique constraints on IA scheming for modern web development teams. Small screen size, low-bandwidth or even broken accessibility, touch screen gestures are all factors that need special considerations for IA designing on mobile landscapes.

Little Understanding of Context

If we don’t know the actual business goals and are unable to involve the entire business system, we can’t reasonably achieve the desired growth of a business. In fact, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) depends on the seamless mingling of visitors’ goals and website goals. Sooner or later, you have to notify graphics, designers, programmers, data specialists, and the QA team about your website goals, as well as customers’ goals; and then tell CRO specialists to blend it all beautifully. This understanding is crucial. Today, many QA teams test short-term goals based on superficial metrics, instead of jumping into the painful layout of A/B testing toward long-term goals.

Lack of Understanding Content Objectives in the Context

Content layout plays a critical role in UX and CRO, at the same time that content objective influences the design of content layouts. Therefore, designing content objectives parallels the context of webpage and website objectives that make sense to end users. At present, we are routinely driving visitors from different channels, such as social media. So, preparing content in the context of that individual’s social networking channels is a demanding job for content writers, programmers, and UX designers.

We need to understand how to optimize user experiences through content in the context we face. For instance, content types, data types, volume of content, nature of content and its relevancy, must all be considered.
References & More Reading
7 simple IA mistakes that could be undermining your conversions
4 UX mistakes that are killing your conversions
Information Architecture Basics

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