80% of usability issues are a result that users are unable to find what they are looking for in an application, process, or environment. Information Architecture (IA) can assist in organizing content or objects, describing them clearly, and providing ways for people to get to them. IA is often thought about during a project but skipped which can lead to intrinsic challenges.
Donna Spencer wrote the book A Practical Guide To Information Architecture which stresses three very important things before designing. You need to keep people, content, and context in mind to create good information architecture. With people, you need to know what they need do to, how they think, and what they already know. For content, you need to understand what you have, what you should have, and what you need. For context, you need to discover the business or personal goals for the site, who else will be involved, and what your constraints are.
Donna says, "If you don’t know enough about people you won’t be able to group content in ways that make sense to them or provide ways for them to find it easily. Without a good understanding of your content, you won’t be able to create an information architecture that works well for current and future content. And if you don’t know all about the context, you won’t be able to create something that works for people and the business, and you’ll have endless trouble in the project."
For a limited time, you can download her book for free. If you need to build a strong foundation for your application, process, or environment get to know information architecture.