Everything you need to know about information architecture

Information architecture is the discipline that ensures that your browsing experience on a website is easy and intuitive.

Career development

If we say the term architecture to you, probably the first thing that comes to mind will be a plan, buildings or a construction helmet. What if we told you that you can also do information architecture? This discipline is what ensures that your browsing experience on a website is easy and intuitive, and that you find what you are looking for without many clicks.  

In this post, we are going to explain what information architecture is, what its objectives and components are, and the relationship it has with user experience (UX). Do you want to know more? Keep reading! 

Definition of information architecture 

The theoretical foundations of information architecture are found in the 1998 book  Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld. According to these experts in the design and organization of information environments, information architecture is the discipline that is responsible for organizing, structuring and labelling the content of a website, so that it is easy to understand, access and use by users.  

To do this, it is based on the principles of usability and accessibility, and takes into account both the needs of users and the objectives of the website. Furthermore, it is not only applied to web pages, but is also used in other types of information systems, such as mobile applications, intranets or software. 

What objectives does information architecture have? 

We gave you some clues before, and that is that the main objective of information architecture is to organize and structure information in a way that is accessible, understandable and useful for users. In addition to this, other purposes can be noted: 

  • Improve understanding: Helps users understand the purpose, scope and value of the website, as well as the meaning and relationship between the content. 
  • Facilitate access: A well-designed information architecture allows users to easily and quickly access the content they are looking for or need. 
  • Increase satisfaction: serves to ensure that users have a positive, pleasant and rewarding experience when interacting with the website. 
  • Optimize performance: drives the website to meet its objectives by attracting, retaining and building user loyalty. 

Components of information architecture 

Any information architecture is made up of four main elements. Below, we explain them to you: 

  • Organization systems: as their name indicates, they refer to the ways of grouping and classifying the content of a website, according to logical and coherent criteria. For example, a glossary is usually organized alphabetically, while the contents of a blog are usually arranged chronologically, from most recent to oldest. 
  • Labelling systems: it is the way of naming and describing the content of a website, using keywords, titles, subtitles, menus, and links. One issue to keep in mind is that labeling must be clear, consistent and relevant, to facilitate identification and access to content. Iconic labels can be used such as social media symbols, only textual ones such as section names in the menu; or you can link these two ways.  
  • Navigation systems: refers to the way of orienting and guiding the user through the web, using visual and functional elements, such as navigation bars, site maps, breadcrumbs or buttons. Navigation must be intuitive, simple and efficient, to avoid frustration and user abandonment.  
  • Search systems: it is the component that is responsible for locating and recovering the content of a website, using internal or external search tools, filters, and facets. The search must be fast, accurate and customizable, to meet user expectations and preferences. 

Relationship between information architecture and user experience 

User experience (UX) is the set of perceptions, emotions and reactions that a user has when interacting with an information system. What does this have to do with information architecture? Well, it directly influences the UX since it determines how the content of a website is presented, structured and accessed. 

In short, a good information architecture improves UX, by facilitating the usability, accessibility, credibility and usefulness of the website. To finish, we share two techniques that are used in information architecture with a focus on user experience: 

  • Effective menu and navigation design: These combine to deliver a fluid and efficient user experience, allowing users to find and access information intuitively. 
  • Card Sorting and usability testing: These are techniques that allow users to organize and classify information on cards, and evaluate their understanding and satisfaction with the result. 


Morville, P. and Rosenfeld, L. (2002) Information Architecture for the WWW (2nd Ed.) Cambridge: O’Reilly. 

Keep reading