What is an Information Architect?

An Information Architect organizes a website so that users have a better online experience. In general, their main responsibilities are to:

  • Assign tasks to team members. The Information Architect often doubles up as the Project Manager.
  • Capture the site’s design goals.
  • Communicate the business objectives, such as the site’s sales targets, audience, and language requirements.
  • Create access points to content from different in-coming pages.
  • Design the navigation system, menus, sitemaps etc.
  • Label and organize data.
  • Map content to the appropriate section.
  • Protect users from getting lost on the site.

Before any coding begins, the Information Architect meets the client and defines the project’s scope, objectives and target audience.

Documentation of Success Criteria
The meeting minutes are then returned to the client for confirmation. Once confirmed, they’re circulated to all members involved in the development process.

When the project enters the production stage, the Information Architect works with the web designers to develop the interface, icons and ensure the navigation systems are integrated correctly with the overall site architecture.

For very complicated sections, the Information Architect and Software Engineers work together to ensure that each site component make sense so that the user can easily achieve their goals.

Note: Users abandon two-thirds of all Shopping Carts as they become confused, lost or frustrated with missing data. Gartner

The Information Architect communicates with the team during all key stages in the development cycle. On small projects the Information Architect may perform Project Management duties as these two areas frequently overlap. It is imperative to record client feedback at all stages and circulate it accordingly.

Effective Communication

Lack of planning at the kickoff phase often results in untold disasters at later stages – often with serious financial repercussions.

This may occur when, for example, the person delegated to lead the project lacks sufficient technical understanding to extract relevant information from the client. The Information Architect has this knowledge and can ask key questions that others will have overlooked.

Finally, the Information Architect also works with the Quality Control team to ensure that the site is performing correctly and, for example, by analyzing the log files, identify areas where users are struggling to locate date or getting lost.