Information Architecture Articles & Videos

  • Local Navigation Is a Valuable Orientation and Wayfinding Aid

    Local navigation indicates to users where they are and what other content is nearby in an information hierarchy.

  • Left-Side Vertical Navigation on Desktop: Scalable, Responsive, and Easy to Scan

    Vertical navigation is a good fit for broad or growing IAs, but takes up more space than horizontal navigation. Ensure that it is left-aligned, keyword front-loaded, and visible.

  • How to Interpret Dendrograms from Card Sorting to Improve Information Architecture

    Card sorting is great for designing or evaluating an information architecture (IA), but can be hard to interpret. Dendrograms visualize the data which can help you make the necessary decisions which are rarely clear-cut but require tradeoffs.

  • Findability vs. Discoverability

    Locating features or content on a website or in an app happen in two different ways: finding (users look for the item) and discovering (users come across the item). Both are important, but require different user research techniques to evaluate.

  • Privacy Policies and Terms of Use: 5 Common Mistakes

    Policy pages often fail to follow basic usability guidelines: they are not readable, lack high-level summaries and inside-policy navigation, have poor formatting, and are not available in expected places.

  • How to Organize COVID-19 Information on Your Intranet

    Interviews with intranet designers and case-study analyses show that designers are positioning COVID-19 content on intranets all in one place and are making it easy to find and consume.

  • Stop Counting Clicks: The 3 Click Rule is Nonsense

    Users want to do the least amount of work possible to get to a desired web page. However, "work" is the sum of difficulty presented by each click and not the number of clicks in itself. Here are some tips for making a path easier to navigate.

  • Tree Testing to Evaluate Information Architecture Categories

    Tree testing is a supplement to card sorting as a user research method for assessing the categories in an information architecture (especially a website IA and its proposed or existing navigation menu structure).

  • Better Labels for Website Links: the 4 Ss for Encouraging Clicks

    4 guidelines for writing the link texts on websites to ensure users click the right options. Links should be Specific, Sincere, Substantial, and Succinct.

  • Footers are Underrated

    There's a footer at the bottom of every web page, but the design of this utilitarian page element is often overlooked, making the website perform below its potential. In our usability studies, users often turn to page footers for important information and tasks, making them an integral part of the overall experience of a site.

  • The 3-Click Rule for Navigation Is False

    While it is important to keep key information easily accessible, the 3-click rule is an arbitrary rule of thumb that is not backed by data.

  • Simple Design Is Relative

    Simplicity depends on the capacity of the information channel and what's simple for one device, can be primitive or intricate for another, since screens are information channels with a limited capacity. When you're designing for multiple devices, don't go by common cliches like "simple is good."

  • How Many Items in a Navigation Menu?

    A key question in information architecture (IA) is to decide the number of items in navigation menus (including global menus and local menus). 4 main factors determine the answer, but it's not 7, despite a common myth.

  • Unbridged Knowledge Gaps Hurt UX

    Many websites fail to provide the right information for research-based tasks, requiring unnecessary effort for users to piece together various information sources manually.

  • Footers 101: Design Patterns and When to Use Each

    Footers can be found at the bottom of almost every web page, and often take many forms, depending on the type of content on a website. Regardless of the form they take, their presence is critical (and highly underrated).

  • Breadcrumbs: 11 Design Guidelines for Desktop and Mobile

    Support wayfinding by including breadcrumbs that reflect the information hierarchy of your site. On mobile, avoid using breadcrumbs that are too tiny or wrap on multiple lines.

  • Intranet Design After a Merger or Acquisition

    Building an intranet for a newly expanded organization calls for empathy, balance, and often some resistance toward upper management.

  • Why You Need a Home Link

    Websites which provide a "home" link on every page make it easy for new visitors and users who are lost to get oriented.

  • Open vs. Closed Card Sorting

    There are two types of card sorting, which measure different aspects of users' mental models for information architecture.

  • UX Guidelines for Ecommerce Homepages, Category Pages, and Product Listing Pages

    Streamline users’ path to products by providing clear, differentiating product information at all levels — from the homepage to product listing pages.

  • How to Interpret Dendrograms from Card Sorting to Improve Information Architecture

    Card sorting is great for designing or evaluating an information architecture (IA), but can be hard to interpret. Dendrograms visualize the data which can help you make the necessary decisions which are rarely clear-cut but require tradeoffs.

  • Findability vs. Discoverability

    Locating features or content on a website or in an app happen in two different ways: finding (users look for the item) and discovering (users come across the item). Both are important, but require different user research techniques to evaluate.

  • Stop Counting Clicks: The 3 Click Rule is Nonsense

    Users want to do the least amount of work possible to get to a desired web page. However, "work" is the sum of difficulty presented by each click and not the number of clicks in itself. Here are some tips for making a path easier to navigate.

  • Tree Testing to Evaluate Information Architecture Categories

    Tree testing is a supplement to card sorting as a user research method for assessing the categories in an information architecture (especially a website IA and its proposed or existing navigation menu structure).

  • Better Labels for Website Links: the 4 Ss for Encouraging Clicks

    4 guidelines for writing the link texts on websites to ensure users click the right options. Links should be Specific, Sincere, Substantial, and Succinct.

  • Footers are Underrated

    There's a footer at the bottom of every web page, but the design of this utilitarian page element is often overlooked, making the website perform below its potential. In our usability studies, users often turn to page footers for important information and tasks, making them an integral part of the overall experience of a site.

  • Simple Design Is Relative

    Simplicity depends on the capacity of the information channel and what's simple for one device, can be primitive or intricate for another, since screens are information channels with a limited capacity. When you're designing for multiple devices, don't go by common cliches like "simple is good."

  • How Many Items in a Navigation Menu?

    A key question in information architecture (IA) is to decide the number of items in navigation menus (including global menus and local menus). 4 main factors determine the answer, but it's not 7, despite a common myth.

  • Why You Need a Home Link

    Websites which provide a "home" link on every page make it easy for new visitors and users who are lost to get oriented.

  • Open vs. Closed Card Sorting

    There are two types of card sorting, which measure different aspects of users' mental models for information architecture.

  • How to Avoid Bias in Card Sorting

    The items included in card sort studies affect results. Avoid bias by choosing items that proportionately represent your offerings.

  • Card Sorting: How to Best Organize Product Offerings

    Card sorting helps you understand how to organize offerings so people who know what you have and where to find it. Even afternoon tea requires thoughtful organization and presentation.

  • Do We Still Need Information Architecture (IA) When Users Can Just Search?

    Find out why information architecture is more critical than ever, despite improvements in search engines.

  • Local Navigation Is a Valuable Orientation and Wayfinding Aid

    Local navigation indicates to users where they are and what other content is nearby in an information hierarchy.

  • Left-Side Vertical Navigation on Desktop: Scalable, Responsive, and Easy to Scan

    Vertical navigation is a good fit for broad or growing IAs, but takes up more space than horizontal navigation. Ensure that it is left-aligned, keyword front-loaded, and visible.

  • Privacy Policies and Terms of Use: 5 Common Mistakes

    Policy pages often fail to follow basic usability guidelines: they are not readable, lack high-level summaries and inside-policy navigation, have poor formatting, and are not available in expected places.

  • How to Organize COVID-19 Information on Your Intranet

    Interviews with intranet designers and case-study analyses show that designers are positioning COVID-19 content on intranets all in one place and are making it easy to find and consume.

  • The 3-Click Rule for Navigation Is False

    While it is important to keep key information easily accessible, the 3-click rule is an arbitrary rule of thumb that is not backed by data.

  • Unbridged Knowledge Gaps Hurt UX

    Many websites fail to provide the right information for research-based tasks, requiring unnecessary effort for users to piece together various information sources manually.

  • Footers 101: Design Patterns and When to Use Each

    Footers can be found at the bottom of almost every web page, and often take many forms, depending on the type of content on a website. Regardless of the form they take, their presence is critical (and highly underrated).

  • Breadcrumbs: 11 Design Guidelines for Desktop and Mobile

    Support wayfinding by including breadcrumbs that reflect the information hierarchy of your site. On mobile, avoid using breadcrumbs that are too tiny or wrap on multiple lines.

  • Intranet Design After a Merger or Acquisition

    Building an intranet for a newly expanded organization calls for empathy, balance, and often some resistance toward upper management.

  • UX Guidelines for Ecommerce Homepages, Category Pages, and Product Listing Pages

    Streamline users’ path to products by providing clear, differentiating product information at all levels — from the homepage to product listing pages.

  • Polyhierarchies Improve Findability for Ambiguous IA Categories

    When an item fits in more than one category, your IA structure can include multiple parents for that item to avoid losing users.

  • Card Sorting: Uncover Users' Mental Models for Better Information Architecture

    Card sorting is a UX research technique in which users organize topics into groups. Use it to create an IA that suits your users' expectations.

  • Tree Testing Part 2: Interpreting the Results

    Analyze tree-testing results including success, first click, and directness to improve information architecture and navigation labels.

  • Tree Testing: Fast, Iterative Evaluation of Menu Labels and Categories

    Follow these tips to effectively evaluate a site’s navigation hierarchy and to avoid common design mistakes.

  • 5 Information Architecture Warning Signs in Your Analytics Reports

    Analytics metrics such as pageviews, conversions, entrances, bounce rates, and search query frequency can help identify problems in your category structure.

  • The Anatomy of a List Entry

    To support scanning and product comparison, item descriptions on listing pages should have a visual design and layout that preserve content priorities.

  • Navigation: You Are Here

    You-are-here navigation consists of signs that help orient website visitors as they explore the site. Many websites need stronger location indicators.

  • Utility Navigation: What It Is and How to Design It

    Utility navigation consists of secondary actions and tools, such as contact, subscribe, save, sign in, share, change view, print.

  • Audience-Based Navigation: 5 Reasons to Avoid It

    Role-based IAs increase cognitive effort and user anxiety. Clear language and mutually exclusive categories reduce the chance of harming the user experience.

  • Top 3 IA Questions about Navigation Menus

    The number and order of navigation categories, and use of hover menus for touchscreens are frequently asked questions that arise when organizing information on a website or application.