I’m addicted to Green Tree, the Chinese restaurant across from our office. I’m in there so much the lady behind the counter gave me these really nice chopsticks. Either she likes me or realized the impact I was having on their bottom line by taking disposables everyday.
So today, in addition to the pork chow mein and wonton soup, I got an interesting fortune. It says “Every person is the architect of his own fortune.” Well then what are we paying you for, Confucius?
The cookie, while stale as usual, got me thinking about information architecture, and the important role it plays in a successful Web site development. We made a big push last year to include IA on every project, and you can really see the difference it makes.
A little background for those of you staring blankly at the screen right now who though architects were only for new home construction. Information architecture (IA) is the science of organizing Web sites and other interactive media to maximize results. With a focus on optimizing the project’s usability, it goes beyond basic content organization by creating an intuitive navigational structure and highly effective user interface design that is tailored to your target audience.
According to Forrester Research, Poorly architected retailing sites are underselling by as much as 50%! What might look good aesthetically might not perform the best in the real world. IA is all about helping move people through your site and finding that all important call to action.
So take it from my fortune cookie…don’t leave the architecture to the designers, programmers, sales staff, or anyone else. You, and your IA staff, are the architect of your Web site’s fortune.