In one of my previous articles on information architecture, I concluded that for various reasons this is a discipline that can hardly be explained with one single definition. Therefore, this time I thought I should focus on explaining IA and why does it matter so much to clients engaging in digital environment by showing a clear example.
Whether you are a business operating offline, online or both and whether you know it or not, you already practice information architecture. The structures that you use to interact with your customer on your websites, landing pages, mobile applications, printed catalogs, store shelves and so on — all reflecting your brand or your company through the content and services you provide.
All their experiences or interactions across channels build in your customers' mind a personal image of your brand. They build a personal relationship. Most of you probably also know that your customers’ happiness depends mainly on how clear and easy to understand are the information and services you provide them.
“If either your information or services are out of date, not accurate, cluttered, buried, impossible to find or written in language that only makes sense to people that work within your organization, customers feel under appreciated and/or confused.” Abby Covert
When things go wrong
Take a moment and think about it – in our daily life we’ve all been in situations where clearly a certain brand or company information architectures that weren’t serving you, the customer. Here are few Romania examples of damaged interactions that affected (and not in a good way) my experience with some local brands.
Posting print ads on your website is not the way to go. This might have been tolerated 15 years ago, but when this happens on Domo's eccomerce website it's even worst.
Not enough content or no content at all
How do all these bad experiences reflect on your business? You loose trust, you loose business. At the end of the day, shareholders expect profit. Yes, some of you may say that it’s not all about money… and you are right! However, if your dream when doing business also involves some kind of greater good, you need the cash and for that to keep coming you must have really happy and loyal clients willing to buy your products and services.
My advice to you
Forget for a while the tones of data your expensive researches give you! Go out there on the filed, in store, talk to your real customer. Get to know them for who they really are, not by statistics. My experience says you’ll be surprised by what valuable insights they can give you. Hopefully, this might at least make you think twice about your approach when thinking about (re)designing your online projects.
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