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IA and Usability Engineering

Information Architecture (IA) is the planning phase of any system design whether it is Internet, Intranet or application. As IA is the art of expressing a model or concepts of information used in activities that require explicit details of complex systems. It is the start of your master piece.


Information Architecture (IA) is a specialized skill set that interprets information and expresses distinctions between signs and systems of signs. More concretely, it involves the categorization of information into a coherent structure, preferably one that the intended audience can understand quickly, if not inherently, and then easily retrieve the information for which they are searching. The organization structure is usually hierarchical, but can have other structures, such as concentric or even chaotic.

IA can be the design of the user activities for any system, some examples of systems which have implemented IA are Content Management Systems, web development, user interactions, database development, programming, technical writing, enterprise architecture, and critical system software design. Information architecture has somewhat different meanings in these different branches of IS or IT architecture. Most definitions have common qualities: a structural design of shared environments, methods of organizing and labelling websites, intranets, and online communities, and ways of bringing the principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

Usability engineering (UE) is a field that is concerned with human-computer interaction and specifically with making human-computer interfaces that have high usability or user friendliness. In effect, a user-friendly interface is one that allows users to effectively and efficiently accomplish the tasks for which it was designed and one that users rate positively on opinion or emotional scales. Assessing the usability of an interface and recommending ways to improve it is the purview of the Usability Engineer.

In layman terms UE is a process of designing the site so the users of the website does not have to think about what to click and what they will get when they click on a link or a button. UE is a step to reduce the noise and confusion in the website and make the web experience 

The key for design requirements to identify the objectives of the project or goal, by understanding why it required, then we can identify what the requirements are and proceed to defining how it can be implemented

Some of the key activities/deliverables for Information Architecture and Usability Engineering Studies are;

  • Content Review
  • Content Stock Take
  • Organization Reviews
  • Process / Work Flow Reviews
  • Research Report (staff interviews, document analysis)
  • Site Structure (groups and labels)
  • Site Wireframes (layout and navigation including social navigation)
  • Site Taxonomy and Meta Tags
  • Information Architecture Governance Guide
  • IA Roadmap

Contact Us, if you would like to find out more about how we can help you incorporate Information Architecture (IA) and Usability engineering (UE) in the design of your organization's website .