Information Architecture: Did you build it, and did they come?
If no one is showing up to play on your website, you may have missed out on a key step in the website development process. I don’t think you would have forgotten to bring the bats, but you may have dropped the ball once or twice. Too cliché? Let me get to the point. You probably could have benefitted from creating an Information Architecture (IA) at the beginning of your web development project. Think of the IA as a blue print for the content, navigational scheme, sitemap and labeling guidelines related to the project. Basically, the IA helps you organize all the bats, balls, jerseys, gloves and it gets you to the field on time!
Creating an Information Architecture before starting site design will help you and your agency invest time and energy into the project vision and think about details you may not have considered. It is also a great opportunity to provide your agency with a clear understanding of what you expect from them. This process increases both parties end goal. Customer satisfaction! The IA identifies how and where on the site you will address the needs of your customers. This has significant implications when applied to your content presentation. When customer’s needs are met on your site, this leads to successful interaction with the site’s layout, or architecture. And successful interaction represents progress towards achieving your business goals – and achieving you business goals usually means money in the bank.
Why did they show up in the field of dreams? Ray Kinsella (Costner as the dashing leading man) knew exactly who he was building his field of dreams for. He was building it for them. So he followed his vision and made that baseball field perfect. When you build your field of dreams (website), make sure you build it for your customers. Creating an Information Architecture helps you focus on that important detail at the very beginning of your site design so you aren’t left wondering if people will come to “play ball”.
Does anyone know what happened to Kevin Costner? I just Google’d him. He still looks handsome. Turns out he started a band called Modern West. Nice work Kevin.