Information architecture is the first step of our user-centered design and development methodology. Our primary goal for this stage is to organize and structure the content and the message based on your goals, objectives and audience. Great information architecture and user interface design ensures an effective path of communication for the user experience we create for our clients’ audiences.
Information ArchitectureGood web design requires a solid site architecture based on the site’s goals and target audience established in the project brief. The deliverables from this phase are the Content Outline, Site Diagram, Page Description Diagrams and Wireframes. These four deliverables are dependent on each other and need to be completed sequentially. Different websites require different types of information architecture. What works best will vary based on things like how often content is updated, how much content there is, and how visitors use the site.
Content OutlinesWorking closely with you, we’ll create a list of all existing content and brainstorm any new content that needs to be created for the site. We’ll review the list of content and trim anything that does not match the goals or audience needs as stated in the project brief. We’ll take time to think about the future and how the site content might need to grow. Next, we’ll group your content into categories. As we categorize your content, we’ll considering getting user feedback through a card sort. Once categories are established, we’ll create an outline of your content and review it with you for accuracy. Click here to view a sample content outline.
Visual Site DiagramsWe’ll take the final content outline and create a visual site map or site diagram. A site diagram is just a visual representation of your content outline and site structure. A visual site diagram enables us to precisely watch over the development of your website. From there, we’ll be able to recognize any areas that need improvement, or have been neglected. Visualizing the task in advance is essential, and a visual site diagram makes this easier. Click here to view a sample visual site diagram.
WireframesThink of wireframes as blueprints for your website. Usually created before any designs, these will show the general layout and functionality of your site. Wireframes typically contain no graphical elements and only placeholders for the final text and images just to give you an idea of how the website will be arranged. Wireframes are an extremely important in the process and can allow for effective discussion over different user flows and page layouts. It is always much easier to edit wireframes rather than changing things at the design and build stages. Consider wireframing as the ‘foundation’ of your web project. Skipping on such a vital part of the process can have drastic effects on its success.
User Interface DesignUser interface design isn’t just about buttons and menus; it’s about the interaction between the user and the application or device. This means that user interface design isn’t about how a product looks, but rather about how it works. It’s not just about arranging buttons and picking colors, but rather about choosing the right tools for the job. The user sees and interacts with the user interface, not the underlying back-end architecture of your website. Getting this element right will have a big impact on how much your customers enjoy using your site and how easy your site is to use. We always start by designing the interface first and then we code the back-end engine that powers it, rather than building the back-end first and then putting an interface “wrapper” over top. We employ superior web design and usability best practices in site layout and design and pay special attention to clarity, concision, familiarity, responsiveness, consistency, aesthetics and efficiency. Once all that is complete, we’ll then turn our attention to graphic design.
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