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Modern Information Architecture (IA)

By: Erin Presseau | 2/29/24

IA holds the secret to improving customer experience

A true marketing differentiator lies in seamlessly connecting users with what they need, when they need it. As any marketer knows, it’s much easier said than done. When managing a website, customer portal or intranet, Information Architecture (IA) can make or break that connection. The one thing about IA is that it needs to adapt as user behaviors change. Since IA is all about creating an intuitive way of organizing, categorizing and labeling content for the end user, IA has to evolve over time, just like your customers and their online behaviors do. 

The Evolving Landscape: 

Today's users navigate complex multi-channel ecosystems, hopping between devices, platforms, and touchpoints. There really is no such thing as a linear customer journey. Because of that, a traditional siloed IA simply can't keep up. Modern IA considers the following: 

  • Content Flexibility: Content is king, but only when organized for discoverability and consumption across channels. Think: modular content blocks, dynamic filtering, and seamless integration with search. 
  • Personalization Power: IA fuels personalization engines, recommending relevant content based on user behavior and preferences. This tailored experience fosters deeper engagement and loyalty. 
  • Voice Interaction: Remember voice search? It's still here and booming. Modern IA is designed for intuitive voice navigation, ensuring users find what they need with simple spoken commands on smart home devices, internet-enabled products and more.
  • Location and Structure: IA and sitemap are often used interchangeably but users roam from page to page, browsing content hierarchies using more than just the main navigation menu – consider your site search, refined search, links, CTAs (Calls to Action), and numerous other ways you help to guide the user to the next best content decision. 


Why IA Matters to Marketers? 


The answer is simple: IA impacts every aspect of the customer journey, directly influencing marketing success. 

  • Improved Conversion Rates: When users find what they need quickly and easily, conversions soar. Strong IA reduces friction, guiding users from awareness to purchase with minimal roadblocks.
  • Reduced Bounce Rates: Frustrated users bounce. Clear, intuitive IA keeps them engaged, exploring deeper and discovering more value. 
  • Amplified SEO Performance: Search engines love well-structured websites. Strong IA aligns with search intent, improving organic ranking and driving qualified traffic. 


Modern IA Best Practices: 


So, how do you put these principles into action? Here are some key 2024 IA best practices for senior marketers: 

  • User-Centric Design: It all starts with understanding your users. Conduct user research, map user journeys, and build your IA around their needs and expectations. If you don’t have access to this research, ask your digital partner. There are tons of tools and resources that can help you to collect this information inexpensively and accurately.
  • Content Mapping: Organize your content strategically, using taxonomies and metadata to create a clear hierarchy and enable efficient search and discovery.
  • Collaboration is Key: Break down silos! Involve marketing, content teams, and developers in the IA development process, ensuring alignment across channels and departments.
  • Embrace New Technologies: Stay ahead of the curve by exploring how IA can adapt to emerging technologies like voice search. 

Finally, I’ll leave you with one suggestion – marketer to marketer – don’t wait to make complete ‘rip and replace’ changes to your IA. Make small incremental changes and test them - start today. Even the smallest IA changes can net you big conversion and/or customer satisfaction gains. If you aren't sure where to start, reach out and we'd be happy to make recommendations.

 

 

 

 

Categories:

Website Optimization

Meet the Author: Erin Presseau

 

 

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