Website architecture design is the way a website is structured or organized to meet business objectives while providing a flawless (UX) user experience. Every website includes a content architecture. It includes interaction design, user interface creation, graphic design, content strategy, quality of user experience, ect..
So how to plan architecture design for a website?
Once the objectives of the company are clearly established, some steps will be necessary for the good architectural realization of a website.
1. Know who are your users
Knowing your users is one of the most important parts of the design process for your website. You can gather information by interacting with your users, doing market research by conducting surveys, which will help you better understand their needs and behaviors. Once you have done a research on your users, you will get a basis on which you can make the right and appropriate decisions for the design of your website. If you are renovating your existing website, for example, you can perform a usability test on the current status of actions taken or problems your users are having. This will give you a clear idea of exactly what your users need and what is missing from your site. You will be able to define an action plan to improve specific points for the realization of your new website.
Once you’ve done the research and you think you’ve collected enough data, it’s time to move on to creating personas. Personas are fictional user profiles that are relevant to achieving the goals of your website. These are stories, made of (fictional) users, representing the data you have collected from potential real users during your research. You must be able to provide a background story, photos, names and, most importantly, a human structure to the people in your story. These profiles can be used as references to the story and as you go through your structure and website architecture creation.
2.Content and information collection
Now that you have data, fictional people (personas) ready for the architecture of your website, it’s about gathering all the content you need. This content must be accurate, up-to-date and consistent. In fact, it will be a determining factor to establish the architecture that will be best suited. If you decide to go ahead without having clearly established the content of your website, you will be likely to waste a lot of time deciding how the structure should be put in place and having to restructure the entire project as well as sections of the site to adapt the content you have found.
Having content aligned with the achievement of your goals and the nature of your business will also define the keywords and structure to optimize your website with search engines (SEO). And remember that with content not clearly established right from the start, not only will you waste time and energy, but you can even alter the purpose of your website and possibly deviate from your original mission.
Card sorting is the next step. Now that we have all the content required for your website, it’s useful to run a card sort to help your users sort the content into groups. Sorting by card will define and optimize the user experience and more precisely the tree structure of the various sections of the website, the menu structure or even the organization of the main features of the website. This step allows to have a clear idea of the actions and path taken by the users based on the available content and proposed options.
3. Testing phase
Now that we have information about the planning and development of the website architecture, we need to test and review the user experience.
Treejack is the most commonly used website architecture test tool. This online website architecture tool implements a tree test procedure to test the structure in place. This will give you a clear understanding of the exact sections that people are using or even know if they are getting lost with your content structure. It eliminates all design elements that could distract your users and hinder the achievement of your goals. This will help you test your ideas against real-time task-based scenarios. With Treejack, you can track and record all of these results with complete flowcharts and collect data to make the right decisions to improve the structure of your website.
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