UX - Organizing Content as a crucial part of design

January 28, 2016 2:32 am
Organizing content is one of the proccess on Information Architecture (IA). IA itself is one of the critical step in the web/ app making process. Recently I always create IA for my work. Unfortunately not real project, just for company portfolio. Hopefully, we can do the same process for client works.
So, before I dig into Organizing content topic, I want to tell you the big picture first which is IA and web making process. Nowadays we oftenly heard UX and UI words. This could be a title, this could be a job or task. UX and UI represents proccess. UX is proceess, and UI as well. The man who doing the work called UX designer and UI designer. Best practice is to separate between UX job and UI job, it supposed to be different person because its different job. But, most often than not, they push it to one person, especially in startup.
UX is proccess of how things should work. In this term, we see design not as they look, but as they work. How things should work, what content we need to provide, does it need to include button, is it jumbo button or a tiny one, where we should place it, and when we click it where we gonna go. UX is broad long process, that’s why we split into different part within.
UX are include (but not limited)
    • User Research
    • Userflow
      • Costumer Journey
      • Develop User Stories
      • Personas
    • IA
    • Wireframe
    • Moodboard
Well, this is just in my humble opinion, and this is my work process. Someone else might be different, you might adjust here and there to fit your typical works and try out to the work environment, and that’s totally fine. I’m just starting out and hope will learn a lot from the creative process.
I dont really know what the meaning of IA in official way, so I challenge myself to seek it on, it said IA (information architecture) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labelling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal is to help users find information and complete tasks. As long as the goal achieved, you did the good IA.
Basically IA is the proccess to deliver our content. When we ask ourself about “how we’re going to deliver this and that” you actually think about IA. When we want to deliver contents to our users, we need to think about the content itself right, what is that, is it text, picture, or video. Where we want to put it, under what categories, should we need to mark each content so its easy to track later. IA is about how to wrap our content and represent it as best as we can with business goals in mind.
As you can see, IA is one of the part of UX. It consists of several part:
    • Deciding what content we have
    • Organizing Content (could be done by card sorting, and taxonomies)
    • Structuring (IA Design Patterns ; Single page, flat structure, index page, strict hierarchy)
    • Labelling
As we talk about website, we organize, structure, and labelling web content. When we have a lot of data to present, a lot of text and article to deliver, we need to organize it first, we need to grouping each of them into similar group. So if someone looking for it, it could be easy for him. For example, you can go to your favourite shop online and see how they’re organizing their contents. If you want to look for nike shoes, do you find yourself hard to find it? If you feel hard, that might be cause of bad IA.
Grouping contents based on similarity is what we called card sorting. Card sorting is the process when you invite people (represent your users) and ask them to grouping all the topic you have into similar group and add title to each group. As a result, we can see how they think and it helps us design what really work for our real users.
At recent project, I organizing content based on the user need. I always think that what user need to complete their task at this stage. I start from defining the content itself and guided by userflow that I made. Then I narrow down the proccess by selecting one part of user flow (we can called it user journey) and break down the content on each page. Furthermore, we can take that particular user journey and go to the UI mockup for quick test, if you wanted.
By using this approach, I can save my time on doing UI, because when you straight forward to UI but you dont know full coverage of features you need, then you will end up changing your final design again and again. Not only save my time, it gives me a solid foundation as well when I design the interface, I know what to build next, I know how it works and how it ends. The most important is organizing content, IA in general, save your effort when build a product. Fundamental features should be keep and remove at this stage, not at the mockup.
Achmad Ramadhani Wasil
Tall, pale, and half-Cimahian. Full-time designer and half time engineer who occasionally dabbles in tech

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