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Information Architecture

How do you know where to put things in your design? There are a few techniques you can use to make this determination. A good Information Architecture is needed to put content where it makes sense to the user. In fact, usually doing user research can help you validate assumptions about where things should go.

Card Sorting
A card sorting exercise can also tell you where things should be placed in the Information Architecture. In a card sorting exercise the designer gets a look into where users would go to naturally find a piece of content. This can be done by making index cards or post-it notes and then asking users to sort where they would group or categorize the items. Card sorting can also be done remotely via user testing, or email just by asking some questions. You will want to repeat this process for several users and then look for patterns in organization.

Affinity Diagram
Patterns in an Affinity Diagram can also be used to sort out where things should go. Responses to the questions you ask your users about where they would expect to find things should be revealed in this information. It can also be used to figure out feature priority and what the user needs on the screen to complete a task.

Knowledge Map/Mind Map/Concept Map
Some people like to use a Knowledge Map to organize their ideas. This can also be used to map out an Information Architecture as its a graphical representation of interconnected information. It can e used to illustrate a process, the flow of information, or how things should be organized. It can be used to make sense of complex ideas or objects. A knowledge map can discover constraints, assumptions, locations, ownership, values, artifacts and people. It can also be used to discover opportunities for existing knowledge, or become a way to store your card sorting information.

User Experience Skills

Design from the User's Mental Space

Usability Research

Customer Visits

Contextual Inquiry

Card Sorting

Task Analysis

Design Hypothesis

Heuristic Evaluation

Demographic Research

A/B Testing

Make Data Meaningful

Data Synthesis

Affinity Diagrams

Personas

Information Architecture

Mental Models

Interpretation Sessions

Context Scenarios

UX Elements and Themes

Socialization and Governance

Interactive Prototypes

User Requirements

iRise Simulations

Lo-fidelity wireframes

Responsive Design

Style Guide

UX Architecture

Storyboards