Monday, December 15, 2008

Flexible Fuel: Educating the Client on IA

Helping clients understand the role of IA ...

"Information architecture (IA) means so much to our projects, from setting requirements to establishing the baseline layout for our design and development teams. But what does it mean to your clients? Do they see the value in IA? What happens when they change their minds? Can IA help manage the change control process? More than ever, we must ensure that our clients find value in and embrace IA—and it’s is our job to educate them.

If we want our customers to embrace IA, we must help them understand why we need it. IA is about selling ideas effectively, designing with accuracy, and working with complex interactivity to guide different personas (potential customers) through website experiences.

The following talking points may help your clients understand the value of IA.
IA incorporates requirements, goals, and user paths

Explaining the purpose of IA to the client should be easy once you discover a project’s purpose. Is it to increase awareness of a product or service? Is it to make the purchase path easier? IA incorporates these requirements and marketing goals and outlines traffic patterns so that the website can become a successful extension of a product or service.

I often tell clients that IA establishes the baseline, or foundation, for a solid site structure. It helps create the traffic patterns and navigational routes that get the customer from A to B in language that is helpful and easy to understand. In fact, IA is the first step in meeting customer goals and can therefore increase brand awareness and product or service sales.
IA mitigates scope creep

Since requirement gathering usually takes place at the same time as IA, IA can serve as a guide, keeping the project on track. IA ensures that project requirements are met since it establishes functionality, customer flows, and design.

With a solid IA, the customer’s project gets delivered on time and on budget. Changing requirements means changing IA, and that means the entire downstream process will need to be adjusted."    (Continued via A List Apart, Keith Laferriere)    [Usability Resources]

Client IA - Usability, User Interface Design

Client IA

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