Information Architecture

info-arch

Building the Development Strategy

Your project is only as strong as the planning that goes into it. We honor the balance between usability and design aesthetics, and our information architecture planning process focuses on your site's usability and functionality.

Information architecture (IA) is the science of organizing websites and interactive projects, and our process is based on a deep belief of user-centered design. We go beyond basic content organization by creating an intuitive navigational structure and highly effective user interface design that is tailored to your target audience.

We believe in doing things right the first time, and we know that proper planning is the only way to ensure that will happen. We brainstorm the most effective ways to meet your goals and your users' needs. You will work with designers and technical architects to determine exactly how your project will flow and function.

Our information architecture may include several elements such as:

Sitemap: The sitemap is exactly what it sounds like: a map outlining all the pages of your website. It lists each page and shows how they will link to one another. The sitemap ensures the most important information and calls to action are linked throughout the prominent areas of your website.

Design Preferences: Design preferences give us a starting point for the style of the project. We review your current website (if applicable), as well as any of your competitor sites, to determine a consistent theme for the project.

Wireframes: Wireframes are like a rough draft of the website including portions of the site’s functionality. Wireframes are similar to a sitemap, but actually allow you to click through and interact with the pages. This provides a better feel for the flow and functionality of the final product before development begins.

Process Flows: Many sites require integration with third-party components. This may include anything from credit card processors to CRM systems. We use the process flow document to outline how our code will interact with these components.

Milestones: Milestones allow us to group project functionality into logical stages for smooth rollout down the road. This allows us to test each stage independent of ongoing work. With larger scale projects, we can even launch full-feature milestones to a production server.

Component Checklist (QAR): As functionality is established during the planning and development stage, the component checklist serves as a reference to the base functionality that is required for each element to work. When the project goes to our quality assurance review (QAR) phase, this document will be used to make certain all required functionality is in place.

Database Structure: Our technical architect will design and deploy the project’s database structure during the planning phases based on the functionality established in the statement of work. This allows us to maintain a consistent database design across all of our projects based on industry standards. Creating this standard facilitates consistent future development by anyone on our programming team.

Hosting / Third-Party Configurations: We establish a hosting configuration tailored to the project specifications before development begins. That way if functionality or goals evolve during the development process, we have a record. That helps us ensure our development environment matches the production environment before the project’s launch, reducing the risk of costly setbacks.