Information Architecture can be applied to resolve breakdowns in site design and navigation structure. The role of good Information Architecture is to make the Website work not in the technical sense, but from a functional, organized, conceptual perspective.
(Article found via InfoDesign.)
This article makes the point that organizations should use their site’s information architecture as a critical tool in acheiving their major organizational goals (sales, in this example). While that sounds obvious it is easy to drift away from that kind of objective if you don’t keep it firmly in mind during the design process.
At ASHA, we recently redesigned and restructured our web site. One of our goals was to strongly enhance the value of being a member and to ensure that members and prospective members could easily see the wealth of information they could recieve on the web site. To that end, we grouped all the member-only content into a single section with a drop-down menu that allows them to quickly see all the major content areas. Again, it seems an obvious approach but it is one we have not really taken before when the users’ perception of member value on the web site was not kept front and center during the design process. Without that focus it would have been very easy to compromise in other areas that would have diluted or fragmented the member-only content on our site.