What is Information Architecture (IA)?
The architecture phase of a web project includes a lot of things, and one of the important pieces is called, information architecture (IA), and it is how we “make sense of the mess.” IA is defined as the organization of structure and the content that fills those structures. Several functions are included in IA:
- Audit existing content
- Evaluating analytics
- Defining content elements and content types
- Organizing website navigation (sitemaps)
- Determining user flow
- Developing a content plan (for new and/or revised content)
What is User Experience (UX)?
When it comes to websites and the digital space, user experience (UX) is best defined as “the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.” This involves the architecture, design, and development of the entire website including the aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. At ipso, we think about UX from start to finish. Every decision we make about the functionality, content, design, and code effects the experience someone has with the site.
Why do Wireframes Matter so Much?
Remember our house analogy? Creating wireframes allows us to define the “blueprints” for a website. They literally are a set of page blueprints the define content elements and sections, including: header and footer, banner areas, content blocks, feature sections, and page layouts with the necessary fields and elements required in each area. Here, we define how things work, how users get to where they want to go, and how to prioritize content. We cannot move into the design phase a custom website project without first developing wireframes for each and every page layout.
What are Page Layouts?
Every custom website should have a set of rules and patterns in which it follow. Having predetermined page layouts is one way to establish rules for your design and content. Page layouts are like templates. They are defined for certain “types” of pages, like: parent pages, blog posts, team pages, contact pages, or case study pages. Each of these layouts are wireframed and designed with specific content in mind. While there is still flexibility within the CMS, page layouts give you consistency, cohesion, and a familiar UX within each content area.