Information Architecture (IA)
Information architecture is the underlying structure of product information, content and rich media. It defines the structures of how information is stored, organized and labeled building the foundation for navigation and search. IA typically is the foundation that leads to wireframes, navigation and site maps. Good information architecture is the foundation for a great digital user experience (UX) design.
Ultimately we are storing digital information as abstract zeros and ones. The labels and semantic meaning we use makes the information understandable. When applying labels make sure you are user oriented. Labeling is considered a key component of information architecture.
Based on well organized structured information you can build out navigation systems. New navigation systems and best practices are continuously designed. Navigation systems stretches from the traditional top level hierarchical menu bar to personalized swiping in a dating app.
All navigation systems are enabled by well structured information, organized and labelled neatly. Making it easy to find and build different navigation structures to enable your users and customers to find what they are looking for as efficiently and enjoyable as possible.
For larger repositories of information a proper search is key. The traditional free form search is still of course highly relevant. Allowing users to quickly search through all information regardless of structure.
However for a more sophisticated search you need to connect your information architecture with the search. This is where that proper modeling, organizing and labeling rewards you. You can easily map price information, GEO location or color information to search facets.