What’s the difference between IA and UX?Information architecture User experience
Understanding the difference between information architecture (IA) and user experience (UX) can be tricky. Let’s get to the bottom of it.
What is information architecture?
In a nutshell, IA is the organisation and labelling of information.
IAs you’ll be familiar with include a website’s navigation, books in a library, or the documents and folders you create on your personal computer.
When designing an IA we ask:
- how can we separate information into sub-groups?
- what should we call these sub-groups?
A good IA should be understandable, logical, and predictable. The consideration and synthesis of three main factors – context, content, and users – is what dictates the difference between a well-designed IA and a poorly-designed one.
What about user experience?
UX, on the other hand, includes all aspects of an end-users’ interaction with a system. We need to examine not just the site, but the platform used to access it, the environment the user is in, and even the user themselves.
While the three factors of IA are a useful guide when designing or evaluating the UX of a system, there are seven key UX tenets that should be considered.
We need to ask is it:
The difference between IA and UX
IA and UX share many characteristics (a focus on users, context, and content), and you can use the UX tenants to evaluate an IA.
Despite this, they are not interchangeable concepts. A good IA can contribute to a good UX, but a good UX is made up of much more than just the IA.