Considering that digitalization and customer experience have been the key business topics for years, why are we not seeing epic websites and WOW experiences online? Many websites are crappy and unpleasant to use, and they fail at delivering branded communications. We do not need to invest more money but more brains and effort.
The finger points at companies buying websites, but also at firms providing services. If companies aim at getting their website done at low cost, someone will definitely do that. That someone picks up nice new colours and fonts to ready made templates in a week. Then they start selling supplement services. Whether your company buys only that cheap website or the website and a dozen extra pieces, the most important issue have most likely been ignored. That is, attaching the website to the bigger picture, such as your business goals. At this point we will salute information architecture, IA.
In the age of information exponential growth a good IA becomes even more important as a competition advantage.
IA is the design behind the design. As information architecture leads user’s perceptions of the product or service, it essentially defines the user experience. IA guides visual and navigation design. Information architecture impacts everything in website design. A great IA is invisible, it makes using a website feel intuitive. How many times on the internet have you thought: ”what a brilliant information architecture”? Exactly. You can not see IA directly, but you can feel it easily as convenience and pleasure, ”rightness”. Bad IA is even more easily perceived.
In the age of information exponential growth a good IA becomes even more important as a competition advantage. Websites may contain complex structures, users are able to choose personalized page views and journeys, and websites are connected to various databases, customer information systems, marketing automation and social media. Designing a random website is not enough anymore: we need to design a coherent and connected experience for every environment.
Information should also be logical despite the devices. Different devices and applications provide different opportunities and restrictions. From the website angle inner consistency is essential, which means that the semantics are uniform in different contexts. But external coherence is as important – the semantics need to be logical whatever the device.
We need to move from product-orientation to more abstract gestalt thinking
Understanding the big picture and the numerous interdependencies has become utmost crucial. IA plays an important role in organizing large ecosystems. In order to develop digitalization and customer experience to the maximum, we need to move from product-orientation to more abstract gestalt thinking.
The three main interdependent elements of an information environment are context, users and content. A change in one affects others, and that is why designing websites requires consideration of all the elements together. This is not often the case, as people easily perceive only the outdated visual appearance. Real users are often ignored, because we believe we know what our customers want. And in the rush the aspects of context seem to be irrelevant – who needs business goals or the purpose of the brand for website design?
Your company can certainly get a cheap website in a week. The other option is to invest a bit more money and a lot more effort to build a strategic and optimized website, that supports your brand’s DNA and business goals, as well as creates great customer experiences and convert more customers. A great IA can maximize your profits.