Avoiding Common Information Architecture (IA) Mistakes

Information architecture (IA) mistakes can be costly for businesses, resulting in a clearer user experience and lost customers. Poor navigation structure, unclear labeling, lack of search functionality, overly complex IA, and ignoring mobile users are common information architecture errors that web developers should avoid when building websites. 

With careful planning and consideration, these issues can easily be avoided to create an effective website with a great user experience. It’s important to keep current trends and best practices up-to-date to optimize your website for success!

Information Architecture (IA) Mistakes

What is the definition of information architecture?

The discipline of information architecture focuses on organizing information within digital products. When designers create apps and websites, for example, they layout each screen so the user can easily find the required information. They also create a flow that allows users to navigate between screens easily. UX designers decide on the best organization and flow.

Information Architecture components

 Consequences of Bad Information Architecture

Regarding information architecture, the consequences of bad design can be costly. Poorly designed websites and applications are often difficult to navigate, leading to user frustration and task failure.

  • Structural mistakes such as an unorganized layout or a lack of visual hierarchy can confuse users. In contrast, navigation mistakes like broken links or confusing labels make it hard for them to find what they’re looking for.
  • Bad information architecture isn’t just frustrating; it’s expensive too – research has shown that companies lose millions each year due to poor IA design resulting in lost sales opportunities and customer dissatisfaction.
  • As such, businesses must ensure their web pages have been well thought out by experienced professionals who understand how best to structure data online – after all, first impressions count!
  • If these subsites are not properly linked up with one another, it can be difficult for visitors to know where else they could explore further within the same brand family. This lack of connection makes it hard for people who may benefit from additional resources offered elsewhere on either side (main site vs. sub-site) to access them without any confusion or frustration during their initial visit experience online.

Structure Mistakes in information Architecture

With a proper plan, you may deal with a disorganized mess of content that is easier for users to navigate and understand.

Here are five common structural mistakes that should be avoided:

  • No Structure 

Visitors will need help finding what they need when there needs to be an organization or hierarchy to the site’s content. This is like finding your way out of a maze without walls; it’s impossible!

  • Missing Category Landing Pages

A category landing page is an entry point into deeper content levels within each section of your website.

With them, users can access more detailed information about particular topics or products related to their interests.

These are important for both SEO and usability purposes, as they help users quickly find what they’re looking for while also helping search engines understand the scope of your site.

Unfortunately, many sites must pay more attention to this crucial element in their web design. With a dedicated page for each section or category on your site, visitors can get an overview of what you offer and could benefit from important products or services.

  • Search and Structure Not Integrated 

Searching through an unstructured website is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

If the search isn’t integrated into the site’s overall structure, visitors won’t get accurate results when locating specific items on the page.

  • Extreme Polyhierarchy

Extreme Polyhierarchy is a term used to describe the complex web of website classification options.

It occurs when there are too many dimensions and categories for users to navigate, making it difficult to find what they’re looking for.

For example, if you visit an online store with various products, you may be presented with dozens of filters and sorting options. This could include product type, color, size, price range, etc. 

While having multiple layers of navigation can help organize complex sites with lots of pages and sections, too many levels can make things clearer for users who want quick access to relevant information without having to click through several menus first.

It’s important to keep track of how deep these hierarchies go and ensure each level has its purpose and meaning, so users feel safe from all the choices available on each page.

  • Subsites/Microsites Poorly Integrated with Main Site

Subsites (or microsites) are separate websites within larger ones that focus on specific topics or products related directly back to the main domain name. Still, if these subsites are properly linked up, visitors will know where else they could explore further from their current location on either side (main site vs. sub-site).

This makes it difficult for people who might otherwise benefit from additional resources offered elsewhere within the same brand family but were unable simply because those connections needed to be made clearer upfront during the initial visit experience online.

Common Information Architecture Errors

Common information architecture mistakes or errors are listed below. 

Not Understanding the Website Audience

You might not get the desired applause if you sing jazz in front of a rock crowd. This is, in many ways, the cardinal sin that many website designers commit. They need to examine the data before them to understand the intended audience for their website.

Understanding the Website Audience

Solution: Developing a strategy that provides visitors with a rich user experience will go a long way toward helping you connect with your website audience

Poor Navigation Structure

The navigation structure is an essential part of any website. It helps users find what they are looking for quickly and easily while providing a logical flow to the content on the page. Poor navigation structure can lead to frustration, confusion, and, ultimately, poor user experience.

  • Intuitive And Easy To Use

A good navigation system should be intuitive and easy to use. The menu items should be clearly labeled with descriptive titles that accurately reflect the content within each section or page. 

All important pages should be included in the main navigation bar so that users don’t have to search too deeply into sub-menus or sidebars for the needed information.

  • Ensure All Links Work Properly 

It’s also important to ensure that all links work properly; broken links will only add further frustration for your visitors as they navigate your site. 

  • Include Breadcrumbs

It’s helpful if you include breadcrumbs at the top of each page which shows where a user is about other parts of your website – this makes it easier for them to jump back up levels without having to click through multiple menus again from scratch.

Navigation Structure
  • Consider Mobile Devices 

Consider how mobile devices will display your navigation structure – many websites now feature ‘hamburger menus’ which condense long lists of menu items into one small icon on smaller screens such as phones and tablets – this help keeps things neat while still allowing access to all areas of a website from any device type used by visitors.

Unclear Labeling

Labeling is an important part of website navigation. It helps users understand the purpose of each page and navigate to the information they need quickly and easily. If labels are unclear or misleading, it can confuse users and lead to a poor user experience.

Information Architecture Labeling

For example, if a label says “FAQs” but instead leads to a page with product specifications, it could confuse users expecting answers to their questions. Similarly, if two pages have similar sounding labels, such as “About Us” and “About Our Company,” this could create confusion when trying to find specific information on either page.

It’s important that all labels accurately describe what content will be found on each page so that users can easily navigate your site. 

Labels should also use language familiar to your target audience so they can easily identify where they need to go without having any prior knowledge of the site structure or terminology used in the labeling system.

When creating new web pages or updating existing ones, take some time to review all labels across your website from both desktop and mobile devices (if applicable). This will help ensure all labels are clear and concise, improving visitors’ usability.

Lack of Search Functionality

Search functionality is an essential part of any website. It allows users to quickly and easily find information without manually searching through pages or content. A well-designed search function can save time, improve user experience, and increase conversions.

  • Easier For Visitors 

Having a search box on your website makes it easier for visitors to find what they need in less time. This can help reduce bounce rates as visitors don’t have to spend extra time searching for something that may not be there. 

Additionally, providing a keyword field with autocomplete options helps narrow down results further so users can get exactly what they’re looking for faster.

  • Include Advance Filters 

Including advanced filters such as sorting by relevance or date also helps refine searches, so users only see relevant results instead of being overwhelmed with too many choices at once. This type of filtering improves usability and encourages people to stay longer on the site since they know their efforts will yield better results faster than if no filters are available.

  • Add a “Did you mean?” Feature

Adding a “Did you mean?” feature when someone enters an incorrect spelling or phrase, is helpful because it still provides accurate results while correcting their mistake – this reduces frustration levels and increases customer satisfaction overall.

Overall, having a good search function on your website is key in providing customers with an enjoyable user experience that keeps them returning repeatedly. This will ultimately lead to increased sales and conversions over time.

Overly Complex IA

An overly complex IA (Information Architecture) can be difficult for users to navigate, leading to frustration and confusion. Website developers, online marketers, content managers, and company owners need to keep the navigation structure of their websites simple so that visitors can find what they are looking for quickly.

When an IA is too complicated or convoluted, it makes it harder for users to find the information they need promptly. This could result in them leaving your website without finding what they were looking for or, even worse, not returning due to their negative experience.

One way to avoid this issue is by ensuring that each page on your website has a clear purpose and concise labeling. For example, if you have a “Contact Us” page, then make sure it’s labeled as such instead of something like “Get In Touch With Us,” which may confuse some visitors who don’t understand what “get in touch” means exactly. 

Additionally, having search functionality on your website will help visitors locate specific pages more easily since they will only have to manually go through every page once they find what they’re looking for.

It’s also important to remember mobile users when creating an IA since many people access websites from their phones nowadays. Ensure that any menus or navigation structures used on desktop versions of the site are optimized properly for mobile devices to include those users when browsing your website.

Finally, create only a few layers within your IA, as this will add complexity and confusion rather than help simplify things as intended. Maintaining a balance between simplicity and organization is important to achieve an effective user experience.

Ignoring Mobile Users

Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. People increasingly use their phones and tablets to access the internet, shop online and even watch movies. As such, website developers need to design with mobile users in mind.

Poor User Experience 

Ignoring mobile users can lead to a poor user experience on smaller devices. 

  • Due to limited screen space, navigation menus may need to be bigger or easier to use.
  • Images may not scale properly or take too long to load
  • Forms may be difficult or impossible to fill out without zooming in
  • The text might be unreadable due to font size issues
  • Videos might not play correctly
  • Links could be hard or impossible for people with larger fingers/thumbs on touchscreens. 

All these issues can cause frustration among visitors trying to access your site from a mobile device, resulting in lost customers and revenue opportunities.

Websites must be optimized for desktop and mobile versions so that all visitors have an enjoyable experience regardless of their device. Responsive web design techniques should be used so that content adjusts automatically depending on the screen size used by each visitor (e.g., appropriately scaling images). 

Also, navigation menus should adjust accordingly when viewed from different-sized screens—for example, a “hamburger menu” icon expands into a full-width dropdown menu when clicked/tapped on smartphones/tablets instead of displaying multiple levels of navigation at once, as seen on desktops/laptops.

In conclusion, ignoring mobile users can lead to significant problems with usability and accessibility if websites aren’t designed properly for them, resulting in frustrated visitors who will likely leave your site quickly without taking any action, such as making purchases. Therefore, website owners must consider how their sites look across all types of devices before launching them live online.

FAQs About Information Architecture (IA) Mistakes

  • Taxonomy: This organizes content into categories and subcategories, allowing users to find what they are looking for easily.
  • Labeling: Labels should be clear and concise so that users can quickly identify where they need to go or what information they are looking for.
  • Navigation: A well-designed navigation system allows users to easily move between pages on a website without searching for them manually.
  • Search Functionality: An effective search function allows users to quickly locate specific content within a website by entering keywords or phrases in a query box.
  • Content Chunking: Breaking up long pieces of text into smaller chunks makes it easier for readers to scan the material more efficiently and effectively understand its contents. 
  • Navigation: This is the structure of how users move through a website and includes menus, links, search bars, and other elements that allow users to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
  • Information Architecture (IA): IA organizes content into logical categories so that users can find it more easily. It involves creating labels, hierarchies, relationships between content pieces, and other methods to ensure information is easy to access.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO helps websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) by optimizing titles, meta descriptions, keyword usage, etc., which increases the visibility of the website on SERPs as well as user experience when navigating through the site itself.


In conclusion, information architecture (IA) mistakes can have a huge impact on the success of your website. It is important to take the time to review your site’s IA regularly to ensure it meets the needs of your target audience and provides them with an enjoyable user experience.

Are you looking for ways to improve your website’s visibility and usability? Do you want to increase user engagement with your content? Don’t let information architecture mistakes ruin the success of your website. Please use our expertise in SEO, site architecture, website usability, and UX to ensure every visitor has a great experience on your website. Contact us today for more information!

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