Full day training course offered at Usability Week London

Information Architecture: Day 1

Organize and structure information to improve findability and discoverability

The Information Architecture (IA), or organization, of a website or application is critical, because it determines whether or not users are successful in finding desired information and completing tasks. This course introduces the core components of a good IA, as well as essential IA design methods and strategies.

"In just one day, this course provided me with actionable items I will use to both improve and add onto the IA of my company's website. The course also gave me a new perspective on how to analyze my website and the most important aspects I should focus on improving."

Laura Normile
HD Supply Facilities Maintenance

Topics Covered

  • How to explain why information architecture (IA) is important for your website or application
  • Why a good IA can save your company time and money during and after development
  • Return on investment (ROI) of information architecture
  • Essential logic and concepts you need to build a useful, usable, and extensible information architecture
  • Five components of information architecture
    • Structure types: Hierarchy, web, and linear
    • Organization schemes: Topic, task, format, audience, alphabet, time, geographical, attributes, tags, and popularity
    • Label names: Being specific vs. concise
    • Search: Designing search for content to be found
    • Logic: Taxonomy and metadata, when and why they're needed
  • Documenting information architecture
    • Content inventories
    • Site maps
  • Evaluating information architecture
    • Identifying issues and potential solutions
    • Measuring baseline performance
    • Testing structure, schemes, and labels
  • Designing information architecture
    • Mental models and scenarios
    • Domain modeling and task flow sketching
    • Card sorting method
    • Iterative testing method


This course is an interactive lecture. A series of in-depth exercises let you apply and practice new principles and techniques, while staying grounded in the research that supports them.

In groups, you will analyze a website’s information architecture by considering the site’s target audiences and top tasks, evaluating the organization scheme and existing structure, and documenting a new structure for the site.

The course also includes:

  • Findings from our own usability studies, including eyetracking
  • Videos from user testing showing people's behavior in response to a design
  • Screenshots of designs that work and don’t work, and why
  • Opportunities to ask questions and get answers

Attendee Feedback

"This course really sparks ways to solve complex IA challenges."
"If you want to make your web development more useable and attractive to users, take this course."
"It was very useful from the perspective of understanding detailed information and application website design connected with IA."

Companion Course

Information Architecture: Day 2 is a companion course to Information Architecture: Day 1. Each course can be taken independently. Information Architecture: Day 2 covers:

  • How to approach navigation design...after you've structured your content and features
  • Key navigation evaluation and design criteria
  • Components that support structure, communicate accurate mental maps, visualize paths and provide nodes
  • What works and what doesn't as obvserved in testing


Kathryn Whitenton

Kathryn Whitenton is a Senior User Experience Specialist with the Nielsen Norman Group. She works with clients to evaluate the usability and information architecture of websites in a variety of industries including technology, telecommunications, and media, as well as corporate intranets. She has conducted usability research, eyetracking user research, and studies of users on mobile devices in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Her user studies have included general audiences as well as specific consumer types, business segments, children, and seniors. Read more about Kathryn