When Your Website Structure (Information Architecture) is Flawed?

Sitemap flawedPart of any website strategy is to plan your web site architecture also known as website information architecture. In short, the information architecture is a blueprint of your information or a website sitemap.

It’s always easy hearing about it and this is deemed one of the easiest because it’s just organization of information in your website itself. However, I have found many who are ignorant of organizing their content in a manner only made sense to them and not the user.

Back in 2005, I have had posted an article about Maybank2u’s website architecture and it wasn’t a positive outlook. Just imagine, in order to search for the Touch n Go information on Maybank2u’s website I had to use Google in this manner:

site:maybank2u.com “touch n go”

What’s happening here is I’m asking Google to search only the Maybank2u website and for the exact words “touch n go”. By using this only did I find what I was looking for. I remember spending 10 minutes just trying to look for the relevant information. If I didn’t know how to use Google like this, I would have abandoned the Maybank2u website altogether.

There are other large corporate websites with a similar flawed website information architecture. They do not find out eventually because it is easier to abandon and look for an alternative. After all, your competitor is only a click away. Therefore, when your website structure (information architecture) is flawed you are losing 80% of your potential customers.

Many Malaysia multi-national companies even have a strong tendency of using terminology or slang they deem as fun and attractive but fail to understand the current behavior of website users today. The link called “Loadz Fun” sounds interesting but if it’s not going to help me look for what I wanted in the first place, I won’t want to waste my time in there.

Furthermore, if your website information architecture is flawed than you’re going to have a tough time organizing the new content into your website. Most clients in this scenario will just create a new category and be done with it. But do not realize how this is affecting their website information architecture in the long term.

The other problem with a flawed website information architecture, it is much more difficult to fix. In your mind, it shouldn’t be difficult to shift content around. On the other hand, the logic and follow-up actions of the allocating the content in the selected area is always overlooked. Let’s take this as an example:

  • Protective gear
    • Head
      • Helmets

How many categories do you think you need for this? Two? Three?

I only see two categories there; Protective gear and Helmets or Protective gear and head. The best choice of selection is highly dependent on the target user later.

So if you’re wondering why your website users are not spending longer times in there, it’s time to start looking into your website information architecture. For blogs, if your mum can navigate your blog then I suppose you’re on the right path.

Question of the day:
What commercial websites do you know have a flawed website information architecture?

1 thought on “When Your Website Structure (Information Architecture) is Flawed?”

  1. Pingback: The New Maybank2u Website is Finally Here | Websites Made Simple

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