Carrie Webster writing for Smashing Magazine.
‘Whether it is a website, a software application or a smartphone app, it’s about first designing the structure of how your information is organized, and then translating this into a logical navigation hierarchy that makes sense to the users who will be accessing it. In this world where we can sometimes feel as though we are drowning in data, information architecture provides us with a logical way of organizing this data to make it easier to locate.’
Content structure is a core part of my web design process and in a large part informs the visual design of the website.
In my early design days I used to draw out the site using dummy text or images in illustrator, get the design signed off by the client then build the HTML and shoehorn in the content. We’d always get it to work but there was a lot of refactoring the design to fit. It’s completely backward when you think about it but it’s how most of the industry worked.
If you think content structure on a website is important (and you really should) then after you’ve read Carrie’s article you should also check out the book Content Design by Sarah Richards. It’s an easy read and explains why designing your content will have the biggest impact on your site visitor. Her experience is informed, in part, by her time at GOV.UK.