A blog series focused on crafting meaningful structure in your Digital Workplace
Now that we've covered some best practices and tips for collecting and defining your information architecture (IA) structure, we will close this blog series with a few tips for great IA structures.
Get users where they’re going, fast: Navigation best practices
Users should be able to move through your digital workplace without hesitation, so they can get their work done without wasting even a minute wondering where to find the information they need, when they need it.
IA and navigation are not the same thing — IA encompasses so much more than navigation, which has been described as the tip of the iceberg that sits on top of the IA. To ensure that all your hard work building a strong foundation for your IA doesn’t go to waste, consider these navigation best practices:
- Create descriptive, specific, and mutually exclusive navigation categories.
- Use tools beyond just the global navigation (homepage widgets, favourites, sub-navigation).
- Try to use minimal top-level categories, aiming for about seven.
- Link directly to different applications and systems, if needed.
- Include wayfinding cues such as breadcrumbs and highlighting users’ current location in the site.
- Provide a clear and consistent navigation experience across the site, using templates and design guidelines.
- Enable navigation shortcuts (e.g., personalized quick links).
- Use social filters (e.g., Most Viewed, Latest Comments, Top FAQs) to encourage exploration and provide shortcuts to key information.
- Leverage Mega Menus for digital workplaces with a lot of content.
- Enable a powerful and relevant global search.
Tips and tricks from Igloo experts
Before we wrap up, I want to leave you with some tips from Igloo experts for creating great IA for your digital workplace, based on our experience implementing more than 10,000 digital workplaces across the globe.
- Structure comes first – make it sustainable by allowing room for growth over time.
- Strike a balance with a structure that’s not too shallow and not too deep.
- Choose a task-based organization scheme to maximize employee learning and adoption.
- Consider all the different types of content (not just text, but photos, videos, slideshows, and more).
- Simplify tagging and labelling – don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
- Think fresh with content, and archive the old.
- Make important content highly visible.
- Keep design spare and clean, so users can absorb your well-organized content.
- Having departments and permissions is fine, but make the company-wide rule: “Open, accessible content”.
- Ensure clear and persistent navigation across the entire destination.
- Beyond all the research and techniques, you have to build an inspiring, engaging, intuitive destination that allows employees to quickly and easily find what they need.
Digital workplaces should enhance the employee experience, and IA is a vital part of creating a positive user experience. You can have the very best content and functionality possible, capable of boosting productivity, engagement, and innovation, but it’s wasted without good IA. Users can only use and appreciate what they can actually find, so make sure they find it by designing effective IA that meets users needs and wants.