Have you ever seen a website and want to reorganize it? If yes, then working as an information architect can be your right job!
However, you must prepare your skills, knowledge, and experience for this job. I will show you the detailed steps on how to become an information architect right here. So join me now to discover!
Information architecture is about arranging and labeling content effectively. It helps users get the necessary information to do their tasks.
An information architect arranges the information on an app or website. To do that, they create hierarchies and sitemaps. Then, users can navigate easily to find the information they need.
There are different types of information architects. For example:
- UX architects: These experts handle the UX and visual design of the product. They often work with visual designers or user researchers.
- Visual architects: Visual architects also deal with the product’s visual design. Yet, they have to work on the site structures.
- Information architects: Information architects work with site structure, labeling, navigation, content flow, and search tools.
It would be best to start with a bachelor’s degree. And as you work, you may want to obtain a master’s degree to level up.
You can also become an information architect without a degree. But you really have to work hard. Also, connect with architects and designers in the field to have more job opportunities. They will also help you execute projects.
An information architect has to do many tasks in a day. Their duty list may vary depending on the company they work for. Below are their common tasks:
First, they conduct user research. There are many ways to do it. For example, they can conduct interviews, usability tests, or card sorting. Then, based on the results, they know what their target audience needs.
Sometimes, they join the sorting activities and interviews directly. This way, they can figure out how users may group different ideas.
The information architect decides how information looks and how users find it on an app or website. So, they create a site map.
The site map illustrates the structure of a website. The architect can only sketch it after learning the requirements of the company and target users. Ultimately, their final product can meet their needs.
Wireframes show how different elements of a website can connect and work. To perform this task, the information architect draws important screens first. Then, they determine how users can see the information.
This task means giving names to links and pages on a website. It ensures each hierarchy and navigation has an accurate title. Thanks to the labels, users can find the exact information they need.
In some companies, content strategists are in charge of this task. However, the information architect joins it, too, because they have the input.
Taxonomies help the information architect remember how they group content. They often choose one or more taxonomies for a website and add labels to the content. After that, users can find information using those chosen groups.
Web developers create the web. However, they must ensure the information represents business logic and user demands. The content should also be organized properly.
In this case, the web developers collaborate with the information architect. These experts collaborate to form a complete website.
There are many tasks to cover, right? But if it’s your passion, don’t hesitate to follow the steps below. Remember to put your effort in every step.
You should have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. This program takes four years. But if you’ve got an associate degree, the bachelor’s degree will be shorter.
You can also earn specific certifications. They allow you to focus on a particular part of the major. They can also make you stand out from other candidates.
There are different ways to achieve academic qualifications for the information architect job. But whatever you choose, focus on these aspects:
- Information science: This subject teaches you how to manage and store data correctly. When studying it, you will also learn database design and security.
- Interaction design: If you want to focus on interaction designs, go for this option. It includes software engineering, user research, and visual design. All of them are helpful for your future job as an information architect.
- Information systems: If you choose this field, you can learn how technology provides customer services. There are many things to work on then. For example, you will know how to code and manage IT systems. Software engineering is also part of the course.
- Information architecture: This concept is straight to the point. It teaches you visual design, user research, and information architecture.
- Human-computer connection: This subject focuses on the same things as the information architecture. Yet, it’s more about the interaction between humans and computers.
You must develop technical and soft skills to become a good information architect.
- Programming: Start with CSS and HTML, which are essential for web design. Then, you can learn Java and Python to create wireframes and sitemaps.
- Data modeling: You will work with lots of data. So, familiarize yourself with data concepts, such as data structures or metamodels. They all assist you in modeling data.
- Data architecture: An information architect must document data architecture. They also have to ensure that the data complies with governance standards.
- Database architecture: SQL and DBMS will be your assistants at work. Thus, learn how to use them soon.
- Problem-solving: You need to solve problems when they arise. Plus, your solutions must align with your company’s objectives.
- Communication: You will collaborate with other experts to develop a website. So, try to develop your communication skills. Both written and spoken communications are essential.
- Organization: Organizing data and workflow is tricky. But, with good organizational skills, you can handle them with ease.
- Project management: This skill refers to executing a project correctly. It means you have to do your tasks properly. Also, help other members to ensure your team finishes it within a specified timeframe.
You need tools to perform your tasks efficiently. I have used many tools, and I like these options best.
If you use a Mac to work, then go for this tool. It helps you make plans for how things should look on the website.
Another benefit of using OmniGraffle is that it can work well with other software. For example, when paired with Jira, it will speed up your project management. Besides, you can use it with Visio to create visuals effortlessly.
Lucidchart is beneficial when you have to work with UX designers often. This diagram software creates flow charts and diagrams in just a few minutes.
This tool has many features. Yet, you can learn how to use it quickly. It will help with brainstorming, too.
If you are looking for a testing tool after designing information architecture, get Treejack. It offers many test types, making the learning curve quite hard. However, once you’ve got it, you might wish to know this software sooner.
This tool is about site maps. The drag-and-drop editor helps non-UX designers create a practical design quickly.
DYNO Mapper aids you in content creation, too. When accessing the platform, you can see some keyword analysis tools. So, use them to search for keywords and track your website content’s performance.
Before searching for an information architect job, gain hands-on experience. You can consider these three options:
This path is the most common choice. It allows you to experience real-world situations. Plus, during the internship, you will know what an information architect does every day.
You can also build relationships with experts in the industry. They will show you interesting things about your job. Sometimes, they offer you job opportunities.
However, internships have a limited timeframe. Some are even unpaid. So if you choose this approach, be really active at work. Then, you can earn practical experience, which is more valuable than the salary.
Volunteer work also allows you to put your knowledge into practice. You can then showcase the projects you’ve worked on to potential employers.
Unfortunately, volunteer work is unpaid. Besides, projects may vary in scope and complexity. It means you can’t cover all aspects of information architecture.
If you want to earn more money, then work as a freelancer. This way, you can choose projects that align with your interests. They will also offer practical exposure to client expectations.
Yet, finding clients is not easy, especially if you have just started. The competitive freelancing market is another disadvantage.
You also need supportive connections. During your internship and projects, you may get to know many professionals in the information architecture field. And trust me, they will help you a lot in the future.
For example, they show you cutting-edge tools to assist with your job. You can also gain hands-on experience when working with them.
Aside from the internship, online communities can help you expand your network. LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to interact with like-minded people.
Attend conferences and meetups, too. These events allow you to meet information architecture professionals in person.
Finally, prepare an appealing resume and send it to the employers. It showcases your experience and skills. If the employers like them, you will receive a call from them.
But don’t stuff your resume with all your skills. The employers need some highlighted points to focus on. So, read the job description carefully. Then, only mention the skills required for that position.
If you have a portfolio, include its link on the resume. The employers want to see your work in action.
This job is in high demand because companies want to engage with their clients using digital content. Hence, they don’t mind paying the information experts a high salary.
As of 2023, information architects can earn about $120,912 per year. You can get higher pay if you prove that you deserve it.
Information architecture is on the rise, so many companies need information architects. You can find job openings in these ways:
- LinkedIn: This platform has many job search features. There are also a lot of professionals active there.
- Social media: Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be good places for job hunts. You can search for hashtags like #tech or #hiring. Then, those platforms will display job announcements from different companies.
- Networking: Referrals can be powerful in finding jobs. Remember that I told you how important networking is? One of the most significant benefits of your broad network is to find a good job.
Yes. The demand for information architects is growing. Hence, you will have many job opportunities. The best thing is that most of them offer good pay.
Moreover, as an information architect, you play a vital role in developing digital products. You also decide how users can interact with them. Thus, the influence on the user experience will give you a satisfying feeling.
The steps above will guide you to becoming an information architect. However, the key to success is your passion and dedication. So work diligently and enjoy the rewards!
If you need any further information when following this guide, don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you for reading my guides!