How Product Managers Can Discover if Your Information Architecture (IA) Needs Restructuring

Are You Losing Users Because They Can’t Find What They’re Looking For?

Rohit Verma
5 min readFeb 19, 2024

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While design Apps/Websites, the structure of your information can be the thin line between a product that delights and one that frustrates. As a product manager, you’re not just a guardian of features and functionalities; you’re an architect of experiences. And at the heart of these experiences lies your Information Architecture (IA). But how do you know when this invisible backbone of your product needs a makeover?

The Role of Product Managers in IA

Product managers sit at the crossroads of technology, business, and user experience. This unique position equips you with the insight and authority to shape the IA in a way that aligns with your users’ needs and your business goals. You’re not just managing a product; you’re curating an experience.

Signs Your IA Needs Restructuring

User Feedback and Usability Issues: When your support team is inundated with questions about finding features or information, it’s a red flag. Users should navigate your product intuitively, not through a help manual.

Poor Navigation and User Flow: If your analytics show that users are taking convoluted paths to complete simple tasks, your IA might be leading them on a wild goose chase.

Outdated or Scalability Issues: Like a city outgrowing its old infrastructure, your product might need an IA revamp to accommodate new features or content seamlessly.

Inconsistent Terminology and Metadata: When your product speaks in a babel of terminologies, users get lost in translation. Consistency is key to clarity.

Low Search Efficiency: A high reliance on search with low success rates is a symptom of an IA that’s more of a maze than a map.

Steps to Evaluate Your IA

  1. User Research: Dive into the minds of your users. Surveys, interviews, and usability tests are your submarines, exploring the depths of user needs and frustrations.
  2. Analytics Review: Your product’s analytics are a treasure trove of insights. They reveal the paths users take, the ones they avoid, and where they give up.
  3. Content Audit: Take stock of your content. Is it organized logically? Does it speak the same language as your users? An audit will tell.
  4. Competitive Analysis: Look beyond your borders. What are your competitors doing right? What can you do better? This is your chance to learn and innovate.
  5. Heuristic Evaluation: Put your IA under the microscope of IA principles. Does it measure up? This evaluation is your reality check.

IA Restructuring Template for Product Managers

User Insights

  • Feedback Summary: Compile user feedback that highlights IA-related issues.
  • Identified Pain Points: List out specific areas where users struggle.
  • Usability Test Findings: Document observations and insights from usability testing.

Analytics Review

  • Navigation Patterns: Map out common user journeys and note where users deviate or drop off.
  • Drop-off Points: Identify critical points where users abandon their journey.
  • Search Query Analysis: Analyze common search terms and their success rates.

Content Audit

  • Current Structure Overview: Describe the current IA and its logic.
  • Inconsistencies/Gaps Identified: Note any discrepancies or missing elements in the IA.
  • Opportunities for Improvement: Highlight areas for simplification or enhancement.

Competitive Analysis

  • Competitor IA Strengths: Acknowledge what competitors are doing well in their IA.
  • Innovative Structures Observed: Note any unique or effective IA strategies used by competitors.
  • Potential Adaptations: Consider how these strategies could be adapted to your product.

Heuristic Evaluation

  • Compliance with IA Principles: Assess how well your IA adheres to established IA principles.
  • Logical Structure Assessment: Evaluate the logic and coherence of your IA’s structure.
  • User Flow Evaluation: Review how intuitively users can navigate through your product.

Action Plan

  • Prioritized Changes: List the changes you plan to make, in order of priority.
  • Implementation Timeline: Set a realistic timeline for these changes.
  • Testing and Validation Plan: Outline how you will test these changes with users and measure success.

Implementing Changes and Testing

With your assessment in hand and a plan on your horizon, the next step is action. Prioritize changes that will have the most significant impact on user experience. Remember, restructuring your IA is not a one-and-done deal; it’s an iterative process. Test, learn, and adapt.

Closing Thoughts!

Your Information Architecture is the foundation upon which user experiences are built. As a product manager, you have the power and responsibility to ensure this foundation is solid, intuitive, and scalable. Regularly revisiting and refining your IA is not just maintenance; it’s an investment in your product’s future and your users’ satisfaction.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve got ideas to contribute to this conversation please comment. If you like what you read and want to see more, clap me some love! Follow me here, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Do check out my latest Product Management resources 👇

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Rohit Verma

Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip @IIM Bangalore. https://topmate.io/rohit_verma_pm