The next step in our website redevelopment process was the Information Architecture (IA)
phase. Through the Discovery and Research phases, the Fastspot team got to know Siena: who we are, what we need and how our users currently use our website. They used all of this information to create our unique IA.
What is IA? This is the organizational and navigational structure of the website. This includes organization, navigation, naming conventions and content recommendations. This phase was presented to the Website Redesign Core Team, as well as the Website Committee.
Siena’s new IA is primarily focused on user-friendly navigation. We want our website users to find what they want quickly and effectively, while also being able to get a glimpse of what it means to be a Saint. As you’ll remember from the Discovery process (Creative Brief), we identified our primary audience (user) as prospective students and their influencers. Current students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends, local community members, sports fans and other stakeholders were identified as secondary or tertiary audiences.
The goal of the IA was to efficiently and powerfully represent all aspects of the Siena experience to the user: academics, the application process, financial aid, housing, dining, programs, high-impact learning practices, Siena’s value and return on investment, offices and departments.
This may seem like a daunting task (and at times it was!), but Fastspot worked with our core team to develop innovative solutions that will help streamline our navigation and enhance user experience. The development of dynamic search functions ensures easy, intuitive access to every major, minor, program, office, and department from the homepage without cluttering the navigation or distracting from the information our primary audience wants and expects.
It’s important to note that the IA structure of the new website is much different than the current experience on Siena.edu. By making sure we remain audience-focused we will be able to build a more dynamic, user-friendly experience that drives demand for the College.
With the Information Architecture phase complete, we move on to the design phase. First, we will explore layout and storyboard concepts, and then we will move on to the graphic look and feel of the new website.