What is information engineering and how to apply it?

Do you know what information engineering is? Have you ever wondered if the way in which you present your site’s content to users is the best way by which you can make it easier to find what they came to search for on your website?
It is possible that this term you have not heard of before or you might think it is not very important, whether to improve the employment of your services or the purchase of your products, in the case of e-commerce.
But just as I will rank you in this article, an enhanced information structure can make them quickly find an answer to their search intent or leave your website, get into a competition and finally turn there.

What is the information structure?

Information engineering is the discipline responsible for studying, analyzing, arranging, organizing and structuring content in digital spaces, as well as selecting and displaying data in interactive and non-interactive systems.
It is an aspect that has become more important every day in the network, with attention to the growing need to place the system in the way information is presented.
In short, it comes to choosing “how and why” I decided to share this information and what is the best way to present it on your website.

Another definition of “information architecture”

The above definition, like this, might seem somewhat abstract, so you might prefer to keep this definition:
Information structure is the way we organize both URLs and the rest of the website’s content, in order to enhance usability and the website’s position (search capability).
Today, some pages have a logical structure that helps the user at all times find what they are looking for. However, others lack any recognizable structure, which makes it difficult to navigate.
Not finding the product we’re looking for, getting lost in the various steps of buying an e-commerce or not finding an article I read last month on a particular blog, are examples of a poor website content structure, with the results already discussed. Earlier submitted …
Hence, ease of localization is a key factor in ensuring that the user experience (and hence the ease of use of the site) is the best.
If users can’t find what they’re looking for through a combination of browsing, searching, and interrogating, the site will fail.

How do I apply the optimal information structure to my project?

If you run a webpage or blog, then I am sure you are actually implementing or taking into account to a greater or lesser extent the information structure procedures, because aspects such as web usability, design and web architecture are closely related points.
All of this is detailed in more detail below, more specifically Noelia Regalado, in this video that corresponds to my online congressional sites:

Aspects to consider when creating the information structure in my digital project

However, the most relevant points that we should take into account when analyzing this concept are:

1) What is the type of site?

In this first step, you should think about the type of business we want to analyze: company website, blog, online store, etc.
If the structure you are going to analyze is that of your own company, it is clear that this first aspect will be quite clear, but in any case it should not be ignored when you have to do this for the customer’s website, for example.

2) Web engineering

Within this factor that we can include in the structure of information, we must distinguish several types:
Although we currently see a small number of sites with this classification, it is important that you know them, as you can still find one site.
A clear example of this could be a real estate agency page, which usually has a search engine, where you can filter the type of apartment or house you are looking for by province, then by population, then by region (very common in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona) Finally you can search for the type of house you want to find inside the gate.
It’s common to find places where available information is organized horizontally.

That is, where we have the home page or “home page”, from which the different URLs are “suspended”, all at the same structural level, where each URL consists of a guide or tutorial for a specific product.
This is very common to see on niche blogs, which mainly work for monetization through Google Adsense ads or belong to Amazon or other markets through their platform to receive sales commissions.
»You’re also interested in reading: A guide to finding a niche
In this case, we’re talking about some kind of information structure that mixes in a certain way the vertical and horizontal way to organize the content of a web project.
Let me explain: it will be based on a vertical structure, although each of the branches can branch into several; But, in turn, by categorizing these results, none of them will be related to each other.

Looking at it from an e-commerce point of view (for example shoes) monitored from the home page or “home page”, it can be suspended according to different product categories.

These run: “men”, “women”, “children”, different products will be assigned to each of these categories.
In the case of males, we can have “sneakers”; “Slippers”; Rain Boots etc.

However, between “men’s shoes” and “women’s shoes” will not be linked, and between product sheets belonging to different major categories.

To make you understand that, in these graphs of Publisuites you will definitely see more clearly:

Although it is quite possible to find the types mentioned above in different types of projects on the Internet, this is the most common one.
It is definitely the most realistic, as it is a mixed link between URLs, through which Link Link is made based on what we want to improve on the web.

Following the previous example of a shoe store, we can find the example (as opposed to the SILO classification) where in the product sheet for red high heel shoes for women, we are associated with black party shoes for men, assuming that the couple will attend an important event and both need to wear shoes.

3) Structuring your content (meta tags, H1, H2, …)

The arrangement and places where you place headings and sub-headings will also be of great importance, given that one of the utilities that H1, H2, H3 etc. have. It is precisely this, organizing the contents in a logical manner that allows the user and Google to better understand what it is about.

In addition, we must value and help ourselves conduct good keyword research or keyword analysis, and analyze key words that define our business and for which we intend to achieve a place in our specialized or specialized sector.

4) User experience (UX)

As I mentioned before, user experience will be one of the main pillars to keep in mind when improving the information structure.
This is one of the reasons why we optimally organize our content: to give our visitors the best possible experience.

5) Indexable URLs

In this section, we can analyze the URLs of our digital project that will be indexed so that the search engine can find it and which it cannot.
Create user-friendly content, but at the same time directed to your goals!
However, it is not enough to focus the design on the user. We have to find the perfect balance between users and web goals.

On the one hand, we want the user to feel comfortable and find what they’re looking for.
On the other hand, we should make the user find, buy, or read what the site manager is interested in (star product, landing page, or article for us to be able to convert).

In other words, we should focus our efforts on achieving a site that complies with the principles of ease of use for the user, but this in turn meets the goals set by the company for itself.

Why is the information structure so important to your website?

It is possible that at this point, although you know what it is, you are wondering how you can tell if you are implementing it well.
These are questions I will try to explain to you in a simple way throughout this article, and it is an update of the original guest post that David Arizana wrote a few years ago for my blog.

But before we talk more deeply about the structure of information, it is worth comparing it with the one we all know.
Traditional architecture seeks to create an aesthetically beautiful building or home and works perfectly for its intended purpose.
The design of the office is not different from the design of a fire station.
Each has its own characteristics and well differentiated uses. What you apply to one of the two buildings does not need to serve the other.
The information structure assumes the same thing but with the information that we want to show the user. It can be applied to any group:

Web page

Blog

Electronic trade

Company intranet data

What exactly does an information engineer do?

You might have already imagined it.
The information engineer is the person responsible for taking the various pieces that make up the website and configuring it to work as precisely as the Swiss watch.

You must have contact with all departments that work one way or another (directly or indirectly) in the project.
You also have to think like a user in order to meet all your needs.

But it is also necessary to know how to manage the contents of the website so that the user can find everything he needs easily.
A good information engineer cannot avoid having knowledge of various disciplines such as:

Journalism

graphic design

Digital Marketing

Project management

What are the costs or risks of not applying a correct information structure?

To accomplish the arduous task of “architects”, we have to control the number of clicks a user needs to achieve his goal, also called “depth of click.”
It is said that the limit should be three, because more than this amount means a commitment to a content management review to facilitate access.
Each additional click means an increase in the user’s chances of leaving our site, frustrating not having to find what they were looking for, if, for example, 4 or more clicks in depth.
To realize the importance of a good architecture, we need to know the costs that you will not have to organize our content well:

1. The cost of not finding information

If the user does not find the specific content on your website or the product that they are looking for in your online store, this means stopping the sale of the product they are looking for.

2. The cost of finding it

“But what do you say to me? If the customer finds the information!”
This is, of course, what you would answer me, if I finally found the information, despite the many deep clicks but (by chance or visitor persistence).
Yes, but what if it takes longer than two times to find her?
Imagine an internal network of a company in which workers constantly access a database so that they can respond to their customers’ inquiries.
If we do not have these well-structured contents, the one-minute query may turn into two, and at the end of the day, this factor may have been able to answer just 5 inquiries.
If the contents were well-organized, this factor might have solved itself maybe 8 or 10. Now do you understand what I mean?

3. Construction cost

With the help of artificial intelligence, we were able to pre-organize the contents.
In this way, we do not work blindly with potential errors or collect information in an irrational manner, which may necessitate costs such as those referred to in the previous point … along with an increase in the costs of reorganizing the information.

4. Maintenance costs

Well-organized information allows us to know where to find every part of it at all times so that we can update or delete it in a short time when the time comes.

5. Training the workers

Let’s say we hired a new factor to help us manage our ecommerce.
If we had everything on Boolean sites and our entire site was well organized, the time taken to train this new factor would be less than if we needed twice the time to explain the location of each product.

6. Costs of brand value

The poor user experience on our site is one of the worst damages to our brand.
The user who leaves our site because he has not found what he is looking for will be a user who can say how bad the web is, so that our brand image can be upset.
Now that you know the risks involved in not raising this problem in a digital project:
What do you think of these costs? Have you ever stopped thinking about how important it is to organize all information well?

Information Engineering stages

We can say in broad blows that these tasks for organizing content on the web for our business consist of two stages:

► Collect information

In the first stage, we need to organize all possible data that the company and the public can provide us.
We have to gather as much information as possible, define the main goals we want to have and study the public.

► Show this information to the user

In the second stage, we should know how to present these contents to a specific audience.
For this, we need an accurate inventory of the contents to be displayed in order to structure all the information. We must apply a classification system so that we can aggregate every part of it.
Once all the information is collected, we will move to the navigation stage.
We have to determine the navigation system that helps to move from one section to another: menus, buttons, scroll bars or links are tools that artificial intelligence must be able to define this navigation system.
Finally, we should know how to show this information before starting to implement it. For this, we have graphic design tools that allow us to create mockups or wire frames, and content trees so that we can display them more easily.

How to check if the information structure on our site is optimal?

At this point, you will surely ask yourself, How can I tell if my website is well organized or needs changes?
If you don’t know, you are sure to be using tools that give you many inputs on how your site works:
Or, for example, Google Analytics. Thanks to it you can also analyze a lot of data about user behavior on your site.
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Although you can check several values, I recommend the following to your not very complicated:

Bounce Rate: The bounce rate tells us that a user accessed our website, viewed a page, and left it without interacting or moving to another page. This can happen for the following reasons: Either he disliked your content, or once he entered and admired what he had read, he did not know how to find relevant topics, or he did not know where to go on your website.

Pageviews: This other value indicates the average number of pages a user views within our site.

Time to Stay: Here you check the time users spend on your site.

If you combine these three values ​​together, you will be able to know the behavior of the readers.
For example, the user who enters and in less than 10 seconds is not the same one who spends more than a minute reading the content that you have viewed and left without moving to another page on your website. Both count toward the bounce rate, but you see that a user interests you and nobody cares about you.
Another way to see it is through the page tree that displays the user’s journey, i.e. in the behavior / behavior flow. This way you can see which path users are traveling, the page they came from or the page they are leaving.

Conclusions

As you can see, the information structure is a very useful resource when it comes to designing and structuring any kind of digital content, as we reviewed in this article. Do not leave this factor for luck. Study what you want to show, how you want to show it, and to whom.
Your website does not only depend on choosing the best hosting, a domain name that grabs attention and transmits it over social networks.
You must structure the information and know who you want to direct to show it in the best possible way.
Now let me know in the comments:
Main photos by Freepik.

What do you take to implement the right information structure?

Do you know before reading this article what this term means?

Waiting for you here below in the comments to discuss all this.

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