Information Architecture for Technical Documentation
Just as bound books need spines, documentation does too, and that’s what Information Architecture (IA) provides to technical communication. Simply put, IA determines how information is developed, displayed, accessed, and consumed.
Watch this video for a quick synopsis of IA and how we are approaching it at Zeta.
[00:07] A bound book needs a spine. Documentation does too and that’s what Information Architecture (IA) is to technical communication. Simply put, IA determines how information is displayed and accessed.
[00:22] The taxonomy of IA is:
[00:44] The primary focus areas of IA are topic organization, structure, and discoverability of content that enable the audience to read, comprehend, retain, and use the information with ease. The key features being:
- A clear understanding of the product and its target audience
- Anticipating customer needs and creating appropriate categories accordingly to ensure:
- A logical flow of information
- Intelligent grouping for content, cross-references, graphics, and other documentation aids
- Intuitive navigation and search
- Identifying the right authoring and publishing tools for ease of content creation, modification, audit, and collaboration
[01:27] The assessment process for IA in technical communication involves: Product assessment → Content inventory assessment → Stakeholder interviews → Audience requirement analysis based on FAQs and support queries
[01:45] It is useful to create a site wireframe with the desired content flow and then refine it according to the research results. You then create a cookie-cutter master framework categorizing the various anticipated documentation sets and some standard topics you expect to cover for the majority of your documentation projects.
[02:03] Irrespective of the size of the business, whether a solo writer or a team of writers create documentation, it is bound to have variations that only multiplies over time. You may forget to update multiple occurrences of the same concept or phrase explanations on the same subject “differently” in different documents.
[2:21] IA, along with a style guides, help to keep the voice, tone, and the growing knowledge bases in check.
[02:29] Once you create a clear structure and flow in your IA, not only are you providing useful information to your audience, you are making content audit and maintenance efficient and effortless for information developers.
Video: Avinash gupta
Illustration: Sumon Mondal
Author: Monami Bhattacharya