We know that Information Architecture can carry many slightly different meanings depending on the context it’s used in. As far as SharePoint Management is concerned, it refers to the content layout in your intranet or website. No matter the nature of the content you’re looking to display, a well thought SharePoint Information Architecture can make all the difference between a broadly used portal and one collecting dust.
Here are 6 tips to help you create your architecture in a nifty infographic. The full length article on SharePoint information architecture will give you an even better idea of what to consider.
1. It has to be “logical”
The first step is to build a structure that your users will find logical. It needs to be done in a way that is recognizable and that people will understand easily. For example, have you ever noticed that every supermarket is designed according to the same layout? This way, no matter which supermarket you’re in, you’ll always know where to find what you’re looking for.
2. Make it “Extensible”
No one knows all the content that will be included in your future structure on day one. You have to build it in a way that it can grow as your needs evolve. You should be able to incorporate any type of content at any given time in your IA.
3. Use your common sense
Yes, we know, building appropriate content is a must (sites, subsites, libraries, metadata, etc.), but be careful. Asking your users for too much metadata or having them navigate through hundreds of subsites will only make them angry.
4. Limit the quantity of options you present to your users
It’s a fact: no one likes to fill metadata fields or select tens of hundreds of content types. Make it simple! Data shows that limiting choices between four and seven at a time is the best way to reduce frustration and risks of error.
5. Search! Don’t forget it
Want a successful solution? Well, SharePoint’s Search feature is definitely a core aspect of it. Remember to incorporate things like default metadata values for documents.
6. Limit the use of folders
I can give you many reasons why this is a must. The main one is that a folder will hide the content away in a nested structure. Instead, you should use metadata, libraries, views and web parts to filter and display them.