Klariti Small Business Tips and Tools

About Us Free Tools Tips Templates Affiliates Site Map

MS Word template

Difference between Usability and Information Architecture

Though the terms Usability and Information Architecture are often understood to be the same thing, this is not true.

Usability tends to study a person's ability to do (i.e. use) something, such as reading text on a webpage. Usability is not restricted to the web and is used across many industry sectors.

For example, car designers perform usability tests to examine how a driver understands new design modifications.


Information Architecture focuses on how to design information. On the web, this involves reading text, labelling items, creating navigation systems, searching for data, using content and so forth.

Web Usability Tests

Usability engineers test websites to see how they suit the user's needs. To do this, they may test the following:

  • Ability to read text.
  • Ability to use site navigation.
  • Effect of color and site palette.
  • Ability to use Feedback and Help sections.
  • Length of time to find an article.
  • Locating key contact information.
  • Navigation cues and icons/graphics to see if they assist or hinder the user*.
  • Reaction to innovative design elements, such as floating windows.
  • Reaction when lost.

* Users rarely interpret icons as Graphic Designers would expect.

Focus Groups

Focus Group tests are often carried out in one-on-one sessions. Sometimes testing is performed on several test subjects at the same time. However, you need to monitor these sessions as the most active people will influence the more passive participants.

During a test, the moderator asks users to perform certain tasks, gauges their ability to carry out them, and note where/why they encountered any difficulties.

They ask open-ended questions on what was useful, intuitive, difficult, and how to improve things.

Large scale focus groups consist of 10 or more individuals. The Usability Engineer may show prototypes in order to isolate specific issues in navigation, process, and usability.

Rules for Usability Testing

When performing usability testing, try to avoid Yes/No questions when interviewing your subjects. These responses will provide little depth and avoid them discussing their experience.

Use open-ended questions, such as, "Why do you like this site?" as this is more productive that the more blunt: ¡°Do you like this site?

Use chart and diagrams to share feedback with the Graphic Designers many of whom will be overly enamoured with their own creations.

Objective data may encourage them to improve their design without crushing their feelings. Management also tend to favour charts which show the results and enables them to digest the key points quickly.

software testing templates

standard operating procedure templates

white paper templates

T e m p l a t e   S h o p

Action Plan Template

Audience Analysis Template

Availability Plan Template

Bill of Materials Template

Business Case Template

Business Continuity Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Business Process Design Template

Business Requirements Specification Template

Business Rules Template

Capacity Plan Template

Case Study Templates

Change Management Plan Template

Communication Plan Template

Concept of Operations Template

Configuration Management Plan Template

Conversion Plan Template

Datasheet Template

Deployment Plan Template

Disaster Recovery Template

Disposition Plan Template

Documentation Plan Template

Employee Handbook Template

Expression of Interest Template


Grant Proposal Template

Implementation Plan Template

Invitation To Tender Template

Market Research Templates

Marketing Plan Template

Operations Guide Template

Policy Manual Template

Project Plan Template

Proposal Manager Templates

Proposal Template

Release Notes Template

Request For Proposal Template

Risk Management Plan Template

Scope of Work Template

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Template

Small Business Video

Social Media Policy Templates

Software Development Lifecycle Templates

Software Testing Templates

Standard Operating Procedures Template

Statement of Work Template

System Administration Guide Template

Technical Writing Templates

technical writing templates

Test Plan Template

Training Plan Templates

Training Plan Templates

Troubleshooting Guide Template

Use Case Template

User Guide Template

White Papers

Work Instruction Templates

How to Write

Action Plans

Business Writing

Business Proposals

Case Studies

Process Design

Project Management

Standard Operating Procedures Course

White Papers

Write for the Web

Grant Writing

Software Development Templates


Email Me Here

Endorsements | About Us | Contact Us | Site Map | Privacy | License | T&Cs | FAQs