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I’ve found a few interesting articles about user flows and information architecture.  The premise is that it is a mistake to design pages as isolated units, and instead to identify the goals of both the business and user, and design a path for these goals to be met.

When these have been identified, you should have the foundation of an Information Architecture document.  As said here:

[Explaining IA] should be easy once you discover a project’s purpose. Is it to increase awareness of a product or service? Is it to make the purchase path easier? IA incorporates these requirements and marketing goals and outlines traffic patterns so that the website can become a successful extension of a product or service.

I often tell clients that IA establishes the baseline, or foundation, for a solid site structure. It helps create the traffic patterns and navigational routes that get the customer from A to B in language that is helpful and easy to understand. In fact, IA is the first step in meeting customer goals and can therefore increase brand awareness and product or service sales.

For this to be done, a good understanding of the users is essential.  As a first step, persona creation is a really handy tool to identify these people and what they’re trying to do.  As Smashing Magazine says:

Identifying each user and business objective is the first step to creating design flows that meet all of them.

When a website is viewed as part of a channel strategy, with the user and business goals incorporated into flows instead of pages, a more comprehensive site can be built, one that draws a user in, and works for them intuitively.

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