Analyzing the Information Architecture of Relevate Designs

Relevate Designs website.
Relevate Designs website.

The success of a website in relation to digital writing comes from a clear and effective organization of its information. For this assignment, I chose to analyze Relevate Designs. This company is one of leading innovators in bike packing gear.

The analysis will focus on the following components:

  1. Main Menu Structure
  2. Submenus and Dropdowns
  3. Search Functionality
  4. Labeling and Terminology
  5. Content Hierarchy
  6. Navigation Pathways

My Findings

Brief Overview of the Website's Design

The website has a minimalist feel. It has a white background with black or white writing (depending on the background) and there are only a few high-quality photos on the homepage.

The website’s layout has a prominent logo in the left corner, and the menu is just to the right of it and at the top of the page. As you scroll down, there is a slideshow of different bikepacking adventures which is followed by three (3) quick links to various products.

At the bottom of the page are various other links within the site, but this information is secondary due the font size and case. This is also due to content prioritization meaning the least important information is not prominently displayed.

The overall layout is easily scannable by its users. The website utilizes the inverted pyramid scheme by listing the most important information at the top as well as its left-to-right organization of the menu items.

The order of the menu items seems logical. The most important information is listed first and the least important being listed last. The order is as follows:

  • Our Products – Listing this first, it immediately allows customers to find the products being offered.
  • Dealers – In listing this second, customers are now presented with options on purchasing their gear. This aspect helps build trust in their brand by showing the importance of supporting a user’s local business.
  • Blog – This menu item helps to promote their products by showcasing their use in the real world by actual users.
  • Dial Your Ride - This menu item is directly connected to their products. Because of this, I feel it is the only one out of order and should either be closer to that menu item or as a submenu item in Our Products. However, it does have links to individual products presented in each image.
  • Ambassadors - This page is Relevate’s way of promoting their products through some of the most decorated riders in bikepacking adventures.
  • Our Roots – This page describes Relevate Designs history and personal milestones.

There do seem to be some items out of sequence despite the main menu having a logical structure. In Dr. Lucas’s Information Architecture article, he lists Information Taxonomy as one of the key components in a website’s architecture. Because the “Dial Your Ride” item is not closer to “Our Products” item, it has caused it to feel out of place. I would solve this issue by reordering the items as such:

  1. Our Products
  2. Dial Your Ride
  3. Dealers
  4. Blog
  5. Ambassadors
  6. Our Roots

Relevate Designs uses minimal submenus and dropdowns. Each use seems purposeful and clearly identifies the information of the category. This minimal approach allows users the ability to navigate the website effectively while eliminating the need for a search bar.

Search Functionality

See the analysis of Submenus and Dropdowns.

Labeling and Terminology

Throughout the website the labeling and terminology are clear. Each gear type includes a picture and where on the bike it goes as well as the blog having clear headings for its articles.

Content Hierarchy

In relation to Dr. Lucas’s definition of Content Structuring, Relevate Designs has a user-friendly flow to the information being presented. They also utilize what Chris Barr, author of The Yahoo! Style Guide, describes as “eye-tracking.” The most important information is in the upper-left corner and the less important information follows as the eye scans outward.

See the analysis of Main Menu Structure.

Conclusion

Relevate Designs has a quality website in relation to information architecture. There is a logical approach to the structure of the presented information. One clear reason for this is the utilization of the Information Foraging Theory in its design process.

The Nielson Norman Group would describe this as an “attempt to maximize the rate of gain and get as much relevant information in as little time as possible.” One example is users can go directly to the products either by clicking the menu item or specifically selecting an item from the dropdown. Another example is by having less important information displayed on the right and bottom of page and in some cases, using a different font size and case.

In relation to my own website, I looked at the Five Principals of Design Jon Balzotti discusses in Technical Communication: A Design-Centric Approach. I evened up the layout of each page specifically focusing on balance in photos, alignment and size of text, and proximity of each element on the page. Overall, the changes help with the structure and navigation of the website.

Nate Cole

Nate Cole

I work for an airline as the Publications and Records Manager. When I'm not working, I can be found either hanging out with my family or on a bike tooling around...preferably both!
Fairbanks, Alaska