Designing Information Architecture on E-Commerce


Hey everyone,

I’m currently doing a website redesign for a hardware store. The site has thousands of products and making meaningful groupings has proved difficult.

I’m curious what processes are used to define product categories on e-commerce websites? My approach right now is to do a small sample size affinity diagram (100 or so products) and start developing themes.

Any advice, or alternate techniques are much appreciated.

By the way, this is a student project:) Thank you and have a great rest of the weekend!


@rachelreveley can likely help you out on this one.


One way of testing/doing this could be using Card Sorting? But only on a subset of the items (not all of them as that would be too time consuming for someone to work through!).
Potentially picking some that you find more difficult to find groupings for? and some that you have an idea for.

So that way, you get users to group things and name them what they would :slight_smile: and it gives you something to work off and iterate with. Later to truely test your IA, you can then use tools like Treejack to make sure that people can find the items in their new structure.


I have thankfully avoided IA so far but would also suggest a card sorting excersise. Have you had a look at their competitors for a start?

I guess I would start with top level nav with perhaps 5 or 6 really generic categories such as decorating, furnishing, outdoor, DIY etc and sort in to those first and then for each category I would do the same thing again to create a sub level.

If you have some users to test with and a few really difficult products then perhaps you could show the user the product and then ask them how they would find it.


Thank you, Im going to give card sorting a try. I’ll try and keep an eye on the more unique items and make sure they are accounted for. Thanks UX community!


Actually @Louise would also be a good person to tag in here.