A Study in Information Architecture

The Quick Take

I love Couchsurfing, but their current Information Architecture is somewhat redundant and cluttered.  After examining the structure closely, I propose a redesign that eliminates the overlap, reduces the clutter, and takes into account the differing needs of hosts and travelers.

The Project

I am an avid Couchsurfer. I hosted travelers in college and my travels in Southeast Asia were shaped by the countless amazing people I met through the platform. To learn more about Information Architecture, I decided to explore the current IA of their site and see where improvements could be made.

Content Audit + Card Sort

First, I wrote down every clickable link within the primary and secondary navigation of the site on an index card.

Then, I recruited fellow designer, Ivana Ristic to perform a card sort.

From this exercise, I came to a number of conclusions about the current state of the Information Architecture on the site.


1. There is way too much overlap in ways to get from one place to another.

2. When logged in under a certain status i.e. host or traveler, the site still gives everyone the same information, even though very different things are likely important to these different types of users.   

3. There is a lot of clutter, and the information will be much easier to access and use if it is pared down, especially for mobile.

4. Messages are not given a primary focus, even though that is the sites main use case after a connection is made.



1. Tailor information to people based on the type of user they are. Travelers main call to action will be to Find a Host and vica versa.

2. Messages will be given a much more primary focus.

3. Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity. The site will need to be consolidated and pared down in a major way for people to be able to understand it on the go.

Wireframe Prototypes


Status: Logged in as Traveler

Status: Logged in as Host