Constructing a website could easily be compared to building a house - bricks are only laid after the plans have been drawn up. We approach websites in the same way. Information architecture, the website equivalent to blueprints, is devised prior to starting design.
Well-executed information architecture dramatically saves time in the design and build phases of a project, and the extra effort invested in perfecting them increases the life and effectiveness of the resulting website.
To make it easy for clients to give feedback we use rapid prototyping tools that produce fully functioning sketches of the proposed website. This enables us to test the concepts used and ensure the site is as usable, obvious, engaging and motivational as it can be.