I'm currently working on a new IA for a webshop. I've drawn out two examples.
OPT 1 (option 1) (more a flat(ter) hierarchy)
This 'could' be our new IA (it's restructured). More choice (of categories) at the beginning and it takes a maximum of 3 clicks in order to get to the PDP.
OPT 2 (option 2) (more a deep hierarchy)
Our 'old' version of the IA. Over-all less choice, but it takes on average one more click in order to get to the PDP.
Main difference between them: OPT 2 has an additional three (generic) main categories at the beginning, that were deleted in OPT 1.
QUESTION: What would be the better solution here: have less clicks but more (specific) choice, or more clicks and less (generic) choices?
Personally I think, OPT 2 starts with three too generic category names that are confusing for clients and they don't exactly know what to expect. But I'm not sure if starting with 8 specific categories, would be too much for users and impact their cognitive load because it's too overwhelming.
Sadly we can't test prototypes with end users at this moment.
Looking forward to your input.
P.S. the arrows stand for navigation possibilities to direct jump to (for example) PLP from the start.
It`s hard to come with an answer with the lack of details but here are the factors to consider.
What are the 8 categories in OPT 1 and what are the 3 categories in OPT 2 and how did you decide upon ?
For example in an ecommerce when deciding on categories we could put a broad category Electronics that includes PC and TV
or we could create two categories from the beginning PC and TV.
Clearly option two of my example is the go to because why would I determine my user that is looking for PC to first select Electronics and then select PC.
That is what you would need to determine. As I do not understand what your categories serve I cannot make a choice for OPT 1 or OPT 2.
The best way to solve this dilemma is to understand the users and as you said that you cannot do the user testing you can use the Free account on Optimal Workshop to do a small IA testing. https://www.optimalworkshop.com/treejack