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User-­‐Focused Classification for Job Boards
 

User-­‐Focused Classification for Job Boards

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How your job board is organized is an integral part of your customer’s experience, so it’s important to get it right. Job boards are all about finding information and if you organize that ...

How your job board is organized is an integral part of your customer’s experience, so it’s important to get it right. Job boards are all about finding information and if you organize that information well then your users will be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

We thought it might be useful to provide a bit of background information about the best way to organize categories on your new job board. Each of our customers has a different set of categories, or a different way of classifying their jobs but the same principles of organisation can be applied to make sure a classification system works well for the business and the user.

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    User-­‐Focused Classification for Job Boards User-­‐Focused Classification for Job Boards Document Transcript

    •                      User-­‐focused  classification    for  job  boards    Created/Updated:  15/07/2011  Written  by  Tracy  Godding  Lead  User  Experience  Consultant  at  Madgex      
    •  Contents  User-­‐focused  classification  for  job  boards......................................................................................... 3   What  happens  if  we  have  too  much  choice?................................................................................. 3   Is  there  a  magic  number? .............................................................................................................. 4   Clear  and  logical  grouping ............................................................................................................. 4   Making  sense  to  your  users ........................................................................................................... 6   Keep  it  simple ................................................................................................................................ 6   How  we  can  help ........................................................................................................................... 6      2    |    document  title  and  version    
    •  User-­‐focused  classification  for  job  boards  How  your  job  board  is  organised  is  an  integral  part  of  your  customer’s  experience,  so  it’s  important  to  get  it  right.  Job  boards  are  all  about  finding  information  and  if  you  organise  that  information  well  then  your  users  will  be  able  to  find  what  they’re  looking  for  quickly  and  easily.    We  thought  it  might  be  useful  to  provide  a  bit  of  background  information  about  the  best  way  to  organise  categories  on  your  new  job  board.  Each  of  our  customers  has  a  different  set  of  categories,  or  a  different  way  of  classifying  their  jobs  but  the  same  principles  of  organisation  can  be  applied  to  make  sure  a  classification  system  works  well  for  the  business  and  the  user.  A  faceted  classification  system  allows  you  to  give  an  object  (like  a  job  or  a  book)  multiple  classifications  and  then  people  can  find  things  in  ways  that  suit  them.  For  example,  a  collection  of  books  might  be  classified  using  an  author  facet,  a  subject  facet,  a  date  facet,  etc.    Most  job  boards  divide  their  jobs  into  similar  categories  or  facets,  for  example  industry,  location,  salary  and  hours.  One  person  might  want  to  look  for  a  job  by  location,  another  by  industry,  the  next  by  contract  type.    This  document  gives  advice  on  how  to  clearly  group,  order  and  balance  categories  and  guidance  on  the  optimum  numbers  to  use  to  ensure  good  usability.  Not  all  users  like  to  use  keyword  search  and  sometimes  if  a  jobseeker  isn’t  totally  clear  what  they’re  looking  for  then  browsing  is  the  best  option.  Faceted  navigation  needs  to  provide  a  solid  information  trail  or  ‘information  scent’  that  will  guide  users  quickly  to  their  destination.    What  happens  if  we  have  too  much  choice?  People  have  difficulty  processing  large  amounts  of  information  and  this  can  lead  to  ‘choice-­‐blindness’.  If  we  are  presented  with  too  many  options  we  can  feel  overwhelmed  and  unable  to  make  a  decision  or  at  least  unable  to  make  it  quickly  and  efficiently.  This  is  what  psychologists  call  cognitive  overload.  Too  many  choices  can  lead  to  decision-­‐making  paralysis  for  your  users.  (Hall  and  Johansson  -­‐  Psychologists)  If  offered  too  many  options  the  brain  can  be  overwhelmed  by  decision.  When  we  feel  our  options  are  manageable  we  are  able  to  make  better  decisions.  With  vast  amounts  of  information  it  is  best  to  group  information  into  manageable  chunks.  Then  we  can  make  quicker  and  easier  sequential  decisions.    Hick’s  Law,  named  after  British  Psychologist  William  Hick,  states  that  the  time  it  takes  to  make  a  decision  increases  with  the  number  and  complexity  of  choices.  As  the  decision  time  increases,  the  user  experience  suffers.  This  law  is  sometimes  cited  to  justify  menu  design  decisions.  People  are  more  likely  to  make  a  purchase  when  offered  a  limited  number  of  choices.  What’s  more,  they  are  actually  more  likely  to  be  satisfied  with  their  selection  when  the  choice  is  less.  The  more  options,  the  more  we  might  feel  that  we  missed  something.    Resist  the  impulse  to  provide  lots  and  lots  of  choices  to  your  customers.  You  will  think  that  lots  of  choices  is  a  good  thing  (because  you  like  them  too),  but  too  many  choices  means  they  won’t  buy  at  all.    (Susan  Weinschenk  -­‐  Neuropsychologist)  3    |    document  title  and  version    
    •                                      When  you  place  a  lot  of  options  in  front  of  a  user  it  is  more  than  likely  that  they  will  reach  a  point  where  satisfaction  drops.  The  goal  is  perhaps  to  find  the  sweet  spot  on  the  satisfaction  curve  so  that  we  provide  an  optimum  number  for  the  experience  to  be  good.    Is  there  a  magic  number?  Good  sense  would  suggest  that  the  optimum  number  should  be  as  much  as  you  need  and  no  more.    Finding  this  ‘optimum  number’  can  sometimes  be  difficult  and  may  require  thought  and  research.  Sites  such  as  Amazon  or  Marks  &  Spencer  tend  to  have  up  to  50  or  60  options  within  facets,  which  is  often  a  necessary  number  when  you  have  a  lot  of  products.  Similarly,  if  we  view  jobs  as  products,  a  job  board  has  a  multitude  of  goods  on  offer  and  is  likely  to  need  a  lot  of  categories.  Best  practice  would  be  to  keep  the  number  of  top-­‐level  categories  at  a  manageable  number.  So,  although  there  is  no  magic  number,  smaller  is  always  better  and  no  more  than  50  or  60  options  should  be  considered.  The  control  and  structure  of  groupings  is  paramount  in  the  management  of  broad  categories  to  ensure  browsing  is  painless.      Clear  and  logical  grouping  Navigation,  like  a  street  sign  or  a  map,  is  there  to  guide  users  to  their  destination  and  therefore  it  needs  to  be  logical  and  easy  to  grasp.  Users  should  be  able  to  work  out  the  distinction  between  categories  and  items  without  having  to  think  too  much  about  it.  Ideally  they  should  be  able  to  create  their  own  internal  picture  or  ‘mind  map’  of  the  architecture  of  the  website.    Clear  grouping  of  options  within  your  categories  is  important.  The  American  usability  guru  Jakob  Nielsen  lists  the  main  guidelines  for  creating  option  heavy  menus  or  facets:     • Chunk  options  into  related  sets.   • Keep  a  medium  level  of  granularity.  Dont  offer  huge  groups  with  numerous  options   that  require  extensive  time  to  scan.  Conversely,  dont  make  the  individual  groups  so  4    |    document  title  and  version    
    • small  that  the  drop-­‐down  has  an  overabundance  of  groups  that  users  have  to  spend   time  understanding.     • Use  concise,  yet  descriptive  labels  for  each  group.  Remember  the  standard  rules  for   writing  for  the  Web:  enhance  scannability  by  starting  with  the  most  information-­‐ carrying  word  and  avoid  made-­‐up  terms.     • Order  the  groups.  You  can  do  this  using  an  inherent  order  among  the  features  or   according  to  importance,  putting  the  most  important  and/or  frequently  used  group  on   top  (in  a  vertical  design)  or  to  the  left.      Offering  ‘bite-­‐sized’,  manageable  chunks  of  information  will  help  users  to  drill  in  and  find  what  they  want  easily  by  declaring  one  criterion  at  a  time.  It  will  also  prevent  users  from  reaching  frustrating  ‘dead-­‐ends’,  such  as  those  created  by  blank  result  pages.  Clear  and  consistent  grouping  also  reduce  the  chances  of  recruiters  making  mistakes  and  bad  decisions  in  the  classification  of  jobs  when  posting  jobs.  As  the  graph  below  shows,  when  jobseekers  are  browsing  job  board  categories  they  are  most  likely  to  use  only  one  or  two  categories  to  find  relevant  jobs.  This  suggests  that  it  is  better  to  offer  a  shallow  hierarchy  if  possible.    If  there  are  too  many  levels  you  may  find  users  will  lose  patience  or  interest.                  It  is  also  best  to  avoid  repetition  and  overlap  within  and  across  categories.  These  will  create  blurred  boundaries  and  cause  confusion.  For  example,  having  a  ‘Sales’  category  at  top-­‐level  and  then  also  as  sub-­‐level  categories  could  be  misleading  and  users  won’t  be  sure  which  to  click.  Clear  distinction  between  groups  will  make  it  easier  for  users  to  make  choices  and  decisions  at  a  glance.  Users  would  prefer  not  to  carry  out  the  tiresome  task  of  checking  each  option  to  find  out  which  is  the  best  match  for  them.  To  create  an  intuitive  hierarchy  the  most  important  categories  to  the  user  should  be  clearly  visible  and  preferably  towards  the  top.  This  assumes  that  you  have  knowledge  of  your  user’s  priorities  but  if  this  isn’t  the  case  then  it  may  be  worth  carrying  out  some  research  to  find  out.  Remember  that  you  are  not  your  users  and  it  is  best  not  to  make  assumptions  about  their  needs.  Sometimes  business  priorities  may  conflict  with  user  priorities  and  a  way  of  balancing  this  may  be  required.      5    |    document  title  and  version    
    • Making  sense  to  your  users  Your  job  board  should  reflect  the  preferred  patterns  and  language  of  your  audience.  Make  sure  labelling  is  meaningful  and  familiar  to  your  audience,  there  is  no  point  using  labels  that  your  users  don’t  recognise.  If  your  users  can’t  find  something  then  it  may  as  well  not  exist.  By  using  familiar  vocabulary  or  commonly  used  terms  we  make  it  an  easier  and  more  reassuring  experience.  Most  humans  prefer  to  recognise  items  displayed  in  a  menu  rather  than  having  to  keyword  search  by  recalling  without  any  cues.  Users  will  recognise  when  a  site  ‘speaks  their  language’  and  this  signals  that  they  are  in  the  right  place  to  find  what  they  are  looking  for.  Remember  that  the  language  you  use  within  your  organisation  may  not  be  the  language  your  users  are  familiar  with.  Getting  to  know  what  terms  your  web  users  are  familiar  with  will  help  to  validate  the  language  you  are  using  and  this  will  create  a  better  experience.  The  language  of  your  job  board  should  communicate  with  your  users  confidently,  conveying  that  you  know  who  they  are.    It  is  always  best  to  avoid  vague  terms  such  as  ‘Other’  as  in  context  this  will  be  meaningless  to  your  users.  Ambiguous,  incorrect  and  inaccurate  options  will  create  an  inefficient  system,  if  there  is  any  room  for  doubt  it  may  be  worth  providing  contextual  help  or  tips.  Meaningful  or  semantic  labelling  is  also  good  practice  for  search  engines,  benefiting  your  search  engine  optimisation  (SEO),  as  well  as  recruiters  and  jobseekers.  It  may  be  worth  studying  jobseeker  search  keywords  as  this  could  help  put  together  a  more  accurate  classification  system  that  reflects  your  users’  vocabularies.    Keep  it  simple  The  standard  usability  guideline  of  ‘keep  it  simple’  always  applies.  Fewer  options  mean  less  to  scan,  less  to  understand,  and  less  to  get  wrong.  One  of  the  best  examples  of  a  brand  that  follows  the  ‘keep  it  simple’  rule  is  Apple.  Apple  has  consistently  produced  products  that  are  minimalist  in  design,  task-­‐focused  and  consistent.  The  iPod,  iPhone  and  iPad  are  all  amazing  examples  of  this.  Part  of  this  may  also  be  the  result  of  the  constraints  of  designing  for  portable  devices.    It’s  important  to  keep  in  mind  how  an  experience  will  translate  to  other  communication  channels  in  your  business.  How  will  100  options  look  on  a  small  screen  when  you  release  the  mobile  version  of  your  website  or  a  beautiful  new  iPhone  app?  Lastly,  it  is  a  well-­‐known  fact  that  readers  when  online  only  grant  their  attention  for  a  few  seconds.  If  they  can’t  scan  and  get  what  they  want  quickly  they  will  go  elsewhere.  So  again  this  reinforces  the  persuasive  argument  for  well-­‐organised  categories  with  less  options.      How  we  can  help  We  hope  this  document  helps  you  to  make  more  informed  decisions.  If  you  need  help  categorising  and  structuring  your  faceted  classification  system  then  please  contact  us.  We  have  in  house  information  architecture  expertise  and  a  user  experience  consultant.  There  are  many  methods  that  can  be  used  to  ensure  that  you  move  towards  the  best  possible  user  experience  for  your  job  board.  The  benefits  that  user  research  can  bring  to  a  business  far  outweigh  the  cost  of  that  initial  investment.    We  can  also  provide  advice  on  how  to  test  any  decisions  when  moving  forward.      6    |    document  title  and  version    
    • REFERENCE:    Hick,  William  E.  On  the  rate  of  gain  of  information  (Quarterly  Journal  of  Experimental  Psychology,  4:11-­‐26,  1952).  Hicks  Law.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hick%27s_law    Barry  Schwarz.  The  Paradox  of  more  is  less  (Published  2004).  Susan  Weinschenk.  You  want  more  choices  and  information  than  you  can  actually  process.  http://www.whatmakesthemclick.net/2009/11/13/100-­‐things-­‐you-­‐should-­‐know-­‐about-­‐people-­‐10-­‐your-­‐want-­‐more-­‐choices-­‐and-­‐information-­‐than-­‐you-­‐can-­‐actually-­‐process/  Sheena  Iyengar  and  Mark  R.  Lepper.  When  choice  is  de-­‐motivating:  Can  one  desire  too  much  of  a  good  thing?    (Journal  of  Personality  and  Social  Psychology  2000.  79:  995-­‐1006).  Sheena  Iyengar.  The  Art  of  Choosing  (Published  2010).  Susan  W  Weinschenk.  Neuro  Web  Design:  What  makes  them  click?  (Published  2009).  Jakob  Nielsen.  Mega  drop  down  Navigation  Menus  work  well.  http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mega-­‐dropdown-­‐menus.html  Jakob  Nielsen.  How  users  read  on  the  web.  http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html  Peter  Johansson.  Choice  Blindness    http://www.experiment-­‐resources.com/choice-­‐blindness.html  7    |    document  title  and  version