Atherton & Weber - Bake your own taxonomy - tcuk 130924 - public

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Bake your own taxonomy

This workshop will give technical communicators a guided opportunity to develop a documentation structure, with the emphasis on doing justice to existing, unstructured content, rather than merely recreating the concept, task, and reference ‘holy trinity’ of topic types. Chris Atherton and Kai Weber will outline basic principles of creating a taxonomy and an information model, drawing on cognitive science concepts like learning and mental models, to explain why standard topic types don’t always work, but why taxonomies do. They will also show how information models can be effective in making structured content easier to understand, and efficient for technical communicators to reuse. The workshop will give attendees practice at using physical media to turn unstructured content into structured documentation, at deducing and sketching out taxonomies based on existing content. Techniques such as card sorting may be of particular interest to attendees whose job roles touch on usability, user experience, or information architecture.

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Atherton & Weber - Bake your own taxonomy - tcuk 130924 - public

  1. 1. BAKE YOUR OWN TAXONOMY DEVELOPING A CONTENT STRUCTURE Chris Atherton & Kai Weber @finiteattention @techwriterkai #TCUK13 #TaxoBake 24 September 2013
  2. 2. PROGRAM Intro Is this workshop for you? 10:35-11:00 Presentation Taxonomies & tech comm 11:00-12:00 Exercise Classify content 12:00-12:15 Break 12:15-13:00 Exercise Structure content 13:00-13:30 Roundup Results & lessons learned
  3. 3. INTRO Is this workshop for you? Probably yes, if you  Have good content, but users cannot find it  Have redundant content that’s hard to maintain  Want to know about taxonomies, topic types & content models Probably less so, if you  Have structured content  Know about content models or even have one  Already apply topic types, such concepts, tasks, etc.
  4. 4. INTRO Who are we? Chris Atherton Kai Weber @finiteattention @techwriterkai
  5. 5. YOUR CONTENT?
  6. 6. YOUR CONTENT?
  7. 7. CATHEDRAL VS. BAZAAR Photo by Adrian Pingstone Photo by Babak Gholizadeh
  8. 8. TAXONOMIES Photo by Mstyslav Chernov Photo by www.sagradafamilia.cat
  9. 9. TAXONOMIES USE PATTERNS Photo by Santiago Masquelet Photo by Jure Šućur
  10. 10. TAXONOMIES ORGANISE YOUR WORLD What you want: Photo by Julius Schorzman
  11. 11. TAXONOMIES ORGANISE THEIR WORLD What they expect you to know: Photo by www.starbucks.com
  12. 12. TAXONOMIES HELP YOU TO FIGHT BACK What they don’t want you to know: Photo by www.starbuckssecretmenu.net
  13. 13. TAXONOMIES UNDERLIE TECH COMM … and we help users negotiate:
  14. 14. TECH COMM CREATES/IMPLIES TAXONOMIES
  15. 15. TECH COMM CREATES/IMPLIES TAXONOMIES
  16. 16. TECH COMM NEGOTIATES MENTAL MODELS
  17. 17. EXERCISES Exercise 1 Exercise 2 11:00 – 12:00 12:15 – 13:00 Method Content modeling Card sorting Purpose Classify content into topics Structure content into maps In short “Find the best chunks and breaks for the content.” “Find the best sequence and hierarchy for the content.”
  18. 18. EXERCISE 1 METHOD: CONTENT MODELING
  19. 19. EXERCISE 1 METHOD: CONTENT MODELING # Online help 1 Title [1] 2 Intro [0+] 3 Prereqs [0-1] 4 5 Steps [1+] 6 7 Results [0-1] 8 Exceptions [0+] 9 Next proc. [0-1]
  20. 20. EXERCISE 1 METHOD: CONTENT MODELING # Online help User manual 1 Title [1] Title [1] 2 Intro [0+] Intro [0+] 3 Prereqs [0-1] Prereqs [0-1] 4 5 Steps [1+] Steps [1+] 6 7 Results [0-1] Results [0-1] 8 Exceptions [0+] Exceptions [0+] 9 Next proc. [0-1]
  21. 21. EXERCISE 1 METHOD: CONTENT MODELING # Online help User manual Training 1 Title [1] Title [1] Title [1] 2 Intro [0+] Intro [0+] Intro [0+] 3 Prereqs [0-1] Prereqs [0-1] Prereqs [0-1] 4 Objective [1] 5 Steps [1+] Steps [1+] Steps [1+] 6 Exercise [1+] 7 Results [0-1] Results [0-1] Results [1+] 8 Exceptions [0+] Exceptions [0+] Exceptions [0+] 9 Next proc. [0-1] Next proc. [0-1]
  22. 22. WORKING WITH PHYSICAL MEDIA Photo by Manchester City Library
  23. 23. EXERCISE 1: CLASSIFY CONTENT Determine content chunks and topic types. To determine content chunks, consider:  What parts are relevant? Which are redundant, obsolete?  What patterns, similarities and differences can you detect?  What parts belong together? To determine topic types, consider:  The smallest number of distinct types by purpose and user.  New, better headings for topics.  Mental models of your audience.  Don’t worry about sequence and hierarchies yet. Take until noon.
  24. 24. EXERCISES Exercise 1 Exercise 2 11:00 – 12:00 12:15 – 13:00 Method Content modeling Card sorting Purpose Classify content into topics Structure content into maps In short “Find the best chunks and breaks for the content.” “Find the best sequence and hierarchy for the content.”
  25. 25. EXERCISE 2 METHOD: CARD SORTING
  26. 26. EXERCISE 2: STRUCTURE CONTENT Find the best sequence and hierarchy for the content.  Is the sequence complete or are parts missing?  Which user needs does the sequence support? To determine the content structure, consider:  The type of audience: Novices vs. experts  The context of the audience: Desktop vs. mobile vs. manual  How they will access the content: Navigation vs. search Take until 1 pm.
  27. 27. EXERCISE 2: STRUCTURE CONTENT Find the best sequence and hierarchy for the content.  Is the sequence complete or are parts missing?  Which user needs does the sequence support? To determine the content structure, consider:  The type of audience: Novices vs. experts  The context of the audience: Desktop vs. mobile vs. manual  How they will access the content: Navigation vs. search Take until 1 pm.
  28. 28. FREE ONLINE RESOURCES  About (folk) taxonomies: Weinberger, David. Everything is Miscellaneous, ch. 1.  About chunking: Redish, Ginny. “Breaking Up Large Documents for the Web.”  About content modeling: Rockley, Ann. “Information Modeling: A Practical Approach.”  About information architecture: Chapman, Cameron. “IA 101: Techniques and Best Practices.”  About card sorting: Spencer, Donna. “Card Sorting: A Definitive Guide.”
  29. 29. THANK YOU! KEEP IN TOUCH!

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