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23 February, 2015
UX and Taxonomy
Lessons Learned in e-Commerce
Vancouver IA/UX Meetup
Factor specializes in enterprise-scale information and experience challenges.!
We are experts in modeling information-rich experiences.!
Our outside perspective helps you gain insight to break through organizational
Our evidence-based approach allows us to truly understand what will drive your
success - and help you get there.!
Bringing over 20 years of experience as
an information strategist helps
companies develop their information
infrastructure to deliver business
success and satisfy customer goals.
Informed by more than two decades of
practice in user-centered design and
research, Bram believes technology is not
an end in itself but that it should enable
natural experiences for actual humans.
What is special about e-commerce?
Often have very measurable success metrics!
•Average order value!
•Ability to move targeted product!
on-line experiences can support or drive in-store sales!
UX and IA have a hand in supporting all these goals.!
Here are the lessons we’ll be talking about:
Lesson 1: Taxonomy is a key element of your brand
Lesson 2: Your customers don’t care about your
merchandising taxonomy. Don’t force them to.
Lesson 3: Techniques used to optimize the post-car
funnel usually don’t work for the pre-cart experience.
Lesson 4: Pre-cart findability requires organizational
Lesson 5: Analytics can answer complex questions -- if
you know what to ask and have the tools.
Lesson 6: There’s a lot of work to do before you can
a key instrument
of your brand promise.
You know your UX is a key instrument of
your brand promise. So is your taxonomy.
● It can express brand attributes
● It can expose expertise
● It can demonstrate understanding
● It can articulate a style
When customers use your taxonomy, it’s an act of trust.
Taxonomy Reflects Brand
Campmoor is about gear and clothing.
REI is about activities and clothing.
Your customers don’t care
Don’t force them to.
Merchandising vs. Sales
● Same products
● Very different user needs and goals
● User-centered design techniques can
lead to better taxonomies
How do you know
you have a taxonomy emergency?
Coolers, Bikes, and Boating Accessories ????
“Clothing Accessories” as a top level category ???
Conceptual ambiguity in many of the categories
These reflect the internal workings of merchandising
Key categories have been surfaced (like clothing)
Categories are generally mutually exclusive and reflect customer expectations
Techniques used to
optimize the post-cart
funnel usually don’t work
for the pre-cart experience.
Pre vs. Post Cart
● Pre = less well understood
● Post = well understood, mature
● Pre-cart experiences feature many different styles of
shopping: research, inspirational, aspirational, known
item, serendipity, etc.
● In post-cart experiences there is goal alignment
between seller and buyer.
How does the means of understanding
differ between pre- and post-cart experiences?
Research techniques and conclusions:
● Pre - cart
○ More generative and strategic
○ Qualitative AND quantitative
● Post - cart
○ More evaluative and tactical
○ Mostly quantitative.
Pre-cart Findability Requires Organizational
Organizational alignment is vital.
● Item groupings
● Ability to zoom in/out
● Teleporting, not pogo-sticking
● Guided nav style (conversational, curated, etc.)
● Must be well-attributed
● Must be well-supported navigation aids.
(How can I be sure I’m)
Seeing All The Things?
Lesson 5: Analytics can
be used to answer
complex questions -- if
you know what to ask
and have the tools.
How analytics considerations can drive
design and taxonomy management
● Examining Search Logs can tell you a lot.
Beyond the Basics:
● What does it tell us when customers abandon
browse for search? or the reverse?
● Where do guided navigation experiences impact
conversion the most?
● Instrument your site to support the questions your
business is driving you to ask.