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Taming Your Services Taxonomy: Strategic IA for Great UX

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Manager of UX Strategy Jessie DuVerneay explores the foundation that can make or break a website – information architecture, and more specifically, services taxonomy. DuVerneay combines her love of library science with UX principles to explain the importance of these website building blocks, sharing strategies on how to get started.

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Taming Your Services Taxonomy: Strategic IA for Great UX

  1. 1. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 BY DESIGN Taming Your Services Taxonomy Strategic IA for Great UX
  2. 2. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Jessie DuVerneay @jduverneay
  3. 3. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Story Time
  4. 4. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 CHILDHOOD HOUSEGrand Rapids, MI 1990s
  5. 5. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 UX Strategy = Strategy + IA + UX
  6. 6. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Think of it this way: Strategy IA UX Aspirational, Big Picture Concrete, Structure Complete, Interaction “We want to build a house” “We need bricks, and we need to stack the bricks intelligently, in the right order” “We have a house, we plaster the walls and make sure the doors are in the right spot” The “Why” The “What” The “How”
  7. 7. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 UX Strategy Asks & Answers Questions Strategy IA UX What do we want this to do? Why? Who is this for? What are our constraints? What does success look like? How might this differentiate us from our peers? How is this related to other parts of our ecosystem? Based on what we know about our strategy, what pieces do we need? How are they organized? How will this structure meets the needs of the org? Of the people using it? Now that we have the pieces and and a sense of how they work together, how can we make this awesome?
  8. 8. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Information Architecture
  9. 9. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Information Architecture Information Architecture (IA) is the frame, map, or blueprint of your information environment, and a website is only as good at its foundational structure. IA’s goal is to build durable, stable structures that help people solve problems. Good IA can ensure your foundation is stable; that your website will be durable, will scale well over time, and will be liked by users.
  10. 10. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 What is IA? Definition May Look Like The “What” The creation of intentional structures that support the extension of strategy into digital and physical places. Making places made of information that allow meaning making, wayfinding, findability, and understanding. Taxonomy Sitemap Navigation & Wayfinding Wireframes Content Model Metadata & Labels
  11. 11. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Services Taxonomy
  12. 12. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Taxonomy  Not to be confused with TAXIDERMY   Classification into ordered categories: Using the right words, in the right order, In the right context, For the right reasons.
  13. 13. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Services Taxonomy Your services taxonomy is the backbone of your website. It impacts not just the listing of what is offered, but also things like page structure, search filters, breadcrumbs, and backend file structure. As much of the clarity (and therefor UX) of the site is dependent on this taxonomy, ensuring that it follows best practices and is user centered will ensure a meaningful and valuable site experience.
  14. 14. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 The Backbone of Great UX
  15. 15. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  16. 16. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  17. 17. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  18. 18. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Navigation Service Landing Page Page Structures Filters Breadcrumbs Cross-links (ie: from Bio Detail) Search Results Language in Non-digital Assets
  19. 19. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 POP QUIZ: On a scale of 1 (yay!) to Scary Crying Baby how do you feel about your current services taxonomy?
  20. 20. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 “It’s not important. We don’t have time.” “It’s fine the way it is. It’s too politically loaded." “No budget for that step. That’s not in scope for this effort.” “That’s not something we know how to do. We can just add that in when we get to the designs.”
  21. 21. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Ignore at Your Own Peril!
  22. 22. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 If you skip “X”, expect “Y” Strategy IA UX Products that don’t address a business need Specific tactics deployed without the intended results Something that will not be valuable or have utility in the near future Wasted budget Products that don’t make sense & are hard to navigate Disorienting user experience, even though design, or UI might seem fine (or even great) Issues with findability & scalability Difficulty creating great UX Complications & increased budget in build Low user adoption & opinion of the system Increased calls to support Poor Conversion Odd or lack of integration with the rest of the information environment
  23. 23. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Too many options Important offerings are hard to find Business opportunities are missed Visitors feel the language used is not for them Visitors are overwhelmed Visitor experiences cognitive overload Visitor does not understand offerings Opportunity for continuing the conversation is missed
  24. 24. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 One North’s Journey
  25. 25. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 The Opportunity
  26. 26. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  27. 27. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Brand Architecture Brand Guidelines Brand Strategy & Platform Development Content Development & Copywriting Campaign Strategy Creative Direction Digital Design Identity Development & Design Visual Expression Systems Style Guide Documentation User Research & Persona Development Digital Marketing & Communications Planning Content Strategy User Experience Design Analytics & Digital Optimization Research & Development Technology Consulting & Strategy Progressive Web Development Enterprise & Open Source CMS Development Fully Managed Hosting Services BRAND PLANNING STRATEGY CREATIVE SERVICES Social PR & Community Management Content Development Social & Digital Paid Media SEO & SEM Lead Generation & Nurturing TECHNOLOGY SOCIAL & CONTENT
  28. 28. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 The Process
  29. 29. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  30. 30. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  31. 31. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  32. 32. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  33. 33. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 SERVICE LINE SERVICE ACTIVITIES & DELIVERABLES Digital Strategy Strategic Planning Technical Consulting Performance & Optimization Cross-channel Strategy Campaign Strategy Lead Generation Experience Design Brand Design & Strategy Content Strategy UX Strategy & Design Information Architecture (IA) Visual Design Interaction Design Technology & Hosting Web & Application Development Managed Systems
  34. 34. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 SERVICE LINE SERVICE ACTIVITIES & DELIVERABLES Digital Strategy Strategic Planning Technical Consulting Performance & Optimization Cross-channel Strategy Campaign Strategy Lead Generation Expereince Design Brand Design & Strategy Content Strategy UX Strategy & Design Information Architecture (IA) Visual Design Interaction Design Technology & Hosting Web & Application Development Managed Systems
  35. 35. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 The Outcome
  36. 36. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Strategic Planning Technology Consulting Data & Optimization Strategy Web Development Mobile & Custom App Development Hosting & Application Management Data Integration Brand Research & Strategy Content Strategy UX Strategy & Design Visual & Interaction Design DIGITAL STRATEGY BRAND & EXPERIENCE DESIGN TECHNOLOGY
  37. 37. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Brand Architecture Brand Guidelines Brand Strategy & Platform Development Content Development & Copywriting Campaign Strategy Creative Direction Digital Design Identity Development & Design Visual Expression Systems Style Guide Documentation User Research & Persona Development Digital Marketing & Communications Planning Content Strategy User Experience Design Analytics & Digital Optimization Research & Development Technology Consulting & Strategy Progressive Web Development Enterprise & Open Source CMS Development Fully Managed Hosting Services BRAND PLANNING STRATEGY CREATIVE SERVICES Social PR & Community Management Content Development Social & Digital Paid Media SEO & SEM Lead Generation & Nurturing TECHNOLOGY SOCIAL & CONTENT
  38. 38. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Strategic Planning Technology Consulting Data & Optimization Strategy Web Development Mobile & Custom App Development Hosting & Application Management Data Integration Brand Research & Strategy Content Strategy UX Strategy & Design Visual & Interaction Design DIGITAL STRATEGY BRAND & EXPERIENCE DESIGN TECHNOLOGY
  39. 39. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Brand Architecture Brand Guidelines Brand Strategy & Platform Development Content Development & Copywriting Campaign Strategy Creative Direction Digital Design Identity Development & Design Visual Expression Systems Style Guide Documentation User Research & Persona Development Digital Marketing & Communications Planning Content Strategy User Experience Design Analytics & Digital Optimization Research & Development Technology Consulting & Strategy Progressive Web Development Enterprise & Open Source CMS Development Fully Managed Hosting Services BRAND PLANNING STRATEGY CREATIVE SERVICES Social PR & Community Management Content Development Social & Digital Paid Media SEO & SEM Lead Generation & Nurturing TECHNOLOGY SOCIAL & CONTENT
  40. 40. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Our Next Step: Test & Refine
  41. 41. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 For Best Results
  42. 42. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Building a Better Taxonomy: Top Down  Assess the current state taxonomy – identify issues and areas for improvement  Establish and align on strategy for new taxonomy  Gather synonyms (from content, competitors, industry taxonomies, and SEO)  Understand client mental models and preferred language patterns  Become and/or extensively interview subject matter experts (SME)  Select preferred terms, acceptable synonyms, and any excluded words/terms  Sort preferred terms into correct hierarchical categories  Suggest appropriate new taxonomy draft  Test and refine new taxonomy with users and SMEs to confirm or continue refining  Provide recommendations on necessary subsequent updates to navigation
  43. 43. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Building a Better Taxonomy: Bottom Up  Pick a problem area  Get the right people involved  Work through it together  Come to consensus  Formally update the taxonomy  Lather, Rinse, Repeat
  44. 44. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017
  45. 45. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Your Homework
  46. 46. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 Go for it!  Identify the issues & opportunities  Be able to make the business / user case for improving your taxonomy  Approach your taxonomy strategically  Start as soon as you can  Think about if top down or bottom up will work best for you  Get the right people in the room  Test & Iterate!  Give yourself 3x the amount of time you think you’re going to need
  47. 47. Experience Lab 2017 | 11.08 – 11.10 2017 You Can Tame Your Taxonomy!

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