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Extending IA past taxonomies - a case study of Debenhams Retail IA

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Case study of re-developing the Information Architecture (IA) of Debenhams web site.

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Extending IA past taxonomies - a case study of Debenhams Retail IA

  1. 1. Extending IA past taxonomies - a case study of Debenhams Retail IA Mags Hanley Annabelle Reid UX Australia, Brisbane
  2. 2. Introductions Mags Hanley • 20 years a Cybrarian, Project Manager, Information Architect, Product Manager & Teacher • Provided IA and UX expertise to the project Annabelle Reid • Product Search and Image Manager at Debenhams • Responsible search and navigation of transactional products for debenhams.com
  3. 3. What is Information Architecture? IA is the art and science of organising and labelling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability.* IA Institute ‘What is IA?’ http://iainstitute.org/en/learn/resources/what_is_ia.php
  4. 4. Progression of information architecture 1998 Site maps, wireframes, search and navigation 2001 Taxonomies and metadata 2004 Folksonomies and tagging 2010 Domain modelling and semantic web 2015 The whole thing + SEO
  5. 5. Most UXers understanding of IA 1998 Site maps, wireframes, search and navigation 2001 Taxonomies and metadata 2004 Folksonomies and tagging 2010 Domain modelling and semantic web 2015 The whole thing + SEO
  6. 6. Agenda Covering • Debenhams and the IA challenges • IA model for Debenhams • Navigation example • IA and business interactions • Continuing work
  7. 7. Introduction to Debenhams
  8. 8. The problem and the project
  9. 9. UX vs. IA in Debenhams • User Experience is focused on the design of the customer experience across the web site and multi-channels. • Information architecture (IA) is the structure (product data, labels and categories) on which the experience can be built on top. • It closely aligned with Product Information, Search and Categories all managed by Annabelle
  10. 10. Little black dresses – Search vs. browse • 35 ‘little black dresses’ found via search • 114 ‘Little black dresses’ and 1 ‘Little black dress’ in the categories Problem: Inconsistency of categories and not integrating search and categories together.
  11. 11. Where are the mugs? • One of the top search terms is ‘Mugs’ • But only 20% of people search, so where is it living in the navigation? • It is under ‘Dinnerware - loose Problem: Our categories names do not reflect the words our customers use.
  12. 12. Bedding – what size are you looking for? • Most people shop ‘Duvet covers’ by size. • Which one of the many sizes on the site meets the customers’ needs? Problem: There is no standardisation of size in bedding. ‘Duvet covers and pillow cases’ have 54 variants of size in the ‘Size’ attribute; many of which are not sizes.
  13. 13. What we did in the project Project plan Current state report User research & business goals report Content, data & search report IA and conten t model Dresses categorie s tested with users Facets for Dresses section Metadata and URL rules for SEO Lo-fi navigation and product pages prototype Full Dresses IA Governance and operational model Next steps DesignDefine Project Kick-off Current state analysis Business insights Content data & search User Research Develop Dresses IA Online User Testing Facet developmen t Metadata & SEO Lo-fi prototype User Testing Governance & operational model and next steps Develop IA and content model
  14. 14. IA model for Debenhams.com Findability of the products 'Aboutness' of the products Google.com 'RJR John Rocha blue dress' Debenhams.com Style Edit > AW14: 6 Fabulous Trends > Blue notes Debenhams.com Home page > Dresses > Brand: RJR John Rocha > Colour: Blue Facebook.com Debenhams - the official page Brand: RJR.John Rocha Colour: Blue Length: Knee length Product: Dress Print: Floral Sleeve: Long sleeveNeckline: Boat neck Style: shiftOccasion: Work dress
  15. 15. Top-down IA model CategoriesNavigation Facets Product Description Page
  16. 16. Bottom-up IA model
  17. 17. EXAMPLE OF NAVIGATION
  18. 18. Old navigation
  19. 19. Draft of navigation
  20. 20. New navigation
  21. 21. IA and business interactions Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change management Analytics
  22. 22. IA and SEO • Previous state New categories were sent by Trading Manager to Digital Marketing for ‘SEO’ing. Resulting in no changes to the categories. • Contribution to IA Ability to identify language patterns from across the the whole of the internet, not just the Debenhams web site. • Changes to working Instead of throwing the categories over the wall to Digital Marketing, work consistently with IA and Product team on category labels. • Impact Digital Marketing and SEO requirements are taken into consideration as part of the process. Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change management Analytics
  23. 23. IA and user research • Previous state Very little user research performed to inform the IA • Contribution to the IA Makes the IA user centred. Using multiple research methods to understanding how people find products, including: • Information seeking research • Card sorting • Path analysis • Search log analysis • Changes to working Using the usability methods to inform and break down the business only considerations for the IA. • Impact We now have methods to use to design the IA better with user feedback rather than just opinion of the business Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change managemen t Analytics
  24. 24. IA and change management • Previous state Many parts of the organisation felt they owned the IA. This included Trading, Digital Marketing, Buying and Merchandising and Product data. • Contribution to the IA All the groups contribute to the IA, as they represent the parts of the business. For example B&M tell us what the new trends are, so we can describe the products correctly. • Changes to working Ownership of the IA is within the Product data team and is empowered to make decisions about the IA. All departments can contribute, but one function is responsible. Take the departments through the process, rather than impose it on them. • Impact Changes can be made in Debenhams rather than paralysis. Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change managemen t Analytics
  25. 25. IA and Product data • Previous state There was a product loading team managed by Annabelle. The focus was loading correctly and secondly describing it. • Contribution to IA IA is both categorisation and structure of content; so product data IS the IA of the Debenhams site. • Changes to working Worked with the product data team to ensure they understand how to make the data more user friendly, correctly described and reflects the trends in the products. • Impact Better description of content Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change managemen t Analytics
  26. 26. IA and technology • Previous state The technology determined what could be done in navigation and search, with slow releases. • Contribution the IA Limits the way that the navigation works, how search is tuned and how products can be found on the site. • Changes to working As part of the IA model, instead of living with the technology, requirements for search and navigation are as important as e-commerce or design. • Impact Let the IA have impact in the site rather than just changing labels. Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change managemen t Analytics
  27. 27. IA and analytics • Previous state IA was not measured by analytics; only ad hoc reports when someone asked • Contribution to the IA Makes the IA accountable. We used click-through rates on the navigation to try and understand the patterns of use. • Changes to working During implementation for dresses, there was a realisation that there was no benchmark for the categories and therefore knowing what worked was hard to determine • Impact Analytics for benchmarking and design are baked into the process. Information architecture User research Technology Product data SEO Change managemen t Analytics
  28. 28. Continuing work • Since Mags left in the last 6 months, Debenhams has made a lot of progress. • The navigation has changed; made responsive and updated and continuing to be refined. • The search engine (FredHopper) is being upgraded within the next few weeks • A PIM has been commissioned so that the data is not enhanced for digital, but created by the Buying and Merchandising teams • Changes to the team structure including an IA and changes to the product team and ways Debenhams’ teams work together
  29. 29. QUESTIONS?
  30. 30. THANK YOU Mags Hanley @magshanley Annabelle Reid

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