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Building Taxonomies:
Lessons Learned
Theresa Putkey, Information Architect & Taxonomist
tputkey@keypointe.ca
@tputkey
www.keypointe.ca
slideshare.net/tputkey
In This Talk...
Three ways to make taxonomy development work more
effective:
1. Consider next steps in design
2. Take into account the abilities of the team and
technology
3. Think strategically before diving into design
Next Steps in Design
Next Steps
In the short term, how will taxonomy be used in current
design?
In the long term, how can taxonomy improve the
experience?
The Near-Basic
Project
Situation
Customer strategy forcing an inward
facing company to be more outward and
customer-centric
Website reflects internal organization that
customers don’t understand
The Near-Basic
Project
Lessons Learned
What we consider “basic” to a CMS
implementation isn’t well understood by
non-taxonomy experts (including those in
the UX space)
A good CMS may not be well
implemented or easily updated
Advocate, advocate, educate!
Team and Technology
Capabilities
Be Realistic
Be realistic about team skills and what can be done in
the supporting technology
Make short and long term plans based on skills and skill
development
The Basic Project Situation
Re-doing a Support website
Customers complain they can’t find
information on the website
Call centre seeing a lot of volume for
questions that can be answered online
The Basic Project Lesson Learned
No matter how wonderful taxonomy is
and despite training, others will ignore
it/you if it’s not in their paradigm
Technology capabilities were lacking
Could have corrected their design or
made a taxonomy to support them
Think Strategically
Think Strategically
Before diving into design, think strategically about what
the business needs to do:
Do research with stakeholder and user interviews
Use Findings, Possibilities, Conditions, Barriers, and
Effort
A possibility is essentially a happy story that... helps
people discuss what might be viable but does not yet
exist.
Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy - HBR
http://hbr.org/2012/09/bringing-science-to-the-art-of-strategy/ar/pr
What is a Possibility?
Conditions Needed Barriers Efforts to Overcome
Possibility:
Findings to Support
What themes came
up during the
stakeholder and
user interviews and
audit to support
possibility?
What is needed to
make the possibility
a reality?
What is preventing
you from making the
possibility a reality?
What tasks are
needed to achieve
the possibility?
The More
Advanced Project
Situation
Shrinking budgets means company
needs to market products and services
more efficiently
Taxonomy limitations are affecting
company’s ability to personalize content
and display content based on behavioural
analysis
Possibility: Taxonomy Supports Personalization
Findings to Support
Taxonomy is up to
date, which makes it
hard to tag correctly
Users look at fewer
topics than they are
interested in
Can’t track
behaviour by topic
Conditions
Needed
Barriers Efforts to Overcome
Taxonomy needs
to be up to date
Not aware of terms
users use
User research (surveys,
interviews)
Lack of resources to
update taxonomy
Need budget, resource
(hire or train)
Lack of governance
to keep taxonomy
up-to-date long term
Research governance
needs and implement
governance
Software allows
for behavioural
analysis
This software is not
currently available
Implement software
with IT support
The More
Advanced Project
Lessons Learned
Using Findings & Possibilities shows what
taxonomy effort is needed, what initiatives
the taxonomy can support, and the
development work needed
It’s awesome when people use taxonomy
properly,and want to be better at it
We Covered...
Three ways to make taxonomy development work more
effective:
1. Consider next steps in design
2. Take into account the abilities of the team and
technology
3. Think strategically before diving into design
My Info Theresa Putkey
tputkey@keypointe.ca
www.keypointe.ca
@tputkey
ca.linkedin.com/in/tputkey
604 563 6317

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Building taxonomies lessons learned

  • 1. Building Taxonomies: Lessons Learned Theresa Putkey, Information Architect & Taxonomist tputkey@keypointe.ca @tputkey www.keypointe.ca slideshare.net/tputkey
  • 2. In This Talk... Three ways to make taxonomy development work more effective: 1. Consider next steps in design 2. Take into account the abilities of the team and technology 3. Think strategically before diving into design
  • 3. Next Steps in Design
  • 4. Next Steps In the short term, how will taxonomy be used in current design? In the long term, how can taxonomy improve the experience?
  • 5. The Near-Basic Project Situation Customer strategy forcing an inward facing company to be more outward and customer-centric Website reflects internal organization that customers don’t understand
  • 6. The Near-Basic Project Lessons Learned What we consider “basic” to a CMS implementation isn’t well understood by non-taxonomy experts (including those in the UX space) A good CMS may not be well implemented or easily updated Advocate, advocate, educate!
  • 8. Be Realistic Be realistic about team skills and what can be done in the supporting technology Make short and long term plans based on skills and skill development
  • 9. The Basic Project Situation Re-doing a Support website Customers complain they can’t find information on the website Call centre seeing a lot of volume for questions that can be answered online
  • 10. The Basic Project Lesson Learned No matter how wonderful taxonomy is and despite training, others will ignore it/you if it’s not in their paradigm Technology capabilities were lacking Could have corrected their design or made a taxonomy to support them
  • 12. Think Strategically Before diving into design, think strategically about what the business needs to do: Do research with stakeholder and user interviews Use Findings, Possibilities, Conditions, Barriers, and Effort
  • 13. A possibility is essentially a happy story that... helps people discuss what might be viable but does not yet exist. Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy - HBR http://hbr.org/2012/09/bringing-science-to-the-art-of-strategy/ar/pr What is a Possibility?
  • 14. Conditions Needed Barriers Efforts to Overcome Possibility: Findings to Support What themes came up during the stakeholder and user interviews and audit to support possibility? What is needed to make the possibility a reality? What is preventing you from making the possibility a reality? What tasks are needed to achieve the possibility?
  • 15. The More Advanced Project Situation Shrinking budgets means company needs to market products and services more efficiently Taxonomy limitations are affecting company’s ability to personalize content and display content based on behavioural analysis
  • 16. Possibility: Taxonomy Supports Personalization Findings to Support Taxonomy is up to date, which makes it hard to tag correctly Users look at fewer topics than they are interested in Can’t track behaviour by topic Conditions Needed Barriers Efforts to Overcome Taxonomy needs to be up to date Not aware of terms users use User research (surveys, interviews) Lack of resources to update taxonomy Need budget, resource (hire or train) Lack of governance to keep taxonomy up-to-date long term Research governance needs and implement governance Software allows for behavioural analysis This software is not currently available Implement software with IT support
  • 17. The More Advanced Project Lessons Learned Using Findings & Possibilities shows what taxonomy effort is needed, what initiatives the taxonomy can support, and the development work needed It’s awesome when people use taxonomy properly,and want to be better at it
  • 18. We Covered... Three ways to make taxonomy development work more effective: 1. Consider next steps in design 2. Take into account the abilities of the team and technology 3. Think strategically before diving into design
  • 19. My Info Theresa Putkey tputkey@keypointe.ca www.keypointe.ca @tputkey ca.linkedin.com/in/tputkey 604 563 6317

Editor's Notes

  1. As with any work, only after working on numerous projects do we taxonomists learn some valuable lessons. A lot of my taxonomy work is from a user perspective so I might refer to CMSs or websites a lot, but I think you can translate these lessons learned into other types of taxonomy work.
  2. Implementation may be immediate or a long way off and the taxonomy may solve some problems, but not all
  3. Problems Site structure overloaded with too much unused information No content reuse or dynamic display by taxonomy, even though using Adobe CQ5 No strong understanding of taxonomy Once exposed to the power of taxonomy, they understood how it could work for them. Long lag between request to IT and implementation Recommendations Rearrange pages on site Site navigation needs to be complemented with browsing by taxonomy to enable findability Tag content now to support future dynamic content display Put in an official request to IT
  4. Lack of knowledge can be a real limiting factor, so it’s important to educate people once you see the business need Also important to focus on what they can do now vs in the future
  5. Problems Couldn’t implement the taxonomy in the near term Designer driven design Pinterest model of guided search instead of taxonomy based design Only had 400-500 articles, not millions items Recommendation Use taxonomy terms to do some manual categorization in the interface
  6. Designers didn’t understand applications of taxonomy
  7. What do I mean by “possibilities”?
  8. The Findings Out-of-date taxonomy Facets not well structured so content creators don’t know which terms to apply Campaign creators taking a lot of time to find all applicable information Recommendations Possibility here is that facets support behavioural analysis and content personalization. Conditions: Taxonomy has better facets that are available to more types of content. Terms within facets are clear and not duplicated between facets. The team will have a clearer idea of what taxonomy to apply to which items Barrier: Needed to restructure parts of their databases Effort: Realized that development effort was needed and were ready to tackle that barrier.