Building taxonomies lessons learned

Information Architect, Taxonomist, MLIS
Nov. 2, 2015

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Building taxonomies lessons learned

  1. Building Taxonomies: Lessons Learned Theresa Putkey, Information Architect & Taxonomist @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!
  7. Team and Technology Capabilities
  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
  11. Think Strategically
  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 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 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.