Building taxonomies lessons learned

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Transcript of Building taxonomies lessons learned

Building Taxonomies: Lessons LearnedTheresa Putkey, Information Architect & [email protected]

In This Talk...Three ways to make taxonomy development work more effective: Consider next steps in designTake into account the abilities of the team and technologyThink strategically before diving into design

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.

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?

Implementation may be immediate or a long way off and the taxonomy may solve some problems, but not all

The Near-Basic ProjectSituationCustomer strategy forcing an inward facing company to be more outward and customer-centric

Website reflects internal organization that customers dont understand

ProblemsSite structure overloaded with too much unused informationNo content reuse or dynamic display by taxonomy, even though using Adobe CQ5No strong understanding of taxonomyOnce exposed to the power of taxonomy, they understood how it could work for them.Long lag between request to IT and implementationRecommendationsRearrange pages on siteSite navigation needs to be complemented with browsing by taxonomy to enable findabilityTag content now to support future dynamic content displayPut in an official request to IT

The Near-Basic ProjectLessons LearnedWhat we consider basic to a CMS implementation isnt 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!

Lack of knowledge can be a real limiting factor, so its important to educate people once you see the business needAlso important to focus on what they can do now vs in the future

Team and Technology Capabilities

Be RealisticBe realistic about team skills and what can be done in the supporting technologyMake short and long term plans based on skills and skill development

The Basic ProjectSituationRe-doing a Support website

Customers complain they cant find information on the website

Call centre seeing a lot of volume for questions that can be answered online

ProblemsCouldnt implement the taxonomy in the near term Designer driven design Pinterest model of guided search instead of taxonomy based designOnly had 400-500 articles, not millions itemsRecommendationUse taxonomy terms to do some manual categorization in the interface

The Basic Project

Lesson LearnedNo matter how wonderful taxonomy is and despite training, others will ignore it/you if its not in their paradigm

Technology capabilities were lacking

Could have corrected their design or made a taxonomy to support them

Designers didnt understand applications of taxonomy

Think Strategically

Think StrategicallyBefore diving into design, think strategically about what the business needs to do: Do research with stakeholder and user interviewsUse Findings, Possibilities, Conditions, Barriers, and Effort

What do I mean by possibilities?

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?

Conditions NeededBarriers 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 ProjectSituationShrinking budgets means company needs to market products and services more efficiently

Taxonomy limitations are affecting companys ability to personalize content and display content based on behavioural analysis

The FindingsOut-of-date taxonomyFacets not well structured so content creators dont know which terms to applyCampaign creators taking a lot of time to find all applicable informationRecommendationsPossibility 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 itemsBarrier: Needed to restructure parts of their databasesEffort: Realized that development effort was needed and were ready to tackle that barrier.

Possibility: Taxonomy Supports PersonalizationFindings to SupportTaxonomy is up to date, which makes it hard to tag correctly

Users look at fewer topics than they are interested in

Cant track behaviour by topic

Conditions NeededBarriers Efforts to OvercomeTaxonomy needs to be up to date Not aware of terms users useUser research (surveys, interviews)Lack of resources to update taxonomyNeed budget, resource (hire or train)Lack of governance to keep taxonomy up-to-date long termResearch governance needs and implement governanceSoftware allows for behavioural analysisThis software is not currently availableImplement software with IT support

The More Advanced ProjectLessons LearnedUsing Findings & Possibilities shows what taxonomy effort is needed, what initiatives the taxonomy can support, and the development work needed

Its awesome when people use taxonomy properly,and want to be better at it

We Covered...Three ways to make taxonomy development work more effective: Consider next steps in designTake into account the abilities of the team and technologyThink strategically before diving into design

My InfoTheresa [email protected] 563 6317