Blog

Blog2019-01-27T12:09:50+00:00

Information Architecture to Content Strategy

More and more of my work has moved from straightforward information architecture and taxonomy work and more into the "why" behind information architecture and taxonomy. For me, the answer to this "why" became content strategy.

Support Dynamic Content Display with Structure and Taxonomy

One thing that's been around for a while but is rarely taken advantage of (at least on the digital property projects that I've come across) is dynamic content display. Maybe it's poorly understood, but it's an easy concept to grasp and, quite frankly, can feel very liberating. When I explain the concept to my clients, they typically respond with, "Yes, that's what we need. That's what we've been waiting for. Where have you been all my life? You had me at hello!!"

Why Is Information Architecture Helpful?

Once you understand what information architecture (IA) is, you may wonder why exactly it is that you need it, in order to have a successful site. Maybe your site has some usability problems or suffers from common taxonomy mistakes, but isn’t that something that anyone can just go in and adjust with a few tweaks of the design? Technically, yes. But you’re most likely only resolving a surface level issue with a band-aid fix, as opposed to addressing the real website problems that you’re suffering from.

What Is Information Architecture?

Is your customer service team spending most of their time answering questions that are directly answered on your website? Is your bounce rate far higher than it should it be? Is the most used function of your website the search bar? All of these common website usability problems are symptoms and signs of poor information architecture. Information architecture (IA) aims to connect users with the content that they are looking for, in a seamless and intuitive manner.

How To Improve Website Search

When looking to improve the searchability on your website or intranet or in your CMS or DAM, there are a few areas where you can look to solve searchability problems. This second part in a two-part series focuses on solving searchability problems.

Website Search Sucks: A Common Website Problem

When I talk with customers about website problems, I frequently hear the refrain: "Our website search is terrible. People tell us it sucks. We need to fix it." Or "I can't find anything on the website and the search doesn't give me what I am expecting." There are a few areas where we can look to fix search problems. Normally, I start with user interviews and testing, then move on to reviewing site analytics, metadata, and taxonomy.

Combining Multiple Taxonomies

Combining multiple taxonomies can be a contentious issue: each taxonomy belongs to a team who has put a lot of thought into their taxonomy and may not easily let go of certain terms or features. However, sometimes taxonomies do need to be combined, and here are some tips on how to go through the process.

Selling a Website Taxonomy to Your Organization

While you recognize that your company needs a website taxonomy or intranet taxonomy, you may not be sure how to convince management to provide resources to create, implement, and maintain a taxonomy. Here are some tips.

Actionable Steps to Improve Your Taxonomy

If you’re working on a taxonomy that doesn’t have the resources (right now) to do a lot of research and engagement with subject matter experts, there are still some actionable steps you can take to improve your taxonomy.

Guiding Others Through Building a Website Taxonomy

After going through numerous taxonomy projects, I've learned a few things about how to work with stakeholders and subject matter experts to build a website taxonomy. Here is a presentation with a few tips for making the taxonomy development process smoother.

Making Taxonomy More Effective: Lessons Learned from Taxonomy Projects

Having worked on many a taxonomy project, this presentation details a few (relatively straightforward) lessons learned. I like to share them so you can be more successful with taxonomy. The lessons learned include: ensuring you consider the next steps for the taxonomy, taking into account the abilities of the team and technology to implement and maintain the taxonomy, and thinking strategically before diving into taxonomy design. Enjoy the presentation! If you'd like to learn more, here are some links to visit: Case study: Taxonomy for Technical Non-Profit Taxonomy Driven Content Publishing

Principles of Taxonomy: How to Get Started with Taxonomy

When first learning about taxonomies and how they're useful, it helps to know some basics. This presentation looks at why taxonomy is useful, some examples of how taxonomy is used on websites, and different links for learning more about taxonomies.

Examples of Content Taxonomy: How Classification Helps on the Web

When I start working on taxonomy projects, it's common that some team members don't understand how taxonomy can help their website's user experience or the writer's experience in finding and re-using content. One of the easiest ways to explain how taxonomy works is to show examples of taxonomy. Here are a few examples of how website taxonomy can be used to improve search results, browse by category, and automatically build pages on a website.

How to Plan for Usability Testing for Your Website

When I take clients through the process of usability testing, they have some typical questions at the beginning of the process. How does usability testing work? How do we make sure everything is set up properly? How do we recruit users? Here’s an overview of what to expect as you go through the process of preparing for usability testing.

Taxonomy and IA for Technical Standards

As part of a complete website redesign, this non-profit needed to consolidate existing taxonomies and create an up-to-date taxonomy for use on their new website and across their publications.