What I Do


User Research for Taxonomy Part 1: Why Bother?

The following is an excerpt from an ebook I wrote with Rachel Price, User Research for Taxonomy Design. We wrote it as a companion piece to a presentation we gave at Taxonomy Bootcamp 2016, because we think there’s a lack of good information out there about generative qualitative research for taxonomy. In our book, we break it down into simple steps so you can do your own research.

How do you build a good taxonomy? That’s a big question, and it has all kinds of complicated answers. It’s also not the question we’re answering here. Instead, we’ll ask you:

How do you build the right taxonomy? A taxonomy that’s good might not be right for the people who are going to be using it. The right taxonomy will be well-constructed, yes, but it will also have a scope that suits its purpose, a structure that reflects its users’ mental models, and terms that incorporate their language.

So how do you build the right taxonomy for your people? You talk to them.

A Content Governance Approach

I created this diagram as part of a taxonomy and IA engagement to give a client an image of what a future governance process might look like. I delivered this along with an accompanying document diagnosing their current state and identifying key considerations for any future governance work.A more systematic approach to governance was new to them, but they found this to be valuable starting point for getting to organizational alignment around content creation, strategy, and maintenance.

Planning for Enterprise Adoption

Maximizing and measuring ROI is a popular topic, both on the internet and with our clients, and rightly so. It can be nerve-wracking to consider spending money, time, and resources on a replatforming or implementation of a new system without any real idea of the extent to which it will be worth it. There are…

Considering the Question

At the IA Summit in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, I noticed that “data science” had become a bit of a buzzword, and without pointing any fingers, I don’t think we as a discipline have really come to an understanding of what data science is or what it can do for us. Usually it’s a handy…