I was fortunate to attend two sessions at InfoCamp on technical content strategy and taxonomy.
The first was led by Bram Wessel, Experience Strategist and Principal at Factor and Gary Carlson, taxonomist extraordinaire and Principal at Gary Carlson Consulting. Bram and Gary have teamed up on a number of recent projects which seems a really organic fit.
You can check out a PDF of the presentation here, but one of the things I really got out of it was that Bram and Gary work together on design projects because “the whole martini has to taste good.”
Meaning that the components that they term Technical Content Strategy – Taxonomy, Metadata, Search, Systems Integration and Performance Optimization all have to work together to provide the most effective user experience.
I was especially thrilled to be reminded of the value of personas when developing requirements. I think as I am enmeshed in the day to day of the DAM system I manage, I forget that I can easily explain personas to our client and make headway in having a better decision making tool for system changes on metadata fields and taxonomy.
Gary gave another presentation on Sunday at InfoCamp on Avoiding the Autobiographical Taxonomy. Link to PPT is here under Taxonomy Bootcamp 2011. He starts with an example of John Cusack in the film High Fidelity talking about organizing his personal record collection not alphabetically nor chronologically, but autobiographically.
Essentially, this means that if you are designing a taxonomy for a website, design it for the end users not for yourself nor even for the company or organization who owns the site.
Both presentations reminded me of the importance of evaluating search logs to promote and add terms, not making assumptions, providing user education and adding value.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Washington, DC at Taxonomy Bootcamp 2012, you can check out Gary Carlson’s presentation there right now.