User Experience and Taxonomy Collaborations Promise Actionable Information Models

The best meetings are the ones where you learn something you didn’t know, especially if that challenges you to go even deeper into a topic and explore new territory. At Taxonomy Boot Camp, I learned how much User Experience and Taxonomy are working in tandem to create better results for organizations and better experiences for users.


Preparing for Boot Camp, I planned a presentation on how taxonomists can employ User Research to create Information Models that better serve the needs of their users. Thankfully, my talk was on the second day because I spent most of day one realizing the Taxonomy community is already learning about the user research practices I wanted to share. This posed a dilemma, because the last thing I wanted was to tell a room full of very smart people something they already knew.

After gaining a lot of insight at the networking dinner (thanks SLA!), I worked into the night to shift the focus of my talk from user research to actionable design techniques from the UX discipline, such as Persona development, experience modeling, and prototyping.  I worked on my slides up to the moment I took the stage to bring forward the most relevant and useful examples. The extra work was worth it; the talk was well received and opened doors to further conversations with community members.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude Heather Hedden, author of the Accidental Taxonomist, who walked me through her own presentation on Taxonomy Testing. Talking with Heather helped me gauge the level of community awareness and understand what ground had already been covered. I closed my presentation on the theme I saw emerging during the conference: Taxonomy and User Experience communities are just scratching the surface of what we can learn from each other.

To see the UX design techniques I shared, please download my presentation. I welcome your questions and comments here.

Thanks again to Heather Hedden, JennyBenevento, Tom Reamy, Joseph Busch, Ben Ricciardi and of course my colleagues at Factor, Gary Carlson, Carol Hert and Michael Rudy for making my first Taxonomy Boot Camp such a rewarding learning experience.

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