Theresa Putkey

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So far Theresa Putkey has created 32 blog entries.

Challenges on a Large Information Architecture Project (and a bit of levity for your day)

While attempting to write a case study, a colleague of mine asked me for some examples of issues I had on a recent intranet redesign project. This was a good project for examples, as it really was a fun and challenging project to work on. I thought I'd share the examples and hopefully (as a practitioner) you'll find humorous, though the humour points to big problems!

Growing from Information Architecture to Content Strategy: One IA’s Journey

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. I realized that content strategy can solve many IA and taxonomy problems I encounter. I decided to use my skills to investigate the problems and create solutions through the lens of content strategy.

2018-09-20T18:55:35+00:00 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!!"

2018-09-20T16:10:34+00:00 Content Strategy|

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.

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.

Testing a Website Taxonomy (Infographic)

When working on a taxonomy project, one question always comes up, "How do we know our taxonomy works?" When spending time and money developing a taxonomy that is critical to business goals and technical needs, it's important to know that the taxonomy is usable and useful. There are several ways we can test taxonomies to ensure they work.

2018-01-16T16:12:21+00:00 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.

2018-01-16T16:12:21+00:00 Taxonomy|

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

2018-01-16T16:12:21+00:00 Taxonomy|

Examples of Website 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.

2018-01-16T16:12:22+00:00 Taxonomy|

What is Taxonomy and Why Is It Useful?

A taxonomy is a list of terms you use to categorize and find your information again, without having to look through every file, image, document, or web page. Using a taxonomy in a corporate, government, or organizational environment allows you to find and re-use content and helps your users search and browse for information. This presentation gives you the basics of taxonomy with examples to illustrate just how useful it is!

2018-01-16T16:12:22+00:00 Taxonomy|

Usability Testing Offers Insight into Website Problems

Many aspects of usability testing are under your control. Set your goals and your dates, create your test plan and execute. Analyze the results and put together themes from the feedback. Participants can tell you about their habits, how your website fits into their work/life, and how they would ideally use your site. Taken all together, you'll be able to uncover many issues with your website as well as gather valuable insight into your users' behaviours.

What to Expect from User Research

User research allows us to improve our websites, intranets, products, and services. Sometimes I work with clients who are new to user research and they need to know what the process of user research is like and what to expect as an outcome of user research. Before we assume that user research will answer all our questions and fully illuminate a dark abyss, it's important to set expectations for what user research can do for us. If you're thinking about tackling a project with research in it, here are a few things to be prepared for.

Website Navigation by Audience: 3 Reasons Not to Use It

On the surface, audience based navigation seems to make sense. In user-centred design, we design for the user. If we group information based on the different users we've identified, then the user will know where to look on the website. In my early days, I did once try my hand at audience based navigation and quickly learned a few things (and felt an immense amount of frustration).